EU iPhone Users Get First Third-Party App Store: AltStore PAL

What you should know


  • Apple has been forced to allow third-party app stores on its iPhone in the European Union due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which targets major tech companies as gatekeepers.
  • The first third-party iOS app store, AltStore PAL, is now available in the EU for users with iOS 17.4 or later, offering an alternative to Apple’s App Store for a small annual fee.
  • AltStore PAL encourages submissions from third-party developers and operates by having apps self-hosted on developers’ own servers, requiring users to add “sources” to download these apps.
  • The launch of AltStore PAL includes two apps developed by Riley Testut: Delta, a Nintendo emulator, and Clip, a clipboard manager, with plans for monetization through a partnership with Patreon.


Full Story

Oh boy, earlier this year, Apple got a bit of a shake-up. Yep, the big tech giant had to crack open its tightly sealed ecosystem over in the European Union. Why? Well, it’s all thanks to this thing called the Digital Markets Act (DMA). This piece of legislation pointed its finger at six major tech honchos – we’re talking Apple, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and TikTok’s parent company ByteDance. Called ’em gatekeepers and said, “Hey, you gotta change how you play the game here in the EU.”

So, what’s the big deal for Apple? They had to let third-party app stores onto their precious iPhone. And guess what? The first one has landed. It’s called AltStore PAL. If you’re an EU iPhone user, you can now dive into this new store. Just make sure you’re rocking iOS 17.4 or later. Oh, and there’s a small catch – it costs €1.50 a year, tax not included. This fee covers something called the Core Technology Fee (CTF). It’s Apple’s way of saying, “Alright, you can play in our sandbox, but you gotta pay for it.”

Now, getting AltStore PAL onto your iPhone isn’t a walk in the park. Apple throws up all these warning messages. It’s like they’re saying, “Are you sure? Like, really, really sure?” But if you’re persistent, you’ll get through it. The guy behind AltStore PAL, Riley Testut, is kinda a genius. He’s opening the doors for third-party developers to bring their apps to this store. And here’s the kicker – these apps are hosted on the developers’ own servers. You wanna grab something from another developer? You’ll need to add their “source” to the marketplace.

For starters, Testut’s dropped two of his own creations into AltStore PAL. First up, we’ve got Delta. It’s an emulator that lets you play games from a bunch of Nintendo consoles. And get this – it’s also making its debut on Apple’s App Store for folks outside Europe. The second app is Clip, a clipboard manager that Apple’s given the cold shoulder. Testut’s pretty excited, saying, “We’re launching with these two apps: Delta, which is why I even started AltStore, and Clip, a real clipboard manager that does its thing in the background.” Delta’s on the house, no ads or anything. But for Clip, he’s asking for a small donation of €1 or more.

There’s also this cool partnership with Patreon. It’s a way to support developers who wanna share beta apps as a thank you for crowdfunding support. Something you won’t find in Apple’s App Store. AltStore isn’t exactly new. It’s been around since 2019. But until now, getting it on your iPhone was a bit of a hassle. You had to convince your iPhone that you were the app’s developer. This required a companion app called AltServer, which you’d run on a Mac or PC. The original AltStore, with its somewhat hacky setup, is still out there, available globally for free.

Derrick Flynn
Derrick Flynn
With over four years of experience in tech journalism, Derrick has honed his skills and knowledge to become a vital part of the PhonesInsights team. His intuitive reviews and insightful commentary on the latest smartphones and wearable technology consistently provide our readers with valuable information.


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