Apple Allows iOS 17.5 Beta Testers to Install Apps Directly via Websites

iOS 17.5 Beta 2 was rolled out to beta testers on Tuesday, along with new functionality and features that are expected to make their way to eligible iPhone models next month. One of the most notable changes arriving with iOS 17.5 will be the ability to install apps directly from websites for users in the European Union, making it easier for developers to distribute apps without what Apple calls alternative app marketplaces as well as the App Store As with the recently introduced changes related to third party app stores, the ability to download apps from websites will only be available in the EU.

MacRumors discovered the ability to download apps directly from websites has been introduced on the second iOS 17.5 beta that was released on Tuesday. Last month, Apple rolled out iOS 17.4 which introduced support for alternative app marketplaces in the EU, while the next update will expand sideloading by allowing users to visit a developer’s website to install apps outside the App Store.

Last month, Apple announced it was working on a new web distribution feature designed to allow users to directly download apps from developer websites in the EU. The company calls it Web Distribution, and it will allow authorised developers to distribute their apps via their websites, while having access to iOS application programming interfaces (APIs) for backup and restore support, along with iOS integration, and automatic updates without using an app store.

It’s worth noting that all developers won’t automatically be eligible for Web Distribution. Apple previously stated it will require developers to be part of its developer program for two years, have one app with at least one million downloads in the EU, and be enrolled as an organisation (or have a subsidiary legal entity) that is “incorporated, domiciled, and or registered in the EU.” 

Even if developers choose to distribute their apps via their website using Web Distribution, Apple has also stated that it will charge them a Core Technology Fee (CTF) of EUR 0.50 (roughly Rs. 45) for every annual app install over one million. The company will exempt non-profit organisations from the CTF fees and the Apple Developer Program membership fee in the EUU.

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