Apple Will Allow iOS Applications to be Downloaded Directly from Developer Websites, but Only in the EU.

In a strategic move, Apple has announced policy amendments extending greater flexibilities to iOS app developers in the European Union. Developers can now distribute their apps directly from websites and enjoy greater autonomy over their in-app promotional strategies and more.

Introduction of Third-party App Stores and Self-distribution

Earlier this month, Apple launched iOS 17.4 with support for third-party app stores featuring a range of products from external developers and their own catalogue as well. More recently, it has added the feature of creating app stores for distributing own apps exclusively. For instance, a game studio can now establish its own iOS app store offering only its own products.

Greater Autonomy over In-App Promotions

Now, developers directing users to conduct transactions on their own sites have the option to customize promotional strategies, discounts and other in-app offers without adhering to Apple’s specific promotional template, starting today.

Certain Criteria for Direct Distribution

Furthermore, developers can distribute apps directly from their websites if they meet certain Apple guidelines. These include participation in the Apple Developer Program for two or more years and the developer’s products registering more than 1 million installations on iOS in the European Union in the previous year. Besides, developers need to comply with Apple’s privacy-related data collection and processing requirements. Such distributed apps must meet Apple’s notarization requirements just like other iOS apps and can only be distributed from websites linked on App Store Connect.

Access to Specialized API and Direct Website Upload Feature

Authorized developers will be given access to a special API simplifying the process of app distribution via the internet, along with facilitating integration with system functions, data backup, and restoration, among others. The feature to distribute apps via websites will be available post the release of the next iOS version this spring. This marks Apple’s first move allowing direct upload of software products for iOS from websites.

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