The EU is treating the iPad as a gatekeeper platform under its Digital Markets Act

First alternative app store support for iPad is in the second iPadOS 18 beta

Apple will be allowing third-party app marketplaces on the iPad in the European Union in iPadOS 18, with beta testers getting a chance to look at the feature in iPadOS 18 beta 2.

In April, the first third-party App Store in the EU went live. The change to Apple’s no third-party apps rule was made as part of an agreement to to comply with the newly enacted Digital Market Act.

Now, Apple has announced the same opportunity is coming to iPadOS 18 — but still only for those in the 27 European Union countries. The feature can be tested in iPadOS 18 beta 2 with Xcode 16 beta 2.

While the iPad does not technically meet the criteria for a “gatekeeper,” under the DMA, the European Union has decided to enforce DMA rules on Apple’s flagship tablet as though it did.

In response, Apple said it would comply with the EU’s decision. Consequently, third-party App Stores will be supported on iPadOS, though Apple has not given a specific date. The support will come with an update to iPadOS in the fall.

This support will be identical to iPhone and iOS developers and has the same conditions. So, developers will only be able to create third-party app stores or distribute iPad apps directly from their websites for users within the European Union.

[ For more curated Apple news, check out the main news page here]

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