Apple is tenacious about apps you install on your iPhone and iPad. Users can only install apps using the App Store as installing an app from a third-party app store is not supported unless you jailbreak your iPhone. Now, a developer named Riley Testut has developed an iOS App Store alternative AltStore that allows users to install apps without jailbreaking.
How Does The App Store Alternative Bypass Apple’s Policies?
AltStore is an iOS app store available even for iOS 13 users. As per Testut’s blog, his developed app store does not rely on enterprise certificates as it violates Apple’s policies and the company cracks down on those who misuse it.
Instead, AltStore leverages a lesser-known developer feature that allows them to install the apps they have developed using Xcode (Apple’s development toolkit) with their Apple ID.
This feature is especially beneficial for those who want to test their apps for free as an Apple developer account costs $99 per year. However, Apple has limited the installation of apps only from Xcode for no apparent reason.
His blog says that the AltStore tricks into thinking that the apps you are installing are developed by you, which is a legit legal method approved by Apple and does not violate any of the policies.
Owing to the fact that it is legal, Apple cannot shut it down unless they push a system-level change in iOS.
How Are Apps Installed From AltStore?
AltStore uses your Apple ID and password to communicate with Apple developer server on your behalf. Testut says that your credentials are never shared with any third-party server and is stored in your device’s Keychain. However, he says that you can create throwaway events since it does not matter what Apple ID is used for installing apps from AltStore.
On the downside, you cannot directly install the apps from AltStore, a desktop companion app of AltStore — AltServer must run in the background on a Windows or Mac device.
He says, “AltServer is a desktop companion app for macOS/Windows that does nothing but just silently run in the background listening for incoming AltStore connections. When a connection is formed, AltStore sends a resigned/refreshed app to AltServer over WiFi, which then uses the same underlying iTunes WiFi sync infrastructure as Apple to wirelessly install the app back to your device.”
At the moment, only one app is available in AltStore — Delta NES Emulator. Testut will officially launch his App Store alternative on September 28.
Moreover, AltStore is an open-source project and developers can have a look at the source code available on Github.