UK iPhone owners could soon gain new app stores and game services like the EU

There could be great news for British gamers with iPhones on the horizon

iPhone 14 Pro Max with Fortnite
(Image credit: Future / Epic Games)
Quick Summary

The UK has passed a Bill with similar intent to the EU's Digital Markets Act.

This may well mean that UK iPhone users will be allowed to side-load third-party apps and app stores eventually. 

Apple might find itself once again forced by law to allow owners of its best iPhones to download third-party app stores and gaming apps – this time in the UK.

Yesterday, the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers (DMCC) Bill passed in in Parliament after only a short debate and, in many places, it's similar to the EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA).

That Act famously triggered a change of tack from Apple over the last six months, as it's been forced to let EU users access third-party app stores on iPhones and other Apple devices, and to allow some services it had banned back onto the platform.

This means, as we know, that Epic Games will be bringing its store to the iPhone as an alternative to the official App Store, although Apple will still benefit thanks to some advantageous fees. It might also mean that Xbox soon follows suit as part of its "every screen is an Xbox" approach. 

If you're wondering quite why this UK Bill has come through so quickly, it's all part of the fallout from the UK's newly-called general election.

As VGC notes, when a new government comes in, previous Bills left unresolved are mostly scrapped. That means we're currently in a bit of a clean-up period, whereby less controversial legislation tends to get ushered through fairly quickly, by the government and its opposition. 

While the reality of the DMCC Bill will be quite complicated to pick through, the main headline is that it should make the UK's restrictions and requirements broadly similar to the EU's, meaning that those benefits coming to EU citizens will most likely be mirrored in the UK.

There's a question mark hanging over Apple's policy in this regard – so far, it's been happy to compartmentalise and offer the changes in the EU only, leaving US and UK users to watch on in envy at some of the changes.

As the UK joins the fray though, it'll be interesting to see if there's a global tipping point at which Apple decides to just have the same policy worldwide, rather than grinding out these processes geographically. 

With this Bill only passed this week, though, it'll doubtless take some time to dwell on the new legislation before announcing how it intends to approach things. 

Max Freeman-Mills

Max is a freelance writer with years of experience in tech and entertainment. He's also a gaming expert, both with the games themselves and in testing accessories and consoles, having flexed that expertise at Pocket-lint as a features editor. He has tested all manner of tech too, from headphones and speakers to apps and software.