First Look: EU’s Third-Party iPhone App Stores Launching Soon

As Apple’s grip on its App Store loosens due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Europe awaits the rise of alternative iOS app markets, with the AltStore poised to lead the charge (via The Verge).

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Presently, only Mobivention, a B2B-focused marketplace, has ventured into the field, although Epic Games Store and MacPaw’s Setapp are on the horizon too.

AltStore, a brainchild of developer Riley Testut, presents a non-jailbreaking alternative, intending to bring apps like Delta, a Nintendo emulator, to European users. Currently undergoing Apple’s approval process, it promises a fresh market experience.

However, concerns linger regarding Apple’s Core Technology Fee (CTF), posing financial hurdles for third-party app store developers. While Mobivention has addressed CTF fees by incorporating them into customer membership packages, AltStore’s approach remains undisclosed.

Despite these challenges, AltStore’s decentralized model offers enthusiasts a glimpse of unrestricted app distribution. While curated sources are forthcoming, early offerings such as Delta and Clip hold promise, offering a glimpse into the platform’s potential.

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How to Install a Third Party App Store on iPhone?

As shown above, the process is quite simple. As long as you are in the EU, you begin by clicking a browser-based link to load the alternative store. From there, you receive a pop-up informing you that your installation settings don’t allow marketplaces from that developer.

Then, you head into Settings, enable the marketplace, return to your browser, click the download link again, and receive another prompt asking you to confirm the install. Finally, you can open the store and browse the available apps.

Downloading iPhone Apps from Third Party Marketplaces

Installing third-party apps is also straight forward. On both Mobivention and AltStore, it’s effectively the same process as the App Store: you click on a button that says “install” and… it installs.

AltStore also allows you to add “sources,” which are URLs developers share that contain JSON files holding app metadata.

These sources won’t be available at release, but Testut says this is a “priority post-launch,” and there will soon be a curated list of recommended source partners to download apps from.

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