The iOS app store is packed with cool apps and games, nearly 2 million of them, and, given the popularity of Apple’s devices, its no surprise its such a popular store. You can download pretty much anything you want, any type of app, any game you can think of to play. However, not all of them are free; in fact, some are quite pricey and many of the free ones have in-app purchases that can soon add up if you fall into temptation.
The thing is it isn’t just the end-user who finds it a struggle; the developers do too. Apple has some pretty strict rules on what they can and can’t do and many times, a developer will have to try several times to get their app into the store. If that weren’t bad enough, as developers, it costs them $99 a year in developers’ fees to Apple.
Many apps in the store are geo-restricted, meaning the developers have a much smaller audience and less of an income stream. And, if that weren’t bad enough, they face so much competition that getting their app onto the Daily App or Recommended lists is next to impossible and the advertising model leaves a lot to be desired.
There is always a light at the end of the tunnel though and, in this case, there are ten of them. We’re talking about alternative app stores that have been growing in popularity in recent months. Developers and users alike now have a much wider choice of app stores and some of them offer nothing but unofficial, tweaked content for free.
What Do You Gain From Using an Alternative App Store?
Things that the official app store doesn’t offer, whether you are a developer or an end-user looking for games or apps to download. These app stores offer an alternative option for developers to upload their apps, a much wider audience, and alternative income streams. And they can submit their apps for free in many stores and, in others, at a much-reduced price. App promotion and advertising are much better too, with less competition and more chance of getting their apps seen.
For the end-user, many apps no longer have the geo-restrictions, meaning they can download apps they simply can’t get from the official store. Some stores off premium apps free, others offer nothing but unofficial, tweaked content, including modified apps, games, and tweaks.
Right now, Apple has plenty of competition and may no longer be the most popular iOS app store. Shortly, we’ll be telling you about some of those app stores but first, the advantages.
The Advantages of Using an Alternative Store
These alternative app stores offer a ton of benefits that you really can’t afford to miss out on, whether you a developer or an end-user:
For the Developer:
- App submission fees are either much cheaper or, in some cases, free
- Significant discounts are available for advertising and much better promotion models. Developers now find they can get their apps out there, on the Recommended lists, for all to see
- Much wider audience, picking up customers that may never have used the official store. Plus, with geo-restrictions out of the window, developers can get their apps to any user, regardless of where they are in the world
- Much better potential for more revenue streams
For the End-User:
- More choice of where to download their apps and games from and many don’t require you to log your credit card details with them
- Some app stores don’t charge a single penny for their apps and games
- Some offer tweaked and modified content only, including apps with extra features and unlocked games
- No more geo-restrictions so more people can now get apps they couldn’t get before.
Let’s see ten of the very best alternative app stores:
Top 10 Alternative iOS App Stores
Many iOS users would never even consider using an alternative app store, mostly because they don’t know they exist. And some believe that you have to jailbreak to use these stores and are not prepared to do that. None of these stores require you to jailbreak your device, all of them are legal and safe to use, and they all offer developers and users with a great new app store experience.
We’ve broken these down into two sections – apps stores that offer only unofficial apps and those that offer a similar experience to the official store:
App Stores Offering a Similar Experience to the iOS App Store
Developed in 2004 by IIja Laurs, GetJar was one of the early independent app stores, offering developers a way of testing beta versions of their apps. Now, with backing from Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners, GetJar offers almost a million apps, ready for download right now. The developer even put all the apps into useful categories, helping you find what you want easily, The app store also offers a decent choice of tweaked games and apps. You can download emulators like GBA4iOS from here.
AppZoom has been around for almost 10 years and is one of the most popular app testing platforms, Over the years, thousands of apps have found their way to the store and that number continues to grow. Frequent updates ensure the app experience is always improving and all apps are put through a stringent virus-scanner and checked over to make sure they have no exploits before they can be put into the store. That way, developers know their apps are safe and end-users know that they can download apps without putting their data and device at risk. The store is used by more than 4 million people every month and, along with thousands of apps to download, users can also take advantage of thousands of user reviews and a huge team of developers on hand to deal with any problems or questions.
AppLand provides developers with the perfect platform to get their apps onto international markets that they may not have been able to reach before, including Bangladesh, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, the USA, and lots more. Developers can also use the platform for setting up app stores and subscription clubs of their own, although, right now, the revenue and app distribution model still needs some work. It is a popular store though, and their customer support is second to none.
4- Opera Mobile Store
Opera Mobile Store came into being in 2011, hot on the heels of the success of Opera Mobile. The store is a cross-platform store and offers more than 170,000 apps and games. For the iOS user, there is a huge choice, both paid and free and, with more than 100,000 monthly visitors and over 7500 devices supported, it is proving very popular and also gives developers another avenue for reaching people with their apps and another revenue model.
The second of our cross-platform stores, NexVa offers the end-user a great choice of apps and games, each with a series of screenshots, app ratings, a description, reviews, and what platforms are supported. Where this app store really shines though, is in what it offers the developer. There are plenty of white label products, and the developers can use the store with affiliates to drive much-needed traffic using advertising and CPI models.
App Stores Offering Only Unofficial Content
One of the most popular unofficial app stores, AppValley was one of the first unofficial app stores to be launched. Originally, it came out as an alternative to jailbreaking, providing users with the unofficial content they wanted. Now it’s used by millions of iOS users just as an alternative to the official store. Inside, it is packed with unofficial, tweaked and modified apps and unlocked games, stock apps with extra features, game emulators, streaming apps, screen recorders, and much more for free. For the developer, app submission is dead simple. You can also download Torrent clients from this app.
TutuApp was the original unofficial app store and was once only available via Cydia, the jailbreak app store. When Cydia began dropping away, the developers pulled their store, tweaked it, and made it available to all iOS users. It offers a huge choice of modified apps, tweaked and unlocked games, tweaks, and a whole lot more, and it’s all free. Developers get an easy way to submit their apps and multiple payment methods to choose from.
3- Panda Helper
Panda Helper has proven itself as a popular alternative to the official store, offering modified, tweaked apps and games, emulators, and much more. Where it differs from others is that you have a choice of a free or VIP paid store. The paid option offers more content, no ads, faster downloads, and much more. Here, you can also download many of the most popular ++ apps, screen recorders, and movie and music streaming apps. You can download emulators like NDS4iOS from here.
CokerNutX offers more than a million games and apps, many of which are modified or tweaked and none of which can be found in the official store. Everything is free to download and use and you can even safely download a couple of jailbreaks too.
Our last store is AppCake, something a little different. This one offers unsigned IPA files that Apple will not sign, and is an easy way of getting unofficial apps onto your device. There are a lot of files already included in the app store but you can also download them from the web and load them using the store.
Try these alternatives today and see what you think of them and what they have to offer.