iPadOS 18 beta 2 brings third-party app stores and more to the iPad as Apple seeks EU DMA compliance

iPad Pro with M4 chipset
(Image credit: Gerald Lynch / Future)

Apple announced iPadOS 18 during the opening of WWDC week on June 10 and immediately made the first beta available for developers to download. Now, the second beta is also available for download and it improves a big change to how iPad owners download apps.

Much like is already the case on the iPhone, Apple's iPadOS 18 beta 2 release adds support for third-party app stores and more for the first time. The move comes as Apple seeks to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act and while the iPad was previously exempt, that is no longer the case.

As a result, Apple has rolled out changes that will allow iPad owners in 27 EU member countries to install third-party app stores when the software is made available publicly later this year.

Beta changes

Apple confirmed the news in a post on the company's developer website, saying that "The changes for apps in the European Union (EU), currently available to iOS users in the 27 EU member countries, can now be tested in iPadOS 18 beta 2 with Xcode 16 beta 2."

Apple also noted that support for third-party web browser engines will also be offered via iPadOS 18, removing the need for apps to use Apple's own WebKit.

The iPadOS 18 beta is currently only available to developers while a public beta is expected to kick off starting in July. The final release is then likely to be made available globally in September, but these changes will only apply to people in one of the 27 EU countries.

M4 iPad Pro (11-inch) 256GB |$1,199$1,139 at Amazon

M4 iPad Pro (11-inch) 256GB | $1,199 $1,139 at Amazon

Get ready for iPadOS 18 with the latest iPad Pro, complete with the incredibly fast M4 chip. The new OLED display is the best we've ever seen in an iPad of any description and support for the new Apple Pencil Pro is of course included, too.

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.