Apple has announced new iOS, Safari and App Store updates that are designed specifically for the European Union. The new updates come in response to upcoming changes to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which will come into force in March.

Updates cover more than 600 new APIs, advanced app analytics, support for alternative browsers, and more options for processing app payments and distributing iOS apps.

According to an Apple blog post, the goal of these changes is to maintain the quality and security that EU consumers have come to expect from Apple while adapting to the new regulatory environment.

However, the introduction of new payment and app download methods in iOS raises concerns about increased risks of malware, fraud and other security and privacy threats.

For this reason, Apple is introducing new protections that include notarizing iOS apps, requiring authorization for marketplace developers, and disclosing information about alternative payment methods.

Apple warns that despite these protections, some risks will still remain for EU users.

Developers interested in these changes can access detailed information and support on the Apple Developer Support page. Additionally, they have the opportunity to start experimenting with these new capabilities through the iOS 17.4 beta version, which is already available. The roll-out of these new features and capabilities is scheduled to begin in March 2024 and will be accessible to users in all 27 EU countries.

“The changes we’re announcing today 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. Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world. 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”, said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow.

Apple is introducing frameworks and APIs that enable the creation of these alternative marketplaces, allowing marketplace developers to manage app installations and updates.

Apple is also expanding its capabilities for browser app development by introducing frameworks and APIs for alternative browser engines. This move permits developers to use different browser engines, rather than being restricted to WebKit, for browser apps and in-app browsing experiences. To enhance interoperability, Apple is also establishing an interoperability request form. This platform will enable developers to request additional compatibility with iPhone and iOS hardware and software features, promoting a more versatile and developer-friendly environment in the EU.

You can see the rest of the updates and improvements on Apple’s blog here.

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