First third-party app store goes live in EU


AltStore PAL app marketplace
Users pay a small annual fee. Developers can distribute apps for free.
Photo: AltStore PAL

The first third-party app marketplace, AltStore PAL, launched in the European Union on Wednesday. The App Store alternative comes from Riley Testut, the developer who got his Delta retro-game emulator into the iPhone App Store on the same day.

AltStore PAL launches in EU

AltStore PAL arrives thanks to recent EU legislation, which prompted big changes in iOS 17.4 that made third-party app marketplaces possible. Apple made the changes to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which opens iPhone to side-loading in an effort to foster competition. Apple objected but then complied (slowly at first).

AltStore PAL promises to distribute “indie” apps at low prices, according to Testut’s blog post. He posted the information on Wednesday, the same day his much-anticipated Delta retro game emulator made it into the iPhone App Store after rejections.

“I’m thrilled to announce a brand new version of AltStore — AltStore PAL — is launching TODAY as an Apple-approved alternative app marketplace in the EU,” Testut wrote. “AltStore PAL is an open-source app store made specifically for independent developers, designed to address the problems I and so many others have had with the App Store over the years. Basically, if you’ve ever experienced issues with App Review, this is for you!”

AltStore PAL app markeplace’s free distribution

For users (only open to people in the EU), AltStore PAL costs 1.5 euros (plus value-added taxes) per year. For developers, distributing apps on AltStore PAL is free. Also, devs can use AltStore PAL’s Patreon integration to distribute directly to users. And, unlike Apple’s App Store, the platform includes no review process.

For now, AltStore PAL is small. It includes two apps. Those are the previously mentioned Nintendo game emulator, Delta, plus a clipboard-manager app called Clip.

Here’s how Testut described the marketplace’s initial offerings:

We’re launching with 2 apps initially: my all-in-one Nintendo emulator Delta — a.k.a. the reason I built AltStore in the first place — and my clipboard manager Clip, a real clipboard manager that can actually run in the background. Delta will be FREE (with no ads!), whereas Clip will require a small donation of €1 or more. Once we’re sure everything is running smoothly we’ll then open the doors to third-party apps — so if you’d like to distribute your app with AltStore, please get in touch.


Daily round-ups or a weekly refresher, straight from Cult of Mac to your inbox.

  • The Weekender

    The week's best Apple news, reviews and how-tos from Cult of Mac, every Saturday morning. Our readers say: "Thank you guys for always posting cool stuff" -- Vaughn Nevins. "Very informative" -- Kenly Xavier.