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Apple overhauls EU iOS, App Store and Safari following new laws

Apple overhauls EU iOS, App Store and Safari following new laws

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Apple is making changes to its app store in the European Union (EU) to comply with its Digital Markets Act (DMA). 

The DMA is a European law that intends to ensure a higher degree of competition in the European digital markets. It prevents large online platforms from abusing their market power and seeks to allow new players to enter the market. 

On 25 January, Apple revealed that it will make changes to iOS, Safari and the App Store following the DMA.

Don't miss: EU clamps down on AI-generated music and deepfakes on music streaming platforms

The changes include more than 600 new APIs, expanded app analytics, functionality for alternative browser engines, and options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps.

“The changes we’re announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act’s requirements in the European Union, while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings. Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world,” said Phil Schiller, senior vice president of worldwide marketing at Apple Inc. 

Alternative options within iOS 

In the EU, Apple will implement new options for distributing iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces and enable marketplace developers to install apps and manage updates on behalf of other developers from their dedicated marketplace app. 

Additionally, Apple will enable developers to use browser engines other than WebKit for browser apps and apps with in-app browsing experiences. 

The tech giant will also create an interoperability request form where developers can submit additional requests for interoperability with iPhone and iOS hardware and software features. 

Apple is also introducing protections such as notarisation for iOS apps, authorisation for marketplace developers and disclosures on alternative payments. 

These protections, according to Apple, is to reduce the risk of malware, fraud and scams, as well as to deliver a secure experience for users in the EU. 

In accordance with DMA, Apple will also introduce new controls that will allow users to select third-party contactless payment app, or an alternative app marketplace, as their default. 

Reflecting DMA's requirements, Apple is also introducing a new choice screen that will prompt EU users to choose a default browser from a list of options when they open Safari in iOS 17.4 or later. 

Alternative payments to App Store 

Users in the EU will soon be able to download games and tools from third-party app stores and gaming services. 

As for developers, the changes include new options for using payment service providers, the option to complete transactions on the developer's external website and new business planning tools for developers to estimate fees and understand Apple's terms for apps in the EU.

The new business terms include reduced commission, a payment processing fee and a core technology fee. 

The DMA was proposed back in 2020 and was agreed by the European Parliament and the council in March 2022. It went into effect in May 2023. 

Since the DMA's inception, the EU has been attempting to rein tech giants into opening up entrenched platforms and curbing ecosystem lock-in and anti-competitive behaviour. 

Aside from Apple, tech giants such as Amazon, ByteDance, Meta, Samsung and Microsoft have been impacted by the new rules and regulations. 

One tech giant that has embraced the DMA though, is Spotify. In a blogpost earlier this month, the music-streaming platform took shots at Apple and shared the many ways listeners and creators can enjoy Spotify without Apple's restrictions. 

Some of these changes include the ability to purchase an audiobook directly from Spotify, downloading other Spotify apps onto the iPhone and an in-app payment option. 

Join us this coming 24 - 25 April for #Content360, a two-day extravaganza centered around four core thematic pillars: Explore with AI; Insight-powered strategies; Content as an experience; and Embrace the future. Immerse yourself in learning to curate content with creativity, critical thinking, and confidence with us at Content360!

Related articles:
Facebook and Instagram to get ad-free subscription plans in Europe 
Google expands its ads transparency centre to adhere to EU rules 
TikTok to remove personalised algorithm in EU: Could it sully the name of targeted ads? 

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