Apple confirms iPhone owners can travel outside the EU for 30 days before they lose access to third-party app stores

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Apple’s iOS 17.4 software update was released earlier this week and among other things, it enabled support for third-party app stores in EU member countries. Dubbed “alternative app marketplaces” by Apple, access to these third-party app stores is mandated by the new Digital Markets Act in the European Union, but no such requirement exists outside of the bloc. As a result of that, Apple took the decision to only enable alternative app marketplaces in the EU, leaving those elsewhere to use the App Store. But it isn’t quite that simple.

As part of Apple’s enabling of support for such marketplaces, it requires that users have an EU Apple ID while the iPhone has to physically be in an EU country as well. That’s to ensure that people in other parts of the world can’t gain access to third-party app stores by pretending to be in the EU, and it’s a stance that isn’t wholly surprising. However, the requirement for an EU GPS fix does potentially raise issues — like when people go on vacation.

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