Tried it out: Install and use AltStore PAL as an app marketplace on the iPhone

Last week I created one for you looked at the AltStore app. The alternative marketplace can be installed on the iPhone worldwide using a developer account and a few detours via the Mac or PC. However, there is also “AltStore PAL” for devices with iOS 17.4 or later used in the EU. This EU version of the alternative app store is much easier to install - basically all you need to do is download it from the website, directly on the iPhone. A Mac or PC is not necessary. There is a fee for the whole thing.

With AltStore PAL, iPhone sideloading in the EU is even easier than with the old AltStore version. Nevertheless, there are points of criticism.
With AltStore PAL, iPhone sideloading in the EU is even easier than with the old AltStore version. Nevertheless, there are points of criticism.

The difference between “AltStore” and “AltStore PAL”

  • AltStore: Must be installed on the iPhone via the AltServer app on the computer, requires a developer account and appropriate access rights, but is free.
  • AltStore PAL: Can be downloaded and installed directly on the iPhone, only requires consent in the settings, costs €1,50 + VAT (total €1,79 in Germany) per year.

Get an AltStore PAL subscription on iPhone, Mac or elsewhere

To subscribe to the AltStore PAL app, you can use both your mobile device and other devices with a web browser. You can then access the page there and scroll to the “Downloads” section.

There you then click or tap the button under “AltStore PAL” that says “€1.50/year + VAT”. This will take you to a page where you can provide an email address and credit card information for payment. Once you have entered everything, click or tap on the “Subscribe with payment” button.

The AltStore PAL download on the Apple iPhone

No matter what device you use, after paying you will be taken to the download page. If you click the download button on the Mac or PC, you will receive an error message. However, in Safari on the iPhone, the “Marketplace installation” message appears. This indicates that the AltStore PAL installation still needs to be confirmed in the settings.

No problem, because you just have to open the settings. There you will see the marketplace notice directly below your name card. If you tap it, all you have to do is tap “Allow” and verify yourself (Face ID, Touch ID or unlock code).

Back on the download page in the Safari browser, you can now tap the download button again and you will then see the installation message for the app marketplace. Here you tap the “Install App Marketplace” button, confirm the whole thing again with “Next” and verify yourself again.

Use AltStore PAL on your iPhone

You probably won't notice anything about the installation. There is also no message as to whether and when the installation is completed. You have to look in the app library or on your home screen to see whether the new app is already available. But that should happen quickly.

The paid EU version differs from the free AltStore in, among other things, the app symbol on the home screen. It has a gradient background and a subtle 3D look. But it can also be adjusted in the app’s settings. The global version icon is flatter and more monotone.

The small offer in the AltStore PAL marketplace

So far, AltStore PAL's offering only consists of the Delta App, an emulator for old Nintendo games, and the Clip App, a clipboard manager. The game emulator is free, while Clip costs again. Both apps come from the same software company as AltStore PAL itself. Third-party apps are not yet included (see screenshots above).

Criticism of the AltStore PAL app

Of course, it is to be welcomed that Apple is opening its doors and alternatives to the App Store can now be installed on the iPhone. However, the AltStore in its PAL version is not a prime example of this. Because on the one hand, the developer Riley Testut about ithow restrictive Apple is. On the other hand, he makes his Delta emulator available directly via Apple's App Store everywhere except the EU. If you want to use it in the EU, you either have to laboriously install AltStore or, more simply (but you have to pay for it), install AltStore PAL.

Additionally, the download button didn't seem to work for some time, making the offer look like a scam. However, through my test I can contradict this accusation. Everything worked well for me, as you can see from the screenshots. 

One point of criticism that I can understand is the meager offering. In the paid version of the app marketplace, no additional offers and apps can be added or downloaded directly from the overall overview. So far there are only Delta and Clip. If you really want to use the emulator in the EU but don't want the difficult installation of the free AltStore, you will probably spend €1,79 per year. Everyone else won't find anything here that can compete with the App Store.

AltStore PAL experiences after a short test

I can conclude my AltStore PAL test report by saying that the app is, at least visually, a beautiful example of the possibility of installing and using alternative app marketplaces on the Apple iPhone. But not (yet). The costs are understandable, as they are intended to cover the “Core Technology Fee” of 50 cents per download + processing costs imposed by Apple. However, the range of two apps is still very small. Currently AltStore PAL only makes sense for those who use the Delta Emulator easier than using the old AltStore want to use.

Jens’ AltStore video

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