Altstore PAL With Annual Subscription, Free Delta Nintendo Emulator Launched in Europe

Altstore PAL was launched in Europe on Wednesday as the first third party iPhone app store — or alternative app marketplace, as Apple calls it. Users who live in Europe and want to access apps that are not available via the official App Store, can now install Altstore PAL after updating their iPhone to iOS 17.4. However, thanks to Apple’s mandatory Core Technology Fee (CTF), customers will have to pay a small annual fee to access the first third-party app store to arrive in the region.

Developer Riley Testut shared details of the Altstore PAL app marketplace in a blog post, stating that the open source app currently offers two applications — a Nintendo emulator called Delta and Clip, a clipboard manager. The former will be free to download via Altstore PAL, while the latter will require a minimum donation of EUR 1 (roughly Rs. 90) or more, according to the developer.

The new Altstore PAL won’t have Apple’s content restrictions (you can’t download a torrent client or via Apple’s App Store on iOS) and will also allow developers to distribute apps with Patreon, by specifying a minimum pledge amount that unlocks access to an app. Testut says the platform won’t take commissions on donations received via Patreon, and developers can use the Patreon income to pay Apple’s CTF fee that kicks in after 1 million downloads.

In order to install Altstore PAL, users who live in the EU will need to update their iPhone to iOS 17.4, then pay EUR 1.50 (roughly Rs. 135) — an annual subscription that allows the project to pay Apple’s CTF, Testut says. Users who don’t want to fork out the annual fee as well as those who live outside the EU) can sideload apps using a computer (using the original Altstore app) and refreshing them every seven days.

Unlike users, developers won’t have to pay to host their apps on Altstore PAL, and there’s no commission for Patreon donations. Testut says that once Apple has notarised an app, the processed “alternative distribution packet” (ADP) must be uploaded to the developer’s server. They must then create and upload a JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) file that contains metadata about the app, so that users can include the same source in the Altstore PAL app to begin downloading and updating that app.  

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