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Apple Introduces Sweeping Changes in EU

Apple Introduces Sweeping Changes in EU

Sarah Hardacre April 01, 2024
April 01, 2024
Apple has announced a number of changes to iOS, Safari and the App Store in the European Union (EU) in order to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

The DMA, set to come into effect in March, is a regulation to ensure the digital market remains fair and competitive. The DMA works hand-in-hand with EU competition laws and lays out additional obligations and prohibitions for tech companies that provide core platform services such as search engines, app stores, and messenger services.

The changes impact developers by providing additional ways to develop and distribute apps to Apple users, as well as additional payment processing options leveraging the tap-to-pay capabilities available on iPhones. Users will be able to download and access apps from alternative marketplaces, use third-party contactless payment apps, and select their preferred web browsing app.

Apple isn’t limiting its update to technology changes. It has added new protections to reduce privacy and security risks inherent to a more open platform and will be adapting its business practices to reduce fees for in-app transactions.

The changes are available today in iOS 17.4 beta. The general public within the 27 EU member states can access this version of iOS with all updates in March.

The changes include more than 600 new APIs to allow developers to create apps or create additional marketplaces for users to purchase or download apps. Apples has also created new frameworks to allow developers to use browser engines outside of Apple’s WebKit. Developers can also choose a new payment service provider (PSPs) to process payments.

Apple has also warned that it cannot ensure an optimized experience for users when developers opt for alternative browser engines. It also won’t be able to guard against other risks “including apps that contain scams, fraud, and abuse, or that expose users to illicit, objectionable, or harmful content.”

With fewer controls in place, there’s also the increased risk that downloaded content is not safe. For example, Family Sharing restrictions will only apply to apps available for download on Apple’s App Store. Young users will be able to use alternative app marketplaces without the same protections.

Apple has introduced changes to reduce the risk as much as possible, but clearly advises it cannot eliminate it altogether. Apple Fellow Phil Schiller says, “Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world.”

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