Apple’s Big Changes for EU App Developers: What You Need to Know

Apple is shaking things up for iOS, Safari, and the App Store in the European Union (EU) to keep up with new rules called the Digital Markets Act (DMA). For app developers navigating this new terrain, understanding these changes and leveraging the right tools is crucial.

Here’s a simple breakdown of what’s happening and how Qonversion, a leading platform for managing subscription revenue analytics and growth tools, can support you in this new era.

New Ways to Share Your Apps in the EU

  • Alternative App Stores: Starting with iOS 17.4, you’ve got more freedom. You can now let users in the EU download your apps from other places besides the Apple App Store. This is huge because it means you can reach more people in different ways. More on distributing apps in alternative marketplaces;
  • Direct Downloads From Your Website: If you’ve got a website, you can now use it to distribute your apps directly to your users. Apple just asks that you follow some rules to make sure everything stays safe and secure for your users. Check out the details for web distribution;
  • Choose Your Own Payment Adventure: Apple’s also changing how you can handle money. You can stick with Apple’s payment system (and their fees) or go your own way and use a different payment provider. It’s all about giving you more control over how you sell your apps and services.
New options for distributing iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces
New options for distributing iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces

What’s the Deal With Money?

With Apple’s recent updates to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) in the EU, developers have a new set of financial terms to consider. Let’s break down these changes into simpler terms to help you understand what they mean for your app’s distribution and revenue.

Key Financial Terms for EU App Distribution

Apple has introduced adjustments to its financial model, aiming to provide developers with more flexibility and potentially lower costs. Here are the essentials you need to know:

  • Reduced Commission Rates: Good news for developers! Apple has lowered the commission fees for apps on the App Store. You’re looking at either a 10% commission for most developers and subscriptions beyond the first year or a 17% commission on transactions for digital goods and services, no matter which payment processing system you use;
  • Optional Payment Processing Fee: If you choose to stick with Apple’s payment processing, there’s an extra 3% fee. But there’s flexibility here – you can also use an external Payment Service Provider or direct users to your website for payments without any additional charges from Apple;
  • Core Technology Fee (CTF): For apps that really take off and distribute from the App Store or an alternative app marketplace, there’s a new fee to be aware of. If your app exceeds 1 million downloads, a €0.50 fee will be applied for each first annual install beyond that threshold. It’s worth noting that Apple expects this to affect less than 1% of developers.

For a deep dive into what the Core Technology Fee involves, including its impact and how it’s calculated, you can check out Apple’s Core Technology Fee support page.

New Apple's Commission Rates for App Developers
New Apple’s Commission Rates for App Developers

Understanding “First Annual Install”

One term that might need a bit more explanation is “first annual install.” Essentially, this refers to the first time an app is downloaded by an EU account in a 12-month period. After that initial download, the same account can reinstall the app as many times as needed within the next year at no extra cost.

Wrapping Up: Your Options Under Apple’s New EU Regulations

As we navigate through the changes introduced by Apple in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), it’s clear that app developers and users in the EU now have distinct paths they can take. Let’s summarize the options available and highlight some additional interesting changes that come with these updates.

Your Two Main Choices

Developers and users are presented with two primary options under the new regulations:

  1. Stick with the Current System: You can choose to keep everything as it is, continuing to distribute your apps exclusively through the Apple App Store and utilize Apple’s in-app purchase system;
  2. Embrace the New Distribution and Payment Processing Terms: Alternatively, you can opt for the new distribution channels and payment processing options. This includes benefiting from:
    • Reduced commission rates;
    • The optional payment processing fee;
    • The Core Technology Fee for apps with first annual installs over one million in the past 12 months.

For a detailed description of these new capabilities and terms for apps in the EU, Apple provides a comprehensive guide to help you understand which taxes you might be subject to.

Explore this further in Apple’s article on choosing terms for your app in the EU and use the fee calculator to make an informed decision.

Additional Highlights from the Changes

Besides the significant options for app distribution and financial adjustments, several other noteworthy changes are introduced:

  • Changing the Default Browser in iOS: For the first time, users will have the option to change their default web browser from Safari to another browser upon updating to the new iOS version. This forced change by Apple adds an interesting twist to user customization and choice. More details can be found here;
  • Expanded App Analytics and Data Portability: Developers will now have access to more comprehensive analytics and data portability tools, which can be pivotal for refining app strategies and enhancing user experience. Dive into the specifics here for app analytics and here for data portability;
  • New Agreements for Alternative Store Distribution: Developers looking to distribute their apps outside the Apple Store need to be aware of new agreements. Information on this can be found here;
  • Contactless Payment Transactions and Expanded App Controls: The DMA also introduces the ability for banking or wallet apps to conduct contactless payments in the EEA and provides users with more control over their default apps. Learn more about contactless payments and expanded app controls;
  • Requests for Interoperability in the EU: A significant update includes the ability for developers to request interoperability with certain iPhone and iOS features, ensuring a more integrated user experience across apps and services. Details on this are available here.

These updates mark a pivotal shift in how apps are distributed, monetized, and integrated within the EU, offering developers and users more freedom and flexibility. As the app ecosystem evolves, these changes pave the way for innovative growth and enhanced user experiences in the European market.

Why Apple’s Changes Matters to You

  • More Choices for You and Your Users: You now have more ways to get your app into the hands of users in the EU. Whether it’s through Apple’s App Store, other app stores, or your own website, you’ve got options;
  • A Chance to Save on Fees: With the new commission and payment processing fees, you might find ways to keep more money from your sales;
  • Stay in Control: Whether you want to keep things simple and stick with Apple or explore new distribution methods, the choice is yours.

Leveraging Qonversion for Enhanced Performance

Amid these changes, Qonversion emerges as a powerful ally for app developers. Here’s how:

  • Seamless Subscription Management: Qonversion offers tools that simplify managing and analyzing subscription revenue, helping you optimize monetization strategies under the new Apple regulations;
  • Analytical Insights: With Qonversion, you gain deep insights into your app’s performance and user behavior, empowering you to make informed decisions in this evolving market;
  • Marketplace Flexibility: As you explore distribution via alternative marketplaces or direct downloads, Qonversion’s SDKs integrates effortlessly, ensuring a smooth transition and consistent user experience across all platforms;
  • Custom Payment Solutions: Embracing Apple’s new payment processing flexibility, Qonversion allows you to implement custom payment solutions that align with your app’s unique needs and the preferences of your EU user base.

Conclusion: Thinking About Apple’s Updates

With all these changes from Apple because of new EU rules, app developers have more choices on how to share and make money from their apps. You can save some money and maybe reach more people by trying new ways to share your apps. But, it’s also good to remember what staying with Apple’s App Store offers.

Using the App Store means less worry for you. Apple handles the tricky stuff, like payments, so you don’t have to. And if you choose to share your app outside of the App Store, you might have to wait a bit to use the newest iOS features in your app.

So, while it’s exciting to think about these new choices, the App Store is still a solid choice for getting your app to lots of people easily and with peace of mind. Finding the right balance between trying new things and sticking with what works will help you as things change in the EU app world.


Apple’s adapting to new EU laws with some big changes. Whether you’re an app developer looking to expand your reach or you’re just interested in the tech world, these updates are worth paying attention to. Here’s why:

  • More Ways to Distribute Your App: Choose from the Apple App Store, other marketplaces, or your own website;
  • Flexible Payment Options: Decide if you want to use Apple’s payment system or find another way that works better for you;
  • Potential Cost Savings: With lower commission rates and new fee structures, there’s a chance to save money and possibly increase your profits.

These changes are all about giving you more power and flexibility in how you share and sell your apps in the EU. It’s a big step for Apple and a potentially exciting one for developers and users alike. Embracing these changes with the right strategy and tools can open new opportunities for growth and success in the EU’s dynamic digital marketplace. Qonversion stands ready to support developers navigating this new landscape, ensuring a seamless transition and continued prosperity under the DMA’s new regulations.

Apple Search Ads Analytics with Qonversion
Get precise Apple Search Ads Analytics with Qonversion