Apple will cut off third-party app store updates if your iPhone leaves the EU for a month

Photo of iPhone 15 Pro Max on a table showing rear panel and triple camera.

Apple won’t let your iPhone update software installed by third-party app stores if you leave the European Union for more than 30 days. In an update to its support page on Thursday, Apple says you can continue using apps from alternative marketplaces while traveling for long periods — but you’ll need to come back to the EU to get the latest version.

Shortly after the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) went into effect on Wednesday, users noticed an Apple support page stating users would “lose access to some features” when leaving the EU “for short-term travel.” But now, Apple has made this policy more specific by carving out a 30-day grace period, which could be inconvenient for frequent travelers.

This doesn’t change your ability to use alternative app marketplaces, however, as Apple says you can still use third-party stores to manage apps you’ve already installed. Several developers are already preparing to launch third-party app stores, including the enterprise app store Mobivention and MacPaw’s Setapp store. Epic Games might not be able to launch the game store it’s been planning, as Apple has revoked its developer license for being “‘verifiably untrustworthy.”

Apple’s availability update:

To reflect the Digital Markets Act’s changes, users in the European Union are able to install alternative app marketplaces and install apps offered through alternative app marketplaces in iOS 17.4 or later. The country or region of your Apple ID must be set to one of the countries or regions of the European Union, and you must physically be located in the European Union.

Your device eligibility for alternative app marketplaces is determined using on-device processing with only an indicator of eligibility sent to Apple. To preserve your privacy, Apple does not collect your device’s location.

If you leave the European Union, you can continue to open and use apps that you previously installed from alternative app marketplaces. Alternative app marketplaces can continue updating those apps for up to 30 days after you leave the European Union, and you can continue using alternative app marketplaces to manage previously installed apps. However, you must be in the European Union to install alternative app marketplaces and new apps from alternative app marketplaces

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