Apple sidles into sideloading in the EU – Computerworld

According to Apple, when a customer chooses to download an iOS app from a developer’s website:

  • The first time they choose to download an app from a new developer they must navigate a series of prompt screens in which the significance of the decision is explained.
  • They then authenticate with Face ID to agree to give the developer permission to install apps on their device.
  • They go through a three-step process to install the app itself.
  • And those who want to download other apps from that developer’s website will go directly to the last three steps, as permission will already have been provided. 

Apple’s app notarization process actually benefits all parties in this. It does so by requiring the developer to provide clear information and screenshots to explain what the app does and how it works. That means customers should know what they are installing, while notarization means they can be reasonably secure the app has at least received some security vetting — albeit not to the same extent as the App Store.

Who can distribute apps on the web?

To distribute apps via their websites, developers must live in or be registered in the EU, or have a subsidiary incorporated there. They must also have been a member of the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more and have an app that had more than a million first annual installs on iOS in the EU in the preceding 12 months.

If they qualify, developers must agree to Apple’s new business terms. Among other things, this includes taking responsibility for customer support and refunds and agreeing to the Alternative Terms Addendum for Apps in the EU.

What about the small print?

With all that in place, developers must:

  • Only offer apps from their developer account.
  • Respond in timely fashion to questions from Apple concerning distributed apps, particularly around fraud, malware, or anything that could impact the safety and security of users or the platforms.
  • Agree to submit their apps to Apple’s notarization process, which aims to protect the company’s platform and its customers.
  • Publish transparent data collection policies and offer users control over how their data is collected and used.
  • Follow applicable laws, such as GDPR, taxation, and government enquiries.

What support does Apple provide?

Once a qualified developer has set up for business this way, Apple will supply the following resources to enable web distribution of apps:


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