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EU is skeptical that Apple’s App Store rules comply with DMA


EU investigating Apple's new sideloading rules for DMA non-compliance
The EC is not convinced that Apple has changed App Store rules enough to comply with the Digital Markets Act.
Photo: Sora Shimazaki/Pexels CC

The European Commission opened a noncompliance investigation Monday into whether Apple is fully following the rules that went into effect with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. If not, Apple faces potentially heavy fines.

The Mac-maker isn’t being singled out. The EC also opened similar investigations into Alphabet/Google and Meta/Facebook.

No App Store needed: EU iPhone users can install apps directly from websites


No App Store needed: EU iPhone users can install apps directly from websites
iPhone sideloading just got much closer to actual sideloading.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

EU developers can forgo the App Store entirely and distribute their apps directly to iPhone users from their own websites, Apple said Tuesday. This is a significant reversal from Apple’s original rules, which required devs that wanted to skip the official App Store to place iPhone software in third-party software marketplaces.

In another major change, Apple also will allow EU developers to create app marketplaces that sell only their own software.

Apple will make it easier to switch from iPhone to Android


Apple will make it easier to switch from iPhone to Android
Making the switch from iPhone to Android will get easier. But there's a caveat.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple is building a way out of the iOS “walled garden.” It promised on Thursday to make it easier to switch the data from an iPhone to an Android or other handset.

That said, the migration tool is part of Apple complying with the European Union’s Digital Market Act so the solution might not be available outside of the EU.

Apple calls Epic Games ‘untrustworthy,’ blocks Fortnite rerelease in EU


Apple calls Epic Games 'untrustworthy,' blocks 'Fortnite' re-release in EU
The battle between Epic Games and Apple is as cut-throat as anything in Fortnite.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

Epic Games will not be able to bring Fortnite back to the European Union. Apple canceled the company’s developer account (again) and called Epic “verifiably untrustworthy.”

Shutting down the developer account also means that the game-maker won’t be able to open its promised rival to the App Store.

Apple backtracks on killing iPhone web apps in the EU


iPhone web apps: Xbox Cloud Gaming and Amazon Luna
iPhone web apps are not about to break in the EU after all.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple changed course and is not disabling iPhone web apps in the European Union. The method for turning websites into applications will not disappear with the release is iOS 17.4 after all.

The flip-flop is just a small aspect of big changes coming to iOS because of EU legislation.

iOS 17.4 with new emoji, huge changes for EU is almost here


iOS 17.4 logo
iOS 17.4 will bring changes, but you'll have to live in Europe to get most of them.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple just seeded the release candidate of iOS 17.4 to developers. When it goes to the general public — probably next week — it’ll bring in a collection of new emoji to iPhone, and a more secure version of iMessage. For Europeans, the update will be a major one, as it’ll usher in sideloading and other changes.

The release candidate for iPadOS 17.4 also came out Tuesday. However, macOS Sonoma 14.4 is still on beta 5.

Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules ‘malicious compliance’ and ‘ludicrously punitive’


Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules 'malicious compliance' and 'ludicrously punitive'
Apple's new App Store rules for the European Union enrage some developers.
Image: danilo.alvesd/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

A noted Apple critic used the terms “malicious compliance” and “hot garbage” to describe the elaborate rules the company laid down Thursday for allowing European iPhone users to sideload applications.

Those blasts came from Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, a company that’s locked in a legal battle with Apple over App Store rules. But other devs also cast aspersions on Apple’s framework for setting up App Store rivals. They pointed out that the new system comes with a huge financial obligation, and that it will make free apps almost impossible.

To be clear, though, not all developers are unhappy. Apple’s new rules also drew some compliments.

Apple opens iPhone tap-to-pay to third parties in EU


Hold Near Reader payment sheet for third-party NFC tap-to-pay implementation on iPhone in the EU.
Soon, third-party developers can offer tap-to-pay options utilizing the iPhone's NFC chip ... but only in the European Union.
Image: Cult of Mac

To comply with EU mandates, Apple will open the iPhone’s NFC payment chip to third parties, the company said Thursday. Starting in March, users in the European Economic Area will be able to utilize tap-to-pay services other than Apple Pay when making purchases.

The new payment option, part of sweeping changes forced on the iPhone and iOS by the EU’s Digital Markets Act, could cut into Apple’s services revenue. And the company warns that it could put users at risk.

Apple reportedly offers to open iPhone NFC to other payment systems


Apple Pay Tap-to-Pay
We may soon be making "tap and go" payments with something besides Apple Pay.
Photo: Apple

The days of the iPhone’s NFC capabilities being limited to just Apple Pay could be coming to an end. Apple is reportedly open to allowing other systems to use the wireless payment system.

It’s the company’s solution to European Union objections to the iPhone’s NFC limitation.

Sideloading iPhone apps could arrive in the EU next year


App Store
Europeans will soon be able to make an end run around the App Store by sideloading iPhone applications.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The good news is that iPhone could finally allow users to install applications directly starting in 2024, according to a reliable source. The bad news is that being able to go without the App Store will only be an option in Europe.

To be clear, sideloading is required by EU law so it’s definitely happening. The timing isn’t clear, though.

EU Digital Markets Act will open iPhone to sideloading of apps


European Union
The European Union takes another step toward tough regulations on tech giants like Apple.

Now that iOS and the App Store have been labeled “gatekeepers” by the European Commission, the EU’s Digital Markets Act requires Apple to allow users to install applications directly onto iPhones. And sideloading is just one of the sweeping changes resulting from the DMA. Users apparently will be able to replace Siri with one of its rivals, for example. Other services, like iMessage, might require modification later.

One thing’s clear: The iPhone won’t be the same after the Digital Markets Act goes into effect in spring 2024.

EU forces removable batteries on iPhone and iPad


iPhone 14 is easier to repair than any of its predecessors in years.
iPhone 14 is easier to disassemble than its predecessors, but Apple might have to go further.
Photo: iFixit

The European Parliament passed sweeping legislation last week intended to make recycling batteries easier. The new rules will require Apple to redesign iPhone and iPad so their batteries can be replaced by users. (Android devices will face the same mandate.)

This will be the second major hardware change to Apple products to result from EU legislation. iPhones soon will come with a USB-C port in place of Lightning because of a European requirement.

It’s official: 2025 iPhone must include USB-C in place of the Lightning port


No more Lightning ports
Time is running out for the Lightning connector.
Image: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

The European Parliament picked December 28, 2024 as date after which iPhone and all other handsets sold in the EU must have a USB-C port. That means the iPhone 17 in 2025 will definitely not include a Lightning port.

But unconfirmed reports say Apple will make the change earlier than that.

EU passes law forcing Apple to switch to USB-C by 2024


iPhone X with USB-C port
R.I.P. Lightning ...
Photo: Ken Pillonel

The European Parliament voted in an overwhelming majority Tuesday to enforce USB-C as the standard charging port across a wide range of consumer electronics. The law will come into effect by the end of 2024.

With the legislation passed, Apple has a couple of years to complete the transition of its product lineup to USB-C. The company continues to use the Lightning port on iPhone and some accessories for charging purposes.

EU’s Digital Markets Act takes step toward forcing huge changes to iPhone


European Union
The European Union takes another step toward tough regulations on tech giants like Apple.

The European Parliament passed the landmark Digital Markets Act on Tuesday. The legislation aims to outlaw many common practices of Big Tech companies, especially Apple, Google and Amazon.

For iPhone users, the DMA would force Apple to allow rival app stores and sideloaded applications. And these are only two of many significant changes in the act.

There are still further steps the the EU government must go through before the DMA goes into effect, but that’s expected to happen before the end of 2022.

EU mandate will bring USB-C to iPhone and iPad


Robotics engineer Tom Pillonel modded his iPhone with USB-C and sold it for $86,000 on eBay.
The EU will require future iPhones to have a USB-C port.
Photo: Tom Pillonel

The Lightning port’s days are numbered. The EU government has settled on a plan that will require all new phones and tablets to have a USB-C port, including iPhone.

But is seems Apple saw the writing on the wall and is already getting ready to switch iPhone from Lightning to USB-C.

EU may soon force Apple to open iPhone NFC to other payment services


Apple Pay Tap-to-Pay
iPhone users might soon be able to use tap-to-pay with non-Apple payment systems. In the EU, anyway.
Photo: Apple

The European Union reportedly plans to accuse Apple of violating the law by limiting access to the iPhone’s NFC capabilities to the company’s own payment system. The goal is to give rival systems like PayPal access to the iPhone’s convenient tap-to-pay function.

Apple claims the limitation is there to protect users’ financial information. The EU calls it anticompetitive.

EU plans to force iMessage to work with WhatsApp, other messaging apps


iMessage messaging
iMessage may not be an Apple exclusive for much longer.
Photo: Cee Ayes/Unsplash

The European Union plans to break down the barriers between mobile messaging services. With its Digital Markets Act, it plans to force services like iMessage, WhatsApp, and smaller messaging platforms to play nicely together.

The move would be a major blow to Apple, which has long used iMessage — which it refuses to bring to Android — as a big selling point of iPhone.

Ireland’s data protection boss questions Apple over Siri privacy


Siri Lights
How private are your conversations with Siri?
Photo: Ste Smith/Cult of Mac

Ireland’s Data Protection Commission is questioning Apple over privacy concerns raised by an ex-contractor who transcribed users’ Siri requests in an effort to improve the voice assistant’s functionality.

Former Apple contractor Thomas le Bonniec this week said Apple should be “urgently investigated” over Siri data collection. It seems that the EU’s data protection authorities are listening.

Apple Store’s temperature checks may violate German privacy rules


Apple Store Hamburg line iPhone 6s
Apple Stores, like this one in Hamburg, Germany, are digitally checking the temperatures of customers as they enter.
Photo: Thomas Knoop (via Twitter)

As Apple reopens its retail stores throughout Germany, regulators are considering investigating whether temperature checks of customers to ensure the safety of visitors and employees is a violation of European Union privacy laws.

Apple TV+ cuts streaming quality in Europe to lower stress on internet


Apple TV app Samsung
Apple appears to have heeded the E.U. request to lower quality of its Apple TV+ service to reduce the strain on the internet.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Following a request to streaming services to switch from high definition to standard in an effort to reduce the strain on the internet, indications were Friday that Apple has followed suit of other major services and slowed down its Apple TV+ streaming service.

Cult of Mac has confirmed through two Apple TV users – one in Great Britain and one in southern France – that the quality of content on Apple TV+ has been lowered. Subscribers described the differences as primarily fast-moving content that is slower to refresh, heavily compressed and more pixelated.

YouTube, Amazon Prime Video follow Netflix in throttling video quality throughout Europe [Update]


YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
YouTube and Amazon Prime Video cut streaming bitrates in Europe.
Image: Brad Gibson/Cult of Mac

YouTube and Amazon Prime Video confirmed Friday they will will start throttling video quality in Europe in an effort to reduce the strain on network infrastructure during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The temporary measure will see all YouTube videos displayed in standard definition by default, though, it is still be possible for viewers to select a higher resolution.

Netflix reduces streaming bit rates in Europe to fight internet congestion


Expect Netflix to stay in the no. 1 spot for the foreseeable future.
Photo: Brad Gibson / Cult of Mac

Quarantine and chill is about to get a noticeable quality drop for Netflix users in Europe.

Netflix announced Thursday it would begin to reduce bit rates on all streams in Europe starting today. The move came shortly Netflix CEO Reed Hastings called a European Union official to discuss how to stop the internet from getting congested as more people are being told to work from home.