Apple has announced changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the European Union in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA) coming into force in March.
For users, the changes include new controls and disclosures, and expanded protections to reduce privacy and security risks the DMA creates, the company said in a statement.
The key news is that third-party app stores will be allowed on iOS for the first time. The changes will arrive with iOS 17.4 in March.
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. Across every change, Apple is introducing new safeguards that reduce - but don't eliminate - new risks the DMA poses to EU users.
With these steps, Apple will continue to deliver the best, most secure experience possible for EU users. "The changes we're announcing 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," said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow.
"Developers can now learn about the new tools and terms available for alternative app distribution and alternative payment processing, new capabilities for alternative browser engines and contactless payments, and more. Importantly, developers can choose to remain on the same business terms in place today if they prefer," he added.
The new options for processing payments and downloading apps on iOS open new avenues for malware, fraud and scams, illicit and harmful content, and other privacy and security threats. The new capabilities will become available to users in the 27 EU countries beginning in March 2024.
In March, Apple will share new resources to help EU users understand the changes they can expect. That includes guidance to help EU users navigate complexities the DMA’s changes bring - including a less intuitive user experience - and best practices for approaching new risks associated with downloading apps and processing payments outside of the App Store.
Available for developers' apps around the world, Apple also announced new options for streaming games, along with more than 50 forthcoming reports in areas like engagement, commerce, app usage, and more.