Alternative app stores for iOS and Android
Did you know that exist alternative app stores for iOS and Android and you can find and download an application not only on the App Store or Google Play Market? Perhaps this will come as a surprise to some, but really - these two markets, despite their popularity, are not the only sources of games and apps for mobile phones. Of course, if you are the owner of Samsung or, for example, Huawei, your acquaintance with alternative app stores is much closer than you might like.
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A bit of history
As we wrote in the article about the evolution of the app stores, Google announced the opening of the online platform for applications based on Android - Android Market on October 22, 2008, just a little behind the App Store, which celebrates its birthday starting July 10, 2008. Having gone through certain stages of formation and development (change of names, new rules, and procedures within the market), these two giants have now practically monopolized the market and ended 2021 with the following indicators:
And that is just in the US market. You can easily view indicators and statistics for each market and country in the Store Insights tab from ASOMobile.
The general popularity of these two markets determined the interests of users. We visit the Google Play Market in order to find the right application, knowing that it is safe, our purchases go through a reliable security system and the developers are also, to some extent, verified by the market. The App Store provides a similar trusted source with the widest selection of games and apps, cool editorial selections, the latest trends, and customer-focused service.
From the point of view of users, everything is pretty obvious, but let's look at the market from the developer's point of view. To promote and popularize your application, it is worth considering not only what is obvious and lies on the surface. After all, it only makes the first impression that the App Store and Google Play are “the only possibility”, but this is not at all the case and let's see why.
The reasons to choose the alternative?
Why choose alternative markets?
- Low competition. On little-known sites the number of published applications is many times fewer, but let's be fair - there are also fewer users.
- Various income distribution systems. It wouldn't be true if we were to say that every alternative app store can offer the same lucrative revenue sharing model as the Google Play Store or the App Store. But third-party app stores pay for downloads and often offer better deals than the two popular app stores.
- Featuring. Store alternatives can offer apps a desirable place in the list of recommended apps that don't make it into the top 10 charts, like Google Play.
- Promotion and advertising from the side of the store. Alternative marketplaces can better promote your app by showing it as App of the Day or by offering developer discounts on ads.
- Geography. If we are talking about the Chinese market, then local stores are an important market share. After all, the same Google Play Market does not work there.
But what about users? Why do they choose alternative markets?
- Possibility of choice. Of course, it is good when there is a proven market with safe and diverse options for games and applications. But you must admit, having the right to choose is always nice.
- Free and unique. There are many other alternative app stores out there that may not have such a huge collection of apps, but they do have unique features worth looking out for. They even let you download various apps that traditional stores do not offer. Not only that, sometimes third-party stores offer apps for free, while on traditional sites they are in the paid category.
- Local applications. If you, as a user, are interested in a product that is more focused on the local market, alternative markets will perfectly cope with this task.
Google Play Market Alternatives
Google follows an open app market approach, android app owners can use this policy to their advantage by submitting their app to the following best android app store alternatives.
Well, for the user, do not forget that installing applications from any source other than Google Play is blocked by default. The first thing you need to do is enable app installation from unverified sources, then enjoy the ability to install apps (or APKs) outside of the Google Play Market.
Amazon App Store
It will come as a surprise to many that this e-commerce giant also has an app store, which is a great alternative to the Google Play Store.
Released on March 22, 2011, the Amazon App Store offers many free and paid apps, as well as exclusive gaming apps with a simple and intuitive interface. In fact, the Amazon app store even offers its own currency system for game purchases and in-app purchases, making it the perfect alternative to the Google Play store.
SlideMe is an American alternative mobile app store for Android, first launched in 2008 as a marketplace focused on different types of audience preferences. It quickly became famous as the second-best alternative to the Google Play Market app store.
The priority of this platform is the security of applications for users - all apps are scanned for viruses and are moderated by editors.
In addition to hosting many mobile games, web apps, and even videos for free, 1Mobile makes it very easy to find the apps you need. For developers, this is a great opportunity to test beta versions and free versions of paid apps in this Play Store alternative.
In addition to the security of applications for users, there are also bonuses for developers - their own built-in app promotion system, which helps to set everything up on their own with tips and recommendations.
It is one of the first Android app store alternatives to host 4 and 5 star rated apps. As an independent open-source platform, as an alternative to the Play Store Aptoide allows its users to find various Android apps with categories such as Top Downloads recommended by Aptoide, utility apps with separate categories. This makes it easier for end-users to search for apps by category and offers app owners a more customizable recommendation system.
The platform was founded in 2009 in collaboration with AppTornado from Zurich. AppBrain is one of the most trusted alternatives to Android app stores. This app store uses a very transparent app promotion model, offering cost per install (CPI), not incent user traffic and fraud detection algorithms.
Another great example of alternative app marketplaces for Android devices is 9Apps.
The store allows you to download free apps and games for Android. The principle is the same as the Play Market - the best recommendations of applications, a wide range of categories, multilingual and convenient search.
You can install 9Apps from the official website.
Samsung Galaxy Apps
Smartphone maker Samsung has overlooked a niche like an app store. It is geared towards device owners. Compared to other app stores, Samsung Galaxy Apps has a relatively small number of apps, but this can be used to spread the app. Plus, this is a pre-installed application on all devices that uses protection. Even if you have the Google Play Market on your phone, the device will offer updates for current applications (such as Themes, Gallery, Photo Editor) from the Samsung Galaxy Store.
ACMarket was designed specifically for hacked or modified applications. It is one of the largest unofficial stores with over 15,000 apps. Because this app store is constantly evolving and making improvements, it provides new updates frequently.
This is not a complete list of alternative sources for installing Android applications. Below we have prepared for you a list of cross-platform stores that you can also pay attention to.
Best Apple App Store Alternatives
The monopoly of the App Store for iPhone owners seems unconditional, but in fact, there are more options than it seems at first glance. After all, alternative stores for iOS exist and can benefit your application.
Since on iOS, unlike Android, downloading and launching third-party applications bypassing the App Store is prohibited, alternative stores can only work on devices with a jailbreak (cracked operating system). This of course narrows the audience to those who can perform this difficult procedure.
We have prepared for you a list of alternative sites where you can publish your application or game based on iOS and install it without jailbreak (or with it).
Builds.io is a website that allows you to install iOS apps on your device directly from your browser (Safari).
The site was founded in 2013 and it is a website for hosting applications with less strict rules than the official store. The content policy of Builds.io is very loyal to indie developers, but at the same time monitors the security of the offered applications.
Cydia is the ability to install third-party apps on your iPhone, although you need to start by jailbreaking your device to get started.
The Cydia App Store launched back in 2008 - it was the first iPhone app store to offer apps, months before Apple had its own App Store. Since then, Cydia has served as a repository for jailbroken iPhone and iPad apps, making it easy to install unauthorized software on compatible devices.
At the end of 2020, Cydia joins a growing number of developers accusing Apple of anti-competitive behavior.
AppCake is another popular App Store alternative. You can easily download any unsigned IPA files to your iOS device. AppCake is a great place for those with a jailbreak, as it is a decent alternative to the App Store and has an App Store-like user interface. It can be installed on devices from iOS 9 to iOS 13. In addition, AppCake provides apps and games that can be run on the device without being hacked.
The TweakBox store offers modified versions of applications bypassing the App Store. It has Facebook, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram, and other products with added or changed functionality. All applications are absolutely free.
An alternative for third-party iOS apps. AppEven is an app store that helps users download modified apps and modified games that are not available on the App Store. The main advantage of this site is that it does not require a jailbreak on the iPhone to work, except for this:
- No Apple ID required
- Ability to install paid applications for free.
- Easy to use.
- Easy to install.
- Supports all versions of iOS.
Universal mobile app platforms for iOS, Android and more.
Appland is an alternative to the iOS app store. The company was founded in 2011 with the main goal of creating an app store platform for any device.
As you can see, this is a one-stop platform for apps for devices based on Android, iOS, Windows, and others.
Developers are offered a wide range of plans for monetizing applications, ready-made materials and content, statistics and analytics of user behavior, training, and much more.
Offers three types of access:
- iOS VIP
- iOS Free
- Android free
TutuApp for iOS platform allows you to download unlimited tweaks, apps ++, mods, and hacked games without jailbreak.
TutuApp boasts over 300 million users and multi-language support. The iOS and Android app store alternatives include a consistent SDK, a simple app submission process, and support for multiple payment methods.
AppValley joins a long and growing list of third-party app install sites. With tons of iOS apps, modified and changed apps and games, Cydia tweaks, and more, AppValley supports both Android and iOS and is completely free to use. AppValley provides its users with one of the largest collections of free content, as well as modified and unofficial content for iOS devices such as iPhone and iPad.
GetJar is an independent mobile app store founded in Lithuania in 2004.
GetJar was launched by developers for developers in 2004 as an application beta testing platform. Subsequently, it became the first and largest free open application market in early 2005. Thus, we can say that GetJar is a pioneer in the distribution of mobile applications.
GetJar supports the widest range of different platforms (Android, Java, Symbian, Blackberry, iOS) and many manufacturers - Samsung, HTC, Huawei, Nexus.
HipStore has first launched a couple of years ago and has been a leader in the App Store alternatives market ever since. HipStore offers a wide collection of iOS apps. Feature - free download of applications in this store, the presence of internal currency (gems) for purchases, tracking the interaction of users and applications.
As a result of the development of this platform, it became possible to install applications for Android.
Appszoom is another app store that is almost ten years old and is known to test thousands of apps every year and provide improved UX (user experience) by ensuring that apps are protected from various types of malware. In terms of statistics, the cross-platform app store alternative has over 4 million monthly active users on its platform, a community of over 25k iOS and Android app developers, and thousands of app reviews.
Opera Mobile Store
A cross-platform mobile app store calls Bemobi is directly linked to Yandex and therefore has the widest representation on the Russian market. That is why presenting your application to such a large segment of users is the dream of any developer. But the Opera Mobile Store takes 30% of any sales, so it is worth considering - a wide audience, install opportunities, and store commission on the other hand.
Another one in the list is a multi-platform app store that specializes in working with affiliates to drive traffic through CPI and advertising methods. Each mobile app mentioned in this platform contains information such as ratings, screenshots, app descriptions and reviews. This store contains both paid and free applications.
So why use alternative app stores?
Of course, there are some nuances and pitfalls, but most of the sites presented do not pursue the goal of competing with Google Play or the App Store. Most likely, we can say that they follow different approaches (both for the user and for the developer) and are focused on different niches. Let's face it, alternative app stores offer pay-per-downloads and can often offer better deals than the App Store and Google Play.
Are alternatives realistic and profitable? Well, there is no single right answer to this question, and we recommend considering the pros and cons - not to avoid opportunities, but to remember about safety.
What to watch out for - software that can harm your device. Security protocols vary greatly from one site to another and it is worth paying attention to the user experience. Some stores may host illegal versions of programs, games, or applications.
While this can take a long time, we recommend that you carefully read the terms and conditions of any third-party app stores you plan to use.