Apple improves terms of service for developers in the EU in iOS 17.4

Following the release of iOS 17.4, changes to the Apple app ecosystem for the European Union have come into effect. Apple today announced some last-minute updates to its terms of service after receiving feedback from developers, focusing on facilitating greater flexibility and choice in app distribution.

The new iOS 17.4 update introduces transcriptions to Apple Podcasts, transforming the way users access the content of their episodes, among other new features.

New terms for more flexible distribution

To distribute apps through an app marketplace at a reduced rate for Apple or with an alternative payment option, developers must opt ​​into new commercial terms that accept the Core Technology Fee and other new pricing mandates. Apple initially didn’t provide a way for developers to test the new system and then back out if it didn’t turn out as they expected, but there is now a one-time change of terms option available in some circumstances.

The option to return to Apple’s standard terms

Apple indicates that developers have a single option to terminate and return to Apple’s standard commercial terms, albeit with one condition. Developers who want to switch back cannot have distributed an app through an alternative app marketplace or used an alternative payment processing method.

Making the process easier for all developers

The opt-out option will be available to those developers who decided to continue distributing their apps through the App Store while adopting the Core Technology Fee and the reduced commission option. The CTF is €0.50 per download after 1 million downloads, and the commission is 13% for small business owners and 20% for installs over 1 million (this includes the payment processing fee of the App Store).

Creating alternative app markets

Developers wishing to create an alternative app marketplace can now do so without a €1,000,000 standby letter of credit, which previously restricted marketplace creation to large companies. Developers who have been members in good standing in the Apple Developer Program for two continuous years or more and have an app that had more than one million annual first installs on iOS in the EU in the previous calendar year can create a market without proof of funds.

No corporate entity requirement

Additionally, a corporate entity is no longer required when signing up for the new terms, so a large company can sign up at the developer account level instead of having to have each controlling member approve the change to the updated business terms.

With the release of iOS 17.4, we should soon see the launch of the first alternative app markets. Developers are now free to adopt the new commercial terms, distribute their apps outside of the App Store, and use third-party payments in their apps. It should be noted that all these changes are limited to developers and users in the European Union.

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