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5 new iOS features you’re not getting because you’re outside the EU


By now, you’ve likely heard of the Digital Markets Act (DMA). These new EU regulations went into effect last week and forced Big Tech companies, known as “gatekeepers,” to open up their core platforms to third parties in order to keep the tech space competitive.

Many companies, like Meta and Microsoft, are affected by these new laws. But, perhaps no company has been compelled to make such significant changes more than Apple. The iPhone maker had to broadly change long-standing policies for many of its core products like the App Store. Apple’s DMA-inspired changes have also been widely criticized by peers in the tech industry.

Apple’s “malicious compliance” has been in the spotlight over the past few weeks — and that may severely downplay how positive the DMA has been for iOS users in the EU. 

So, let’s take a look at the top five changes Apple has been forced to make to iOS, thanks to the DMA. Some of these are sure to make those in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world envious that their country hasn’t also passed a similar set of antitrust laws.

Third-party app stores

Apple no longer having a de facto monopoly on how apps are distributed on iOS is easily the biggest change to the company’s mobile ecosystem. Thanks to the DMA, Apple has been forced to allow “alternative marketplaces” to distribute apps on the iPhone and iPad.

This means that developers can create apps that don’t comply with the Apple App Store’s content and development policies for the very first time. So, users can look forward to different types of apps that previously may have been prohibited from the App Store. 

In addition to “alternative marketplaces,” developers can opt to create their own standalone app store experience that only distributes its own applications.

Developers also no longer have to take part in the App Store’s revenue share model for transactions, such as in-app purchases, that entail giving a percentage of their sales to Apple. This means that developers can potentially pass the savings on to consumers.

Fortnite is coming back

Speaking of no longer having to share revenue with Apple, Fortnite, the massively popular online battle royale game, is coming back to iOS, thanks to the DMA. 

Gaming developer Epic Games announced it would be bringing Fortnite to iPhone once again as soon as Apple announced the “alternative marketplaces” option earlier this year.

Back in 2020, Apple booted Fortnite from the App Store after Epic Games attempted to skirt around the iPhone maker’s revenue sharing rules. As this was against App Store policy, Apple removed Fortnite from its official marketplace, banning it from iOS as a whole.

But, with the DMA in place in the EU, Epic Games can take advantage of the alternative distribution methods to bring Fortnite back to the iPhone for users in that region. (Apple recently tried to block Epic Games from its developer program, which would have halted the company’s plans to create an alternative marketplace and would have potentially stopped Fortnite’s return to iOS. However, the DMA also forced Apple to reverse that decision.)

Download direct from developers

If Epic Games wanted to let iOS users download Fortnite directly from its website, it can do that now, too.

Apple’s latest addition to its overhauled iOS policies in the EU has added a new distribution option for developers.

If an app creator wants to let users download their app directly from their website, they can. No App Store or third-party “alternative marketplace” required at all – just direct distribution without a middleman. 

(Although, we should note that developers who want to distribute via this method have to be approved by Apple after hitting certain requirements.)

Change default apps

Tired of Safari opening up instead of Google Chrome when clicking a link on your iPhone? Sick of Apple Maps always giving you directions by default? 

Well, if you’re in the EU, you won’t have to deal with those default Apple apps on iOS much longer. Thanks to the DMA, Apple has said it will roll out new settings options that will let users pick the default app they want to use for a web browser or a mapping application. This is a pretty big change. Previously, users were forced to use Apple’s own applications, unless manually opening up a third-party app by choice.

In addition, Apple will also need to let EU users delete the Safari app entirely, an action not currently allowed on iOS.

Interoperability and data portability

Interoperability and data portability are technically two distinct changes, but they both mean the same thing for users: More ownership over your data and how it’s used.

As part of its DMA compliance report, Apple said it will start accepting interoperability requests from developers, which will potentially allow more third-party apps to access iOS features. This can give developers access to APIs previously unavailable to them, which would let these third parties create new apps utilizing these features and its relevant data.

One recent example of this is Apple’s FinanceKit API, which provides developers access to Apple Card, Apple Cash, and Savings with Apple user information for the first time. Some developers have already integrated this new feature into their product, which automatically imports users’ purchases and transactions into their financial planning apps.

If these changes aren’t enough to win over EU-based iPhone users, they should be looking forward to Apple’s upcoming data portability plans, courtesy of the DMA. Apple says it’s working on “more user-friendly solutions” for iPhone users who want to switch to Android or other mobile devices. Being able to easily transfer your data where you want it is a huge win for consumers.





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