AltStore PAL, a Third-Party iPhone App Store, Launches in Europe

AltStore PAL, a Third-Party iPhone App Store, Launches in Europe

The new European app marketplace costs €1.50 (plus tax) per year and offers a Nintendo emulator, Delta, and a clipboard manager, Clip.

Following its beta testing, the third-party iOS app store AltStore PAL is now available in the European Union, by Apple's compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). Riley Testut, the creator of AltStore PAL, is charging €1.50 (plus tax) annually for access to the app store to cover Apple's Core Technology Fee (CTF) for app installation.

To install AltStore PAL, users must navigate through multiple security warnings from Apple, asking them to confirm their decision to install apps from outside the App Store. However, with perseverance and several confirmations, AltStore PAL can be successfully installed.

The app marketplace launches with two apps developed by Testut: Delta, an emulator for NES, SNES, Nintendo 64, Game Boy, Game Boy Advance, and Nintendo DS games, and Clip, a clipboard manager restricted by Apple. Testut and his business partner, Shane Gill, have developed AltStore PAL.

Delta is also available in Apple's App Store for users outside of Europe. This is especially welcome news for those who were affected by the iGBA controversy recently.

AltStore PAL integrates its marketplace with Patreon for monetization, supporting developers who wish to distribute beta apps as a reward for crowdfunding, which is not allowed in the App Store. While Delta is free, downloading Clip requires a monthly Patreon pledge of at least €1 (plus tax).

Neither the apps nor the store itself is new; AltStore has existed since 2019. Previously, installation required a workaround using a companion program called AltServer on a Mac or PC. This process tricked the iPhone into thinking the user was the app's developer, even though it did not involve jailbreaking the device.

Thanks to the DMA, Delta and Clip now have a legitimate launch on the AltStore PAL app marketplace in the EU. Both apps represent the kind of software that may become more common on the iPhone now that developers can bypass Apple's App Store. As a game emulator, Delta occupies a legal grey area, while Clip must use workarounds to run indefinitely in the background. Testut acknowledges that Clip's workarounds conflict with App Store rules but believes users should decide whether to trust the app's handling of copied data.

AltStore PAL also accepts submissions from third-party developers. Unlike the centralized App Store, AltStore PAL's model allows apps to be hosted on developers' own servers. Users add additional "sources" to the app marketplace to download software from other developers.

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