With over 2 million apps on offer, the iOS app store is one of the largest and most popular mobile app stores in the world. Let’s face it; whether you want a game to while away an hour or two, a utility app, or any other kind of app, it’s a sure bet you can get it from the app store, sometimes for free, sometimes you have to pay for it. And, with many apps and games, there are in-app purchases to contend with too.
Developers sometimes struggle to get an app accepted into the iOS app store and must pay a yearly fee of $99 to do so. One of the common problems is geo-restriction; not all apps are available to all users, and this is causing some problems for developers as it is shrinking their audience.
The good news is, neither developers nor iOS users are limited to using the iOS app store anymore. There are plenty of alternative stores that offer a decent range of both content and features and, while they may not have the vast numbers of apps the iOS store has, they certainly offer a different experience.
In a while, we’ll provide you with details on just 10 of those alternative app stores but, before we get there, ask yourself a question – why would you even need to consider using an alternative app store?
Why Use an Alternative App Store?
Alternative iOS app stores offer everybody something they cannot get from the official store. From the developer’s point of view, they offer an alternative platform, a much wider audience to push their apps to. In many cases, these alternatives offer an extra stream of revenue, and many of them are much cheaper for app submissions. From the iOS user’s point of view, they offer a way of installing apps and games that they may not be able to get from the official store. That could be apps that would otherwise be geo-restricted, modified apps, premium apps for free, and much more. Indeed, many of them are completely free to download and use and offer all kinds of unofficial content that the iOS app store will never have.
Whether you are a developer or an iOS user, it’s fair to say that these alternatives are giving Apple a run for their money.
The Advantages of Alternative App Stores
There are plenty of advantages to using these alternative stores, both for developers and users:
For the Developer:
- Cheaper or free app submission fees and listing fees
- Better app promotion, more chance of reaching the App Of The Day recommendations, and many stores offer great advertising discounts and promotions
- No more geo-restrictions; a developer can now get their app to any user in any country
- Additional revenue streams
For the User:
- An alternative platform for downloading, one that may not require any credit card or personal details to be stored
- In some cases, apps may be cheaper or free
- Many alternatives offer tweaked and modified apps, unlocked games, and lots of other unofficial content for free
- A greater choice of apps and games
So, you know why you should use one, let’s look at some of the best.
Top 10 Alternative iOS App Stores
Lots of iOS users have never considered using alternative app stores before, but the jailbreakers among them have long been used to having another option. The ten alternative app stores discussed below offer users and developers alike another route for publishing and downloading apps and games.
In no particular order:
In 2004, IIja Laurs developed an independent app store, designed for developers to test beta apps. Now, backed by Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management, GetJar has nearly a million apps for users to download. All the apps are categorized so you can easily find what you are looking for, and there is a great choice of modified apps and games too.
AppValley is one of the top-rated free alternative iOS app stores. It’s been around for a while and was originally released to target those who could no longer jailbreak. Now it can be used by any iOS user and offers a huge choice of modified apps, tweaked stock apps, emulators, unlocked games, streaming apps, and more, all for free. Developers can easily submit their apps and reach a much wider audience.
Celebrating nearly a decade in existence, AppZoom is a popular platform for testing apps and has seen thousands of them over the years. The developers are constantly improving the user experience, and every app that gets submitted is virus-scanned and checked for exploits before they can go to the store. Users can download apps securely and safely, and over 4 million people use the app store every month as well as thousands of apps, there are plenty of user reviews and more than 25000 developers on hand to help out.
Appl and offers developers an excellent alternative for pushing apps to international markets, such as Mexico, the USA, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh, and many more. It’s a great platform for developers to set up their own subscription clubs and app stores, but the distribution and revenue model is still being worked on. That said, customer support is on the ball and quickly deal with questions and problems as they arise.
Similar to AppValley, TutuApp is another app store released as a Cydia alternative. Now it is open to all users and is packed with unofficial apps and games, tweaks, modifications, and much more, all free and easy to download. Developers benefit from easy app submission and the option of several payment methods.
- Opera Mobile Store
A cross-platform app store, the Opera Mobile Store, was born in 2011, following the huge success of Opera Mobile. With more than 170,000 apps on offer, iOS users get a great choice of paid and free apps and games. More than 100,000 people visit the store every month, and 7500 devices are compatible, giving developers a fantastic chance to widen their audience, reach more people, and increase their profits.
- Panda Helper
Panda Helper is an incredibly popular iOS app store. Like TutuApp and AppValley, it offers a great choice of tweaked and modified apps, games, and other tweaks for free. If you want faster downloads, more content choice, an ad-free experience, and more, you have the option of upgrading to a VIP account. Panda Helper offers unlocked games, tweaks, modified apps, game emulators, and much more, with some of the popular downloads being Instagram++, WhatsApp++, YouTube++, Minecraft PE, and Last Day on Earth.
NexVa is another cross-platform app store, offering a decent choice of apps for mobile users. Each app provides an app rating, screenshots, an app description, app reviews, and informs you of supported platforms. For the developer, OEM, or mobile operator, there are tons of white label products on offer and is a platform used with affiliates to drive traffic through CPI and advertising.
CokerNutX is packed with over a million apps and games, none of which you will find for free in the iOS app store. It is easy to install and offers modified ++ apps, such as WhatsApp++, Instagram++, Spotify++, and more, lots of unlocked games with new features, game emulators, and much more. You can even use CokerNutX to jailbreak your iPhone or iPad safely. The developers put everything into categories, making it easier for you to find what you want, and you can choose apps and games from a Trending Now list.
Last, but by no means least, we have AppCake. This isn’t a straightforward iOS app store; instead, you get to download unsigned IPA files for apps and games that Apple won’t allow into the store. When you download one of these apps, an enterprise certificate is used to sign it and install it. Not only do you get to choose from thousands of IPA files already included in the store, but you can also download IPA files off the internet and use AppCake to sign and install them. Everything is completely free to download and use.
There you have it; 10 of the very best alternative iOS app stores. This is by no means an exhaustive list as there are hundreds more of these stores. We chose a mixture of cross-platform and iOS only stores, some of which are completely free to use and others offering an alternative app store with both paid and free apps. They all have one thing in common – a huge choice of content, much of which cannot be downloaded from an official source.
Many apps in the iOS app store are geo-restricted, which means some users are unable to download them. All of these app stores get around that, offering all apps to all users. They provide developers with an alternative market, another revenue stream, better app promotion, and cheaper (free in many cases) app submission.
So, whether you are an iPhone or iPad user or an app developer, any one of these stores will give you a great alternative to the iOS app store. Every one of them is well worth a look, and they are all easy to use. Give them a go, let us know what you think and which one you opt to use.