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The alternative App Store for iPhones

The alternative App Store for iPhones


– Since the rise of the modern
smartphone 10 years ago, one thing has remained constant: Apple’s approach to iPhone apps. The App Store launched
in 2008 and, with it, Apple laid out how it was going to let third-party apps onto its platform. And not much has really changed. You still have to develop your app according to Apple’s rules, submit it to the company for review, and then pray Apple lets it onto the App Store. Anything that crosses the
line, especially around copyright or privacy, isn’t allowed. And those rules are extensive. The guidelines document is
more that 12,500 words long. But, if you’ve been following
the world of mobile apps since the early days of the iPhone, you’re probably well aware that there are holes in Apple’s walled garden. On Android, Google typically lets you do a lot of stuff you can’t do on the iPhone. But that doesn’t mean people have stopped trying to find ways around
Apple’s restrictions. In fact, they’ve only
gotten smarter about it. (bass heavy electronic music) This is AltStore. It’s one of the latest attempts
by independent developers to bypass the App Store, and it’s made by a recent college graduate, Riley Testut. – AltStore basically lets you install apps outside the App Store
by tricking the phone into thinking you
developed the app yourself. Like, you programmed
it and you installed it and you’re testing it out on your device. So a few years ago, Apple had the ability for Xcode, Apple’s
developer tool, to allow anyone with an Apple ID
to install their own apps on their phones so that
Apple could encourage people to learn to program iPhone
apps and test them out for schools and curriculums,
stuff like that. But so basically, I’m using that same process, but just without Xcode. – Riley was inspired to
make AltStore through a trick he discovered in
the jailbreaking community. You probably remember jailbreaking. It used to be pretty
much the only way to get unauthorized apps onto your iPhone or features Apple hadn’t developed yet. Well, after jailbreaking
started to fade out, some really savvy programmers started coming up with ways to
get apps onto the iPhone without needing to jailbreak your phone. One of those methods was with a software called Cydia Impactor. Like AltStore, the Impactor
exploits a loophole in how iTunes communicates and
syncs files with the iPhone. But Cydia Impactor only lets you take app files and put them on
your phone from your computer. AltStore is a fully functioning platform that can, in theory,
support a whole ecosystem of apps that live
outside of the App Store. It also lets you download apps and updates over Wi-Fi without
needing to plug your phone into your computer all the time. Riley’s even made one
of those apps himself. It’s a super polished version of his old Nintendo emulator that he’s
spent years fine-tuning. It used to be called GBA4iOS, but now he’s calling this more
powerful version Delta. It can let an iPhone play Super Nintendo, Game Boy Advance, and even N64 games. It’s got a sleek,
built-in controller scheme and some really nice save state features. But Riley knew he could never
get Delta onto the App Store. Apple wouldn’t allow it
because there are strict rules around apps that might be used
for copyright infringement. So, he started thinking
up more clever ways to get around the restrictions
on iOS, and that’s what pushed him to come up with
AltStore instead of just releasing his app on Android
and calling it a day. – AltStore and everything just came from me wanting to get Delta out. It just made sense for me, if I’m building this
whole process for Delta, just to build it out for anyone to use. So I’m kind of doing it
’cause I want to also improve the quality of
apps that you won’t find on the App Store but could
still exist on the platform. – Okay, quick side note:
we’re not encouraging you go download video game files, which are known on the internet as ROMs. Sites hosting those ROMs have been shut down by game companies
and it’s generally not a good idea to share them. Now, Apple has a history of working hard to shut these things down. It’s spent years patching iOS to block jailbreaking software. But before things like AltStore existed, there was one really popular way to get around IOS restrictions. It’s been around for years and it involves using Apple’s own tools against it. That method is the Enterprise program. It started up a few years after
the iPhone really took off, when all sorts of companies
were developing mobile apps. Apple lets you pay $300 a
year for a special license that it controls that then
lets you distribute apps to anyone over the internet,
no App Store review required. It was intended for really big companies. So, like, say you work
for Amazon or Microsoft. Those employees can then test
apps early to weed out bugs. It turns out that Apple
wasn’t really paying too close attention to
who was buying access to those Enterprise certificates. Some companies would sell
them to you on the cheap and Riley even distributed his old Nintendo emulator, GBA4iOS, using an Enterprise certificate he
bought on the internet. That is, before Apple got wind of that and shut him down pretty quickly. You may also remember
that Facebook and Google were even abusing this program
up until a few months ago when they got in trouble
with Apple for installing these VPN apps onto teenager’s iPhones to snoop on their data in
exchange for $20 a month. There are tons of, let’s say, creative uses of the Enterprise program. Just look at something like TutuApp. It’s a popular alternative
app store out of China that sells access to all
sorts of pirated software. TutuApp occasionally goes down, probably because Apple is
revoking its certificates, but it always seems to come right back. Riley theorizes that the makers of TutuApp are buying new certificates
from other companies. He also raises a really good point, which is that Apple has
let this go on for years without really doing much about it. – But so I’ve always been expecting that route to kind of go away, so that’s why I’ve positioned this whole installation method
completely separate from that. – After the Facebook
and Google controversy, Apple has, in fact, gotten stricter about these Enterprise certificates. It announced some new
restrictions to the program back in WWDC, and Riley
tells me that the company is paying closer attention to who signs up for the program and what they do with it. So the Enterprise program is probably not the best way to try and
bypass the App Store anymore and that’s how we’ve arrived
at something like AltStore. Riley thinks AltStore can survive
for at least a little bit. Apple may come up with a way to disable his ability to distribute apps but it would end up affecting a lot of legitimate users on the platform. – They could completely shut down the whole service, but that would affect everyone doing this, including schools, anyone just using their free Apple ID on the side of their work or anything. So that would be a pretty
heavy-handed solution there. Besides that, they could
prevent syncing of our Wi-Fi; but even then, the worst case is you could still plug in the phone. Essentially, as long as iTunes can sync apps, AltStore can work. – So if it does survive,
Riley hopes AltStore can become a destination
for other app makers. And there’s a lot of room
for really interesting apps that don’t abide
by the iOS guidelines. – Or I know someone made
a file managing app. So, it looked gorgeous and did everything, but Apple would never allow it because you can’t replicate a desktop experience. – As for the future of the App Store, it’s pretty unlikely Apple
is ever going to budge when it comes to apps on the iPhone. But there is a small sliver
of hope for the iPad. Back at WWDC, Apple announced iPadOS. It’s a whole new operating
system dedicated to its tablet. And while the iPad’s
capabilities as a computer have been pretty held back until now, we’re starting to see
Apple open it up way more. There’s now Catalyst,
so you can develop apps for both Mac and iPad at the same time, iPads will be getting the
ability to read USB drives, and Apple is completely
redesigning how the iPad home screen, window layout,
and gesture support works so it’s more like a real laptop. – What’s a computer? – Remember that “What’s
a computer?” ad campaign? Well, Apple is actually
now following through. At some point, Apple
just might give the iPad something that could truly
make it into a computer: the ability to run apps from the internet. – So, I think it’s
inevitable that at some point the iPad will gain some way of installing apps outside of the App Store. I don’t know if that will
ever happen for the iPhone because, essentially,
the iPad is your computer and the phone is the convenience. – Unfortunately, I think I
have to agree with Riley here. I don’t see that ever
happening for the iPhone. Thankfully, we have options like AltStore. That is, if Apple doesn’t
shut it down immediately. I only get to it pick my starter, which I feel like is going
to anger the internet. Bulbasaur? No way. Charmander? Absolutely not. I’m definitely gonna get Squirtle. Hell yeah.

Comments (100)

  1. What iPhone app would you like to see in an alternative app store?

  2. Why Don't he just get an android phone ???

  3. That's why we can't have nice things.. Terrible

  4. 7:40 Yea Apple is shutting it down before the weekend is done. I wonder how they found out though.

  5. So that’s what Demetri Martin has been up to

  6. Huawei Employee? Yet? Already?

  7. If there is any XDA like website dedicated to iOS, this whole article should have been published there.

  8. The Verge is full of goobers.

  9. Why not make a store for pwa (progressive web apps)? Your app can run on alll operating systems.

  10. I think they already shut altstore down 😖 I can’t find it in the App Store

  11. WHY ARE YALL SNITCHING

  12. Aaaaaaanditts gone

  13. ooof, no more iTunes on the next version os macOS

  14. Just tried to download Altstore. No such app. Can anyone help

  15. Why does he look like young Steve jobs😂😂

  16. An iPhone that isn't jailbroken is an absolute WASTE!!

  17. I’m playing Advance Wars: Black Hole Rising on my iPhone X 🤪

  18. This host has the face of a 45 year old and the body of a 12 year old.

  19. M.a.s.s R.e.p.o.r.t t.h.i.s. s.h.i.t f.u.c.k t.h.a.t

  20. That emulator app looks really slick, would love it on Android

  21. Will you make a review of ipad 7 generation?

  22. Nice job, now they'll do their best to end this ASAP

  23. yeah but those apps, you can't really do anything. it's nothing like a jailbreak. I am not into gameboys kinds of stuff. I like pubg better.

  24. Umm isn’t apple phasing out iTunes?

  25. Don't forget about PWAs they aren't as good as a real app but there are officially supported

  26. Just use Android, ffs. I swear, Apple power users must suffer from some kind of Stockholm syndrome.

  27. thumb down for selecting Squirtle

  28. I don't support pirate acts.

  29. No altstore on AppStore 😔

  30. We all just want to play Nintendo games on our phones.
    Wake up, Nindy!

  31. The Verge: don’t download video game ROMs

    Also The Verge: clearly playing a Pokémon video game ROM in the end of the video

  32. This was an underground community where people are installing unauthorized apps and modding them. and you exposed them wide open to the world with this video, genius…
    Now apple will know about this and the patches will come running to close every possible door. Thanks to you now i have to kiss goodbye my GBA/DS emulator and spotify++.
    I've always said that the verge is just a bunch of idiots working together.

  33. If Riley were working in a company, and speaking on their behalf, he would have told none of what he had spoken. Rather would fill his statements with adjectives and adverbs..

  34. This video for some reason feels dated conversation wise yet it was uploaded today… October 4th..

  35. same watch and strap hehe

  36. Thanks for ruining it verge…

  37. Is iPadOS really another operating system, I mean I love it and it finally makes that “What’s a computer” ad make sense now but as I’m sure all us technies at least have seen that iPadOS features extend to iOS 13 like my favorite desktop-class browsing which I guess isn’t default like on the iPad but I guess hidden feature on the iPhone w/ iOS 13 etc.

  38. I'm very interested in downloading this app , but I wanna know is it safe does it have malware apps on it

  39. in the valley of apps <3

  40. …? the app will be banned tomorrow, no?

  41. The guys is a genius lol

  42. Thumbs down this dry snitching BS 💩
    👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼👎🏼

  43. It is already gone from the App Store
    Thanks verge 😠

  44. Apple took it down god damnit I hate them

  45. what a way for verge to let apple know. the verge is like a snake, ypu feed it then it bites you instead.

  46. And Alt Store removed from the store in 3, 2, 1.

  47. Squirtle didn’t anger me at all lol great video!

  48. This guy developed a whole new app store, so that he can publish his one app. One app. Thats some level of dedication.

  49. THIS VIDEO IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE ANYTHING NICE!
    This app store was sort of like a secret for the diehard lovers of indie apps that Apple would not allow. Now that Apple gets wind of this, expect it to be blocked and probably implement measures to prevent future Alt stores.

  50. just get an Android brah..

  51. altstore gonna shut down because of The Verge lol

  52. Well, my personal opinion is Don't use any app from ALT-STORE.

  53. And Apple removed it. Great job, motherf*cker, great job.

  54. Omg!! No way!

    BTW I'm a small YouTuber any support would be appreciated 🙂 🙋

  55. The Verge is trying to take away Takeshi's title as the snitch king.

  56. Gave a "Like" for the Squirrtle :,)

  57. This video is brought to you by… 6ix9ine!

  58. Amazing interesting video man

  59. Don’t we already have Delta on Ignition?

  60. Android System is a God blessing

  61. I can't understand why anyone would choose to use an iPhone

  62. Where did you get this t-shirt?

  63. Ashton Kutcher is looking a lot younger these days

  64. I WANT this tshirt. Link?

  65. 6ix9ine The Verge
    🤝
    Being snitches

  66. I miss jailbreak, wish Apple would allow us to do it

  67. When it comes to competition in the tech world, governments are clueless. Apple should be forced to allow access to their products by competing businesses, this would yield more tax revenue and spark innovation, therefore more apps sold, therefore even more tax revenue.

  68. "Improve the quality of apps on the iPhone" – WUT?

  69. Who is this guy, new recruits?
    Great Job, keep at it.

  70. Verge: let’s how Apple doesn’t take it down.

    Also Verge: Let’s make a whole video showcasing how Alt-store works, how the creator can bypass the App Store, and how apps can be downloaded through the iPad browser. 🤦🏻‍♂️

  71. So are you people upset that apple has let this go unnoticed?
    Wow, the lengths people go to in order to get views these days.

  72. Ay a Squirtle guy

  73. App already banned

  74. Altstore crashes on iOS 13.1.2

  75. It sounds like these are the App Version of such Sharing File Programs like Lime Wire and it also sounds they should be Treated the same with it being Deemed Forbidden and should just as Banned

  76. Verge is a bunch of snitches!

  77. Dang. I feel bad for iPeople. They just wanted to get their phones to be able to do more stuff. Now they're about to get iScrewed.

  78. Come on, Verge! You’re blowing our cover!

  79. Couldn't publish Delta to app store due to strict rules and terms

    Riley makes a whole other app store just to publish Delta

    Riley is a man of focus, dedication, and sheer will.

  80. 😂😂😂😂😂😂😂 Snowden : I'm the snitch king

    verge : Hold my beer !!

  81. does this alt store have Cuphead pe?

  82. The issue is the SCOTUS lawsuit and DOJ is investigating Apple on these control mechanisms. Obviously, security and quality are issues, but the open source community is addressing the issue. The App Store and these tactics are coming under serious legal scrutiny.

  83. Verge is a distraction for ding dongs

  84. Checkm8 may eventually change this picture somewhat…

  85. Or you could just get an android phone and do whatever you want

  86. What's the name of the app at 6:25?

  87. Apple should hire that kid.

  88. Someone just lost there Developer license for the rest of there life, nice job Verge.

  89. Welldone Verge, its taken down. Hope you're happy now?!

  90. Riley: "Users could sitll sync up if they connect their phone to iTunes"

    OS X Catalina: "Hold my iTunes"

  91. Apple made huge walls to prevent third party app instalation..

    guy at 1:04 hey look i'm a programmer..

  92. If users want to use Alt stores to make themselves Patient Zero for some sort of private data leak, go right ahead. Good luck! 🙄

  93. I was literally looking for classic mario and some nostalgic 8-bit games on the app store but found nothing. Think I’m gonna have to install this

  94. The apps still pretty useless because it can’t sign any thing and only offers that emulator since it started

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