Apple soon outlines eligibility criteria for use of third-party app marketplaces in EU

Apple soon outlines eligibility criteria for use of third-party app marketplaces in EU

After much anticipation, Apple has introduced support for an alternative app marketplace on iPhone models with the iOS 17.4 update. This feature is exclusively available in the EU region, following the implementation of the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) on March 6, which mandates this change. Apple has released a comprehensive document detailing the eligibility criteria for users to access this feature, as well as factors that may restrict access.

According to Apple's guidelines, users may lose access to alternative marketplaces if they travel outside the countries and regions belonging to the European Union (EU) for an extended period. Additionally, users will be unable to update their apps from third-party marketplaces located outside the EU region.

To access this feature, a user's Apple ID country or region must be set to one of the EU countries or regions, and the user must also be physically present within the EU region. Apple will verify the fulfillment of both criteria through on-device processing, affirming that it will not collect the device's location data. 

If a user leaves the EU for an extended period, certain features, such as the ability to install new alternative marketplaces and update pre-installed third-party apps, may become inaccessible. However, installed apps will continue to function.

Apple has indicated that users will be granted a grace period if they temporarily travel outside Europe, although the definition of short-term and long-term travel remains unspecified.

The list of eligible countries and regions for alternative app marketplaces includes Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and Sweden.

Moreover, Apple has clarified that it will not provide customer support to users encountering issues with alternative app marketplaces. The company will not address privacy and security concerns such as scams, fraud, and abuse. It's important to note that currently, no third-party app marketplaces are available for iOS.

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