Apple’s Alternative App Store Implementation Sparks Developer Backlash

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The arrival of AltStore, the first officially sanctioned third-party app store in the European Union, has been met with a wave of criticism directed not at AltStore itself, but at Apple’s implementation of the system. Developers are expressing frustration with the user experience, citing excessive complexity and a slew of technical issues.

According to a tweet by Adam Demasi on X, Apple’s approach falls short of creating a smooth experience for users venturing outside the walled garden of the App Store. It highlights several pain points for users attempting to install apps through alternative app stores like AltStore. Some of the key issues which he has brought up are:

  • The process lacks any visual cues about download progress, leaving users in the dark. The only feedback comes in the form of error messages or unexplained delays.
  • The app installation process involves cryptic prompts scattered throughout Settings and Safari. These prompts offer minimal explanation and lack a cohesive flow, creating confusion.
  • Instead of a single clear confirmation, users have to tap through multiple steps to install an app. These steps often lack explanation, leaving users unsure of what they’re actually confirming.

Additionally, uninstalling an app can lead to further problems, as Demasi reported being unable to reinstall a previously removed app. Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has also voiced his concerns, going as far as to speculate that Apple intentionally crippled the entire system to discourage users in the EU from relying on anything other than that App Store.

It remains unclear whether these issues stem from genuine oversight on Apple’s part or a more deliberate strategy, as some suspect. However, it cannot be denied that the current state of affairs does little to encourage the widespread adoption of alternative app stores in the EU.

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