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Apple Limits EU App Updates, Citing Security Concerns

Apple is introducing measures to comply with the European Union's new regulations, affecting how third-party iOS app stores operate, but these measures come with certain complexities for both developers and users.

In an effort to align with the EU's Digital Markets Act, which aims to give users more control over their devices, Apple has updated to iOS 17.4 and provided guidance on how it will identify EU users eligible for these expanded choices. This involves using on-device processing to determine if a user qualifies for access to alternative app marketplaces without directly tracking the device's location.

Users with an Apple ID registered in one of the EU countries listed on Apple's help page will be considered eligible. For EU residents travelling for a short duration, there will be no disruption in their access to these alternative marketplaces and the apps they offer. However, Apple warns that prolonged absence from the EU could lead to restrictions, particularly in installing new apps from these alternative sources.

Apple has not defined how long EU residents can travel abroad before losing access to alternative app marketplaces or what other functionalities might be limited, such as the use of non-WebKit browser engines. The specifics regarding how frequently Apple verifies user eligibility for these services also remain undisclosed.

Users of alternative app marketplaces who spend extended periods outside the EU won't be able to update their apps through these marketplaces, although the apps themselves won't be removed. Apple warns that these alternative marketplaces could introduce greater risks to user privacy, safety, and security. This concern is highlighted alongside Apple's restriction on app updates from these marketplaces for EU residents abroad, potentially leaving users exposed to the risks Apple seeks to avoid with its DMA compliance.

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