How iOS Geographically Restricts New Features

Adam Demasi:

In iOS 17.4, Apple introduced a new system called eligibilityd. This works with countryd (which you might have heard about when it first appeared in iOS 16.2) and the Apple ID system to decide where you physically are. The idea is that multiple sources need to agree on where you are, before giving you access to features such as those mandated by the Digital Markets Act.

I cannot remember a time when Apple so aggressively restricted system features by geography. Most often, options show up if you change the device region in Settings; that is how Apple News can be accessed outside regions where it is officially available. But someone accessing News is only positive for Apple. There are other things locked by geography, like like Apple Cash, which only works with U.S. banking information, and special obligations to China which are active for devices sold only there. Those are legal obligations which someone either deeply tied to systems in a particular country — in the case of the former — or something people likely would not want.

The DMA features, on the other hand, are probably something a lot of users would like access to. Perhaps not a majority of iPhone owners, but a lot of them. Engineers at Apple have worked very hard to make a lot of features, and also to prevent them from being used. Clearly, these are features Apple did not want to make at all, but it is notable how much effort it is making to lock them down.