Sideloading: Setapp App Store on iPhone and iPad planned for 2024

Apple will have to open up the market for app purchases on the iPhone and iPad in the coming year. This is what the Digital Markets Act (DMA) provides, at least in the EU. And therefore quit Setapp, the first subscription-based platform for curated macOS and iOS apps, today launched its own app store. As in the Apple App Store, you can also be sure with Setapp from MacPaw that the programs offered checked and safe are. However, the mobile Setapp App Store will work a bit differently for the time being. I have summarized the details for you below.

As soon as the DMA has opened up the digital market for iPhone and iPad in the EU, Setapp will offer its own app store for sideloading. You can find the first information about this here.
As soon as the DMA has opened up the digital market for iPhone and iPad in the EU, Setapp will offer its own app store for sideloading. You can find the first information about this here.

Setapp App Store for EU users

In the foreseeable future, the DMA will ensure that digital markets in the EU will have to be opened up and large providers will no longer be considered "Gatekeeper“ are allowed to act for their platforms. If you use an iPhone or iPad, you will notice that it will soon be possible to download apps not only from the Apple App Store, but also from alternative app stores just as easily. And this is exactly where Setapp comes in. Once the market opens and with an update (probably at iOS 17 and iPadOS 17) the way is free to use alternative app sources, Setapp will launch its own offering for the EU market.

"We see this development as an exciting first step and are excited to be a part of it. We look forward to Apple continuing to relax restrictions around the world in the futuresays Mykola Savin, Product Lead at Setapp. "In response to one of our users' greatest desires from day one, the mobile Setapp App Store will provide them with a more convenient way to discover and use a wide range of apps from a single source on iPhone and iPad, and make it easier for developers to reach a larger audience and to present their apps to iOS users."

Mobile Setapp App Store: Easier than the previous “Mac + iOS” model

The mobile Setapp App Store will offer a collection of selected mobile apps ranging from productivity tools to lifestyle applications. With powerful mobile apps, which were specially developed for iOS, users can implement a wide variety of projects and optimize the necessary workflows. Setapp announces that more than 30 providers will already be able to offer EU users a complete app experience. Popular tools like Ulysses, Taskheat, NotePlan, PDFSearch and Soulver will then be available among others.

In addition to over 240 Mac apps for a small subscription price, Setapp already offers some iOS and iPadOS apps. However, these are linked to a combination subscription and have to be obtained more cumbersomely than via a mobile app store. This is about to change soon.
In addition to over 240 Mac apps for a small subscription price, Setapp already offers some iOS and iPadOS apps. However, these are linked to a combination subscription and have to be obtained more cumbersomely than via a mobile app store. This is about to change soon.

So far, Setapp already offers iOS apps for use on Apple iPhone and Apple iPad at. However, these have to be obtained in a comparatively cumbersome manner via the Mac app. Until the implementation of the DMA and the appearance of the Setapp mobile app store, it is not possible to use Setapp offers exclusively via mobile devices. If you don't have a Mac, you can't take advantage of the provider's advantages. While the previous “Mac + iOS” subscription starts at $11,24 a month, the single Setapp mobile-only subscription will certainly be cheaper – and easier to use. The new offer will therefore offer many advantages.

Try Setapp for free: Here is the provider page

Developers can get up to 90% participation

Setapp uses a revenue-sharing model for app developers, which has already ensured that the Mac app has grown to over 240 apps over time. This model is also extended to the alternative App Store for iOS and iPadOS. This is intended to create a beneficial ecosystem for everyone involved. Setapp shares 70% of the usage fee with the developers of the apps used by the respective users. In addition to the 70% participation, Setapp guarantees a further 20% of the user fees for partners who have mediated the use - i.e. a commission. Up to 90% of the subscription costs are available for developers. 

The press release on the subject also states: "With this announcement, Setapp is calling on iOS developers to submit their apps for review. By joining Setapp, they gain access to a dedicated community of users, allowing them to expand their app's visibility and potential user base. Setapp offers a seamless onboarding experience that allows developers to focus on what they do best - building exceptional apps - while the team handles the commercial and distribution aspects.“ – Since we have been recommending Setapp for the Mac for years anyway and this will hardly change on the iPhone and iPad, I would simply agree.

Complete subscription vs. single purchase: where will it go with time?

News about Setapp's sideloading plans was under an embargo until this afternoon. But I've known about it since last week and was able to consult with Setapp and ask questions about it. I was particularly interested in whether the existing subscription model will be used exclusively or whether there will also be individual app purchases and free apps (as in the Apple App Store). The answer was this: "The Setapp All-in-One subscription model is extended to the iOS store in the EU. We're also considering other options, but these will depend on sideloading rules that Apple implements."

The independent app store on the iPhone and iPad is therefore a strategic step for Setapp, and for users it is an opportunity to obtain mobile apps without the Mac. However, despite DMA, it still doesn't seem clear whether sideloading can really be designed completely freely. First of all, Setapp relies on the well-known subscription model for the entire range and the apps it contains. It is not yet clear whether and when there will be free apps or individual purchases. In any case, Setapp will be a safe place to go for sideloading and thus one of the first alternatives to the previous App Store on iOS and iPadOS.

  • Test Setapp subscription for Mac or Mac and iOS: Have a look here
  • Developers can submit their apps to Setapp here: Link
  • Those interested can find the waitlist for the mobile app store here: Link 

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