Leaving the EU for too long will make you lose access to third party app stores in iOS

Yesterday Apple released iOS 17.4 (and iPadOS 17.4), the version which adheres to the EU’s newly gone into effect Digital Markets Act (DMA), even if Apple’s compliance seems to be incredibly begrudging and at times resentment-filled.

You can tell from its press releases on the matter, and the theme continues today with a support document that outlines what happens if an EU citizen with access to a third party app store leaves the EU “for too long”. You guessed it – no more access to the third party app store for you.

Leaving the EU for too long will make you lose access to third party app stores in iOS

In case you were wondering – what “too long” means in this context is never defined. But hey, there’s a silver lining of sorts – Apple says “if you leave the EU for short-term travel, you’ll continue to have access to alternative app marketplaces for a grace period”. A “grace period”, how nice of Apple to grant you that, you see?

Okay so let’s say you do for whatever reason decide to leave the EU “for too long”. You won’t be able to download any additional third party app stores, and the apps you already installed from third party app stores aren’t going to be updated by the store(s) you got them from. The apps will still function, unless the developer is one of those that likes to throw a “update the app to the latest version to continue” screen in your face from time to time.

This all happens because “you must physically be located in the EU” in order to use the new features Apple was forced to introduce by the DMA. You also need to have an Apple ID set to an EU country. On the other hand, Apple boasts about preserving your privacy by not collecting your device’s location in order to check whether you are in fact physically in the EU – that is determined “using on-device processing with only an indicator of eligibility sent to Apple”.

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