The Apple App Store has seen many changes in recent months, with even more advances expected to take place in the coming year. Let’s take a peek at some of the latest App Store changes and improvements impacting developers and Apple users alike.
2022 App Store Changes: App Store Connect for Developers
One of the most significant Apple App Store changes was rolled out just last week, on January 25, 2022, when all App Store developer accounts were converted to the upgraded App Store Connect “experience.”
The App Store Connect platform allows developers to submit their apps for all operating systems, including iOS, tvOS, macOS and watchOS. A key improvement in the upgraded interface surrounds app information, like product pages and documentation surrounding in-app events. Developers previously had to submit an updated version of their app in order to push updated information through. But now, that information can be updated independently of the app, making for a faster, more efficient process for developers and their clients.
It’s also possible to include multiple documents or apps in a single submission, which is another new feature.
Apple App Store Now Allows Unlisted App Link Distribution
Until recently, the App Store’s primary focus was publicly-accessible apps. Capabilities to support private, non-public apps was very limited.
Previously, an organization could issue links for private app downloads via the Apple Business Manager platform or the Apple School Manager platform. This capability is now open to all developers, in addition to those who are using the aforementioned school and business manager platforms.
Developers and their clients are certain to appreciate the Apple App Store’s new unlisted app distribution capabilities. These apps are accessible only via a direct link; they will not appear in App Store search query results, categories, charts or recommendations.
Notably, those with unlisted apps in an Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager account will need to create a new app record in the App Store Connect platform. Additional information on the process is available in Apple’s Developer Support documents.
App Store Allowing New Payment Methods in Some Regions
The Apple App Store has rolled out new third-party payment options for users in South Korea and the Netherlands. Apple was actually court-ordered to introduce these new payment methods and it’s possible — likely, even — that we will see the same occur for users in the United States.
Curiously, the change in the Netherlands primarily impacts dating apps. So Dutch users can now use alternative payment methods for dating and relationship apps like Tinder.
In August 2021, a bipartisan bill was introduced in an antitrust-related effort to dissipate the apparent monopoly that Apple and Google’s app stores hold over the marketplace. The new piece of legislation is intended to promote competition in the app marketplace by allowing for new payment methods, among other changes which would include:
- Allowing for the use of third-party app stores;
- Permitting the practice of “sideloading”; and
- Allowing for payments outside of the in-app payment system.
If this bill is ultimately passed, over 50 million American users would be impacted. Apple has been resistant to these changes, citing security concerns when these issues were brought to light in the Epic v. Apple court case.
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