Apple must comply with the DMA, urges civil society call to European Commission

Civil society organisations and stakeholders have submitted an analysis to the European Commission about Apple’s attempts to circumvent the Digital Markets Act’s goals of allowing people freedom of choice on their own devices.

By EDRi · July 2, 2024

Together with nine other civil society organisations and stakeholders, EDRi has submitted a comprehensive analysis to the European Commission about how Apple’s plans to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) are insufficient.

Our analysis outlines how Apple’s proposal to maintain total control over people’s apps on iPhones and iPads blatantly breaches the gatekeeper’s obligation to enable effective app store competition. Under that proposal, Apple’s would retain full power over everybody’s app choices even when apps are being installed from non-Apple sources like independent app stores or websites. It seems obvious that Apple is trying to nominally comply with the DMA, without actually allowing people the freedom of choice on their own devices that the law attempts to achieve.

We also show how Apple interprets the DMA’s browser choice provision in a way that makes it as difficult as possible for people to choose a web browser other than Apple’s own Safari on iPhones and iPads. What’s more, the gatekeeper tries to abuse the browser choice screen rules with classic deceptive design tactics.

We lastly argue that the DMA’s interoperability provisions provide the grounds for requiring Apple to allow independent operating systems on iPhones and iPads where people wish to install them. So far, this requirement has not been addressed by Apple at all.

Apparently, the European Commission shares a number of our concerns already: So far, the official enforcement authority for the DMA has launched three independent investigations into Apple’s conduct and in one of them has issued preliminary findings that confirm that Apple’s app store rules are “in breach of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), as they prevent app developers from freely steering consumers to alternative channels for offers and content.”


The Digital Markets Act (DMA) came into force in 2022 and establishes a set of obligations and prohibitions for tech companies that qualify as “gatekeepers” under the law. While the DMA rules aim at ensuring that gatekeepers behave fairly in the market and don’t foreclose contestability, some of the gatekeepers – like Apple – seem to be attempting to circumvent the law’s goals wherever possible.

Healthy competition is key for our rights as users of digital products and services, and we should not allow gatekeepers to diminish or take away our digital rights and freedoms. Apple earns a huge revenue from blocking these freedoms on devices that we own, and has dedicated considerable resources to interpret the DMA as it deems fit. This has to stop.

The submission has been co-signed by:

European Digital Rights (EDRi)
Article 19
Free Software Foundation Europe
Gesellschaft für Freiheitsrechte
Guardian Project
Privacy International
The App Fair Project

Jan Penfrat

Senior Policy Advisor

Mastodon: @ilumium