AltStore for iPhone in EU Will Have Apps Backed By Patreon

With iOS 17.4, Apple began supporting alternative app marketplaces in the European Union, and the first of these stores will be launching soon to give consumers new ways to install apps without having to use the App Store.

Developer Riley Testut, known for Game Boy Advance emulator GBA4iOS, is working on AltStore, one of several alternative app marketplaces. As noted by TechCrunch, app marketplaces like AltStore will be able to monetize in ways that aren’t currently possible. AltStore will accept payment through Patreon rather than making money through paid apps or ads.

To use the first AltStore apps developed by Testut, customers will need to pledge $1 to $3 per month through Patreon. Video game emulator Delta will initially be free, and clipboard manager Clip will require a pledge of $1. Later, beta versions of Delta and Clip will require $3 per month to download and use.

With Patreon, Testut is able to offer subscription-based pricing that does not provide a 15 to 30 cut to Apple. Patreon collects between five and eight percent of income earned, depending on Patreon join date, plus a payment processing fee that ranges from three to five percent.

Patreon’s fees come in below Apple’s fees, but should an AltStore app see more than one million first annual installs in a year, Apple will charge a 0.50 euro Core Technology Fee for each additional app install. The Core Technology Fee (CTF) makes it risky for free apps to be distributed through alternative app marketplaces, but Apple recently said that it is working on a solution to avoid bankrupting free apps that go viral and rack up too much in fees.

After AltStore launches and Testut has it working properly, other developers will be able to distribute their apps through it as well. They’ll have the option of using Patreon like Testut does for his apps, or another alternative. Patreon has the benefit of providing reward tiers, exclusive blog posts for subscribers, and other alternative content, plus subscriber numbers can be capped to avoid Apple’s CTF.

Testut plans to launch the AltStore as soon as he gets final approval from Apple, and as with all alternative app marketplaces, it will be limited to the European Union. Apps can only be installed through alternative means on the iPhone, not the iPad, and only in eligible European countries. There are no ‌App Store‌ changes for the rest of the world to allow for alternative app installation.

Last week, the European Commission (EC) opened a non-compliance investigation into Apple to determine if the changes that it made are sufficient to meet the demands of the Digital Markets Act. Apple could be forced to change some of its rules or change the Core Technology Fee if the EC decides that Apple’s updates do not go far enough.

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