Apple is working to reduce its platform lock-in because of the Digital Markets Act


The European Union’s Digital Markets Act has had a huge impact on Apple, a company that has become synonymous with the “walled garden” approach to interoperability. The company recently published a “” (is there a confidential version?) which summarizes the ways in which Apple has changed to comply with the new regulations.

Most of it is stuff we already know. With iOS 17.4, customers in the EU are presented with their choice of browsers, can install apps outside the app store, can use the NFC chip for wireless payment systems other than Apple Pay, and more.

But there are a couple of small details we haven’t heard of before. The first is the ability to completely delete Safari. As the document states:

Apple also plans to enable users to completely delete Safari from iOS, should they wish to do so. Apple aims to make this option available by the end of 2024.

Perhaps more interesting is the work Apple is apparently doing to make it easier to transition to an Android phone.

Apple is developing a solution that helps mobile operating system providers develop more user-friendly solutions to transfer data from an iPhone to a non-Apple phone. Apple aims to make this solution available by fall 2025.

That’s a long way out–a timeframe of fall 2025 means this solution will likely ship as part of iOS 19! But it’s interesting to see Apple work on a much more holistic solution than its current app, which critics say doesn’t move nearly enough of your data and comparable settings over.

Finally, Apple is working on an easier way to switch browsers. You can already choose a default browser, and customers in the EU are presented with a “browser ballot” menu when they first launch the browser after the iOS 17.4 update, but there’s no simple way to move all your bookmarks, form autofill data, passwords, cookies, and other things between browers.

Apple is also creating a browser switching solution for exporting and importing relevant browser data into another browser on the same device. Apple aims to make this solution available by late 2024/early 2025.

That timeframe seems to suggest it will be a part of an update to iOS 18, an “iOS 18.4” if you will.

The document is aimed at showing compliance with the Digital Markets Act, and doesn’t detail which features are going to be available only in the EU and which might roll out worldwide. It also doesn’t dive into specific details of how everything is implemented or the policies behind them, which have come under some scrutiny recently. It’s always possible the EU regulatory bodies may find that some of Apple’s efforts don’t work in a way that makes them compliant with the Digital Markets Act, prompting further changes to how Apple has implemented these features.

Apple Inc

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