Understanding the Core Technology Fee for iOS apps in the European Union

The Core Technology Fee (CTF) is an element of the new business terms in the European Union (EU) that reflects the value Apple provides developers through ongoing investments in the tools, technologies, and services that enable them to build and share innovative apps with users around the world. Developers can choose to remain on the App Store’s current business terms or adopt the new business terms for iOS apps in the EU.

Developers operating under the new business terms for EU apps will have the option to distribute their iOS apps in the EU on the App Store and/or alternative app marketplaces. These developers can also use alternative payment processors in their apps in the EU on the App Store across Apple operating systems. For developers who choose to agree to the new business terms, membership in the Apple Developer Program includes one million first annual installs per year for free for apps distributed from the App Store and/or alternative marketplaces. Developers who achieve exceptional scale on iOS, with apps that have over one million first annual installs in the past 12 months in the EU, will pay a Core Technology Fee.

The fee aims to meet the needs of both users and developers. Since a first annual install is only counted once per account, developers can deliver unlimited feature updates, bug fixes, and security patches to users for 12 months with no additional fee, regardless of how many devices the user has. And when users upgrade or replace their devices, developers aren’t charged when users reinstall their apps through an iCloud transfer.

Learn more about the Alternative Terms Addendum for Apps in the EU


How the fee works

The Core Technology Fee is based on the number of first annual installs for an app in a 12-month period.

  • First annual install. This is the first time an app is installed by an account in the EU in a 12-month period. After each first annual install, the app may be installed any number of times by the same account for the next 12 months with no additional charge. A first annual install may result from an app’s first-time install, a reinstall, or an update from any iOS app distribution option — including the App Store, an alternative app marketplace, TestFlight, an App Clip, volume purchases through Apple Business Manager and Apple School Manager, and/or a custom app.
  • One million free first annual installs. Membership in the Apple Developer Program includes one million first annual installs per year for free for apps distributed from the App Store and/or alternative marketplaces.
  • Fee for each first annual install over one million. Developers will pay a Core Technology Fee of €0.50 for each first annual install over one million in the past 12 months.

You’ll be able to access detailed reports in App Store Connect to monitor first annual installs for your app. If any of your apps exceed one million first annual installs, you’ll also receive monthly financial reports which will inform you of the amount owed.

The Core Technology Fee goes into effect in March for developers who have agreed to the new terms for iOS apps in the EU. For developers who agree to the new terms after March, the Core Technology Fee applies starting from the date the developer agrees.

Nonprofit organizations, accredited educational institutions, and government entities who are approved for a fee waiver are exempt from the Core Technology Fee, subject to the Apple Developer Program’s existing rules. Developers of alternative app marketplaces will pay the Core Technology Fee for every first annual install of their app marketplace, including installs that occur before one million.

To help developers understand the potential impact of the new business terms on their app businesses, Apple is sharing a Fee calculator tool and new reports.


First annual installs

The first annual install of an app takes place the first time it’s installed on iOS by an Apple account in the EU in a 12-month period. Each first annual install initiates a 12-month period of unlimited installs for that app by the same account at no additional charge. Once the period ends, the next install counts as a first annual install and starts a new 12-month period of unlimited installs for that app by the same account.

Apple will only count first annual installs of an app that occur after the developer adopts the new business terms. Under these terms, developers can continue to deliver app updates as needed throughout the year and users can continue to receive essential updates, as well as new features and improvements that provide the best experience.

Only certain kinds of installs can be considered a first annual install, such as the first time an app is ever installed, redownloads of an app that was previously installed, and app updates, as long as they start a new 12-month period. Other installs, such as reinstalls of offloaded apps, iCloud transfers, and auto-downloads onto additional iOS devices by the same Apple account in the EU won’t be considered first annual installs. Installs on operating systems other than iOS also aren’t considered first annual installs. Learn about what can be considered a first annual install.

For example, let’s say that in April 2024, an Apple account in the EU installs Forest Explorer for the very first time on iOS. This is considered a first annual install and it starts a 12-month period when the developer can deliver an unlimited number of installs of that app to that account without generating an additional first annual install. Once the 12-month period ends, the next install counts as a first annual install and starts another 12-month period of unlimited installs for that app and account.

Diagram visually representing First Annual Installs for a fictional application called Forest Explorer.

Apple has designed app installation capabilities for developers that align with our strong stance on privacy, ensuring that individual user data is protected and that app installation data is not shared with developers in a way that can identify individual users. Information about an app’s first annual installs is also not shared with other developers.


Calculating the monthly fee

The Core Technology Fee is calculated by looking at the number of first annual installs in the past 12 months. On a monthly basis, developers will only be billed for one-twelfth of the Core Technology Fee for each first annual install in excess of one million. If an app has fewer than one million first annual installs, there will be no Core Technology Fee for that app that month.

For example, let’s look at the Forest Explorer app for the month of August. Apple looks back 12 months and considers the five months under the new business terms. In this case, the Forest Explorer app has generated 1.05 million first annual installs through the current month. In August, Apple will only charge one-twelfth of the Core Technology Fee owed for the 50,000 first annual installs over one million, resulting in an amount of €2,083.33 due for that month. The developer will receive an invoice for the month of August presenting the monthly fee.

Diagram breaking down the calculation of monthly fees.

Taxation, billing, and payments

As is standard for business transactions, the Core Technology Fee does not include taxes. You may see any applicable taxes, as required by tax law, added as new lines on your invoice. Taxes may apply in certain countries and/or regions, including but not limited to, value-added tax (VAT), sales and use tax, goods and services tax (GST), and consumption tax. For details, view the Alternative Terms Addendum for Apps in the EU.

Generally, the applicability of tax depends on a combination of factors:

  • Your business location (your legal entity address provided when enrolling in the Apple Developer Program).
  • Tax information that you provide to Apple (such as valid tax ID, exemption status, etc.).
  • The billing Apple legal entity. For details, view documentation.

If you have questions, consult your tax adviser.

Developers who owe a Core Technology Fee in a given month will receive an invoice by the 15th day of the following month and will need to provide payment within 30 days of receiving the invoice. You can pay directly from your bank using a unique, virtual routing number for your developer account that’s provided on the invoice. Please note that late payments accrue interest and nonpayment may result in the offset of App Store In-App Purchase proceeds owed to you, removal of the app from the App Store, or removal from the Apple Developer Program.


Resources

Take advantage of new resources to learn how the Core Technology Fee may apply to your business if you adopt the new business terms for iOS apps in the EU.

Calculating the potential fee

Apple has prepared a fee calculator to help you put the new business terms into context and understand how first annual installs may lead to a Core Technology Fee. You can also use data in Sales and Trends to apply these terms to your historical performance using data from the 2023 calendar year.

New reports in App Store Connect

If you’ve agreed to the new business terms for EU apps, you’ll be able to view additional reports related to your first annual installs and associated monthly financials. New reports in Sales & Trends will let you monitor your first annual installs on a regular basis and determine whether any of your apps exceed one million first annual installs. For apps that exceed one million, monthly financial reports will appear in Payments & Financial Reports to show the details of the fee owed.

Additional information about these reports will be available in March.


Developer Q&A: Core Technology Fee

First annual installs

What if someone downloads my app on multiple devices within a 12-month period?

We will only count one first annual install per app per Apple account in the EU in any 12-month period. For example, if someone has two iPhones and installs your app on both phones within a 12-month period using the same account, Apple only counts one first annual install.

Will I be charged if someone upgrades their iPhone and transfers my app to their new device?

No. iCloud transfers are never considered a first annual install, even if more than 12 months have passed since that account installed your app. Learn about what can be considered a first annual install.

What if a first annual install occurs in the middle of a month?

Each first annual install is attributed to a particular month, regardless of the day it occurs. For example, since first annual installs occurring on May 1 and May 15 both take place in May, their 12-month period ends on April 30 of the following year.

How is my fee impacted if someone installs an app from the App Store, then installs it again later from an alternative app marketplace?

As long as the app is installed by the same Apple account in the EU within 12 months of the first annual install, subsequent installs are free, even if the app is installed from a different source. For example, if someone installs your app for the first time from the App Store, deletes it, then reinstalls it from an alternative app marketplace within 12 months of their first annual install, you won’t be charged again for the subsequent install.

What happens if I have fewer than one million first annual installs in the past 12 months?

If you have fewer than one million first annual installs in the past 12 months, you won’t pay a Core Technology Fee that month.

Are app installs on iPadOS, macOS, tvOS, visionOS, or watchOS counted?

No. Only installs on iOS by Apple accounts in the EU may be counted as first annual installs.

How does Apple count first annual installs for volume purchases from Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager?

Apps purchased using Apple Business Manager or Apple School Manager may only be counted as first annual installs once the app is installed. For example, if someone purchases 100 copies of your app through Apple Business Manager and only installs 20 of those copies onto their corporate devices, only those 20 installs may be counted as potential first annual installs.

Reporting

Why do these reports contain data for some of my apps, but not all of my apps?

Apps must have received at least one install from an Apple account in the EU on iOS in 2023 in order to appear in the reports.

When I try to download the new install reports, there’s a message that says “Your apps did not generate any data for this report in the selected reporting period.” What does this mean?

If none of your apps generated any installs in the EU on iOS in 2023, you’ll receive this message when you try to download your reports.

My app launched this year, but I’m seeing reinstalls and updates appear as first annual installs in my reports. Why is this happening?

In some cases, users may first install your app in regions outside the EU or on devices other than iPhone before downloading your app on iOS in the EU. Since first annual installs can only occur on iOS in the EU and these users may have already installed your app outside iOS or the EU, these first annual installs may appear as reinstalls or updates.

Data integrity

How does Apple know how many installs my apps are getting?

Apple provides secure installation APIs that can be called by the App Store or alternative app marketplaces to request the installation of iOS apps from within their app. This API, along with a signal when the installation is complete, enables Apple to accurately count how many times an app is installed.

How will Apple protect developers from install spam?

Apple already takes a number of steps to prevent fraud and scams and protect developers’ intellectual property. Apple is implementing additional measures to monitor, detect, and prevent install abuse, including:

  • An install verification mechanism to ensure that all installs come from real Apple devices.
  • Limits on the number of first annual installs that can come from a single device.
  • Investigating, and potentially terminating, user or developer accounts that engage in suspicious behavior.

If a developer believes that their app’s install count was inflated by install spam, they’ll be able to contact us.