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IOS App Store Guidelines: Requirements for Releasing an App in Europe

In a world increasingly connected by the internet, mobile applications are a constant feature of our everyday lives. Developing an application is an excellent way to increase corporate visibility. But the deployment of an app is subject to specific regulations, which have recently changed. How to release an app in Europe? What are the new Apple’s guidelines? And how much does it cost? All the answers in this article. It is crucial for developers to accurately describe the use of the data collected from the app to avoid app rejection from the App Store.
Software and Apps
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What are the new rules to release an app on App Store Connect?

How does it work?

A mobile application, or “app”, is software developed specifically to be use on a mobile terminal (a phone or tablet), which have to be downloaded via one of the existing marketplaces: Google Play Store for Android or the App Store for Apple.

Once downloaded, it runs on the smartphone’s operating system: iOS for Apple and Android for Samsung, Xiaomi or Google. But does it means you have to go through the App Store or Google Play Store to distribute an iOS app to EU users? App Store Connect is used for submitting apps and metadata for review processes, ensuring compliance with the App Store's policies and guidelines.

What are the new european regulation to distribute an app?

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is applicable since 6 March 2024. This new regulation aims to fight against domination of large technology companies by forcing them to respect new obligations and prohibitions. Among companies targeted by the European Commission, obviously found tech giants : Apple and Google. Since 6 March 2024, they have had to comply with the legal normes imposed by the DMA. But what does it mean, practically speaking?

One of the main new features: the obligation to use the Google Play Store or the App Store to distribute an application has been abolished. From 6 March 2024, Apple must allow to install mobile applications on an iPhone from other stores than the App Store. A godsend for developers who claimed the end of the Apple’s monopoly.

Now, it’s possible to distribute an application directly from a website, i.e. outside of the App Store. To avoid monopolies and protect free competition, Apple is no longer able to force you to use its operating system. To be in compliance with the European Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple has been forced to change the requirements to put an app on the App Store.

These changes also impact the app store listing rules and regulations, including guidelines for app icons and recent changes allowing U.S. developers to link to outside websites for in-app purchases.

What are the new App Store guidelines for Web Distribution?

Web distribution in the EU authorizes developers distribute their iOS apps to customers directly from websites. But how? Apple provides access to APIs that facilitate the distribution of developers’ apps from the web, integrate with system functionality, back up and restore users’ apps. But the Web Distribution of apps from the web, i.e. outside of the App Store, is strictly regulated.

Apple will authorize developers after meeting specific criteria and committing to ongoing requirements that help protect users. According to Apple's guidelines, to be eligible for Web Distribution, as an app developer, you must:

  • be enrolled in the Apple Developer Program since 2 years;

  • have an app that had more than one million first annual installs on iOS in the EU in the prior calendar year;

  • publish transparent data collection policies and offer users control over how their data is collected and used;

  • follow applicable laws of the jurisdictions where you operate;

  • be responsible for handling governmental and other requests to take down listings of apps;

  • be responsive to communications from Apple regarding your apps distributed through Web Distribution, particularly regarding any fraudulent, malicious, or illegal behavior, or anything else that Apple believes impacts the safety, security, or privacy of users;

  • be domiciled or registered in the EU.

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The Core Technology Fee for iOS apps in the EU

If you want to distribute an app on the web, you’ll still be subject to the Core Technology Fee (CTF). You’ll be required to pay Apple €0.50 for each first annual install over one million in the past 12 months.

When using Apple Pay, it is important to follow the correct branding and user interface elements as outlined in the Apple Pay Marketing Guidelines and Human Interface Guidelines.

Membership in the Apple Developer Program includes one million first annual installs per year for free for apps distributed from the App Store, alternative marketplaces, and/or Web Distribution. The Core Technology Fee (CTF) applies once the applications have been downloaded more than 1,000,000 times. This one is an element of the business terms in the EU that reflects the value Apple provides developers through ongoing investments in the tools, technologies, and services that enable them to build and share innovative apps with users around the world.

Apps from other app marketplaces in the EU : how does it works?

Since the entry into force of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), users can install an app from another platform on their iPhone, by downloading it from your website for example.

All apps listed on other app sales platforms are subject to a notarization process with Apple. Notarization is a baseline review applied to all apps, in accordance with platform policies for security, privacy, and device integrity protection. In other words, notarization helps ensure that apps are free of known malware, viruses, or other security threats, that they work as intended, and that they don’t expose users to the risk of fraud. Additionally, the prohibition of fingerprinting across other apps in the Apple ecosystem emphasizes the importance of developers complying with privacy policies and legal requirements to safeguard user privacy.

Please note that Apple doesn’t offer support for purchases made outside of the App Store or the App Store’s in-app purchase system. If a user wishes to receive help with a purchase made on your platform, they should contact you directly.

Now you know all about the new rules for app distribution in Europe! So don’t wait any longer to release your own mobile app.

Written by our expert de la rédaction
mai 30, 2024
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