The Apple app store offers users a great choice of apps and games, more than 2 million of them to be precise. Pretty much anything you want is there, plenty of free apps and games and lots of premium ones too. The thing is, they aren’t the only choice iOS users have. These days, there are loads of alternative app stores. They may not have the same number of apps that the official store has, but they opted for quality rather than quantity and offered what you can’t get in official sources.
Shortly, we’ll be looking at 10 of these alternative stores, but first, a look at why you would want to bother.
Why Use an Alternative App Store?
Whether you are a developer or an app user, alternative app stores offer something for everyone. For the developer, they are another platform to get their apps onto, a bigger audience, and, in some cases, an additional revenue stream, not to mention cheaper or even free app submissions. For the iPhone or iPad user, they offer a way of getting apps and games without lodging credit card details with Apple and, in many cases, what they offer is completely free.
Some alternative app stores offer modified versions of stock apps, premium apps, and unlocked games for free; others offer apps for those who can’t get them from any other place because of geo-restrictions. Either way, these alternatives are putting up some serious competition to the official app store, and all of them are worth a look.
The Advantages of Alternative App Stores
The advantages of using an alternative app store for developers and app users are many:
Now that you know why you should look at alternative iOS app stores, let’s look at ten of the very best.
Top 10 Alternative iOS App Stores
Many iOS users believe that they can only get their apps for the official app store, but we’re here to put you right. The alternative app stores below offer much more in terms of quality than the official store and are a great option for developers and users alike.
In no particular order:
GetJar was developed by Ilja Laurs in 2004 as an independent app store that was originally for developers to test their apps on. Now it has almost a million apps available for download and is backed by two major investors – Tiger Global Management and Accel Partners.
Apps are sorted into categories such as social media, games, entertainment, education, and so on; you can easily find what you want to download, and there are plenty of hacked apps and games to choose from too.
Appland is the ideal alternative app store for developers who want to target those in international markets with their apps, such as Cambodia, Iran, Iraq, Bangladesh, Mexico, USA, Indonesia, and many more. It’s more of a platform for developers to launch app stores or subscription clubs of their own, but it doesn’t have the best revenue and distribution model, at least not yet. However, support is incredibly responsive, dealing with any questions or issues you have quickly, and they are still improving.
The first of the completely free app stores, TweakBox, was first released as an alternative to Cydia but is now open to any iPhone or iPad user. With more than 300 million active users and support for several languages, TweakBox is packed with premium, and free official apps, lots of modified apps, and unlocked games and a few Cydia tweaks too. For developers, it offers an easy process for submitting apps and multiple payment methods.
Similar to TweakBox, Ignition was also a Cydia alternative that anyone can use. It has a huge choice of free apps and games, including modified stock apps, ++ apps, unlocked games, game emulators, streaming apps, and much more besides. It is incredibly easy to download and offers an easy app submission service for developers too.
Opera Mobile Store
Opera Mobile is more than 20 years old now and has been so successful that, in 2011, the Opera Mobile Store was released. It works on multiple platforms and offers more than 170,000 mobile apps. Every month, over 100,000 people visit the store, and it is compatible with around 7500 devices. Not only does it offer an excellent choice of free and paid apps for users, but it also offers developers the chance to broaden their reach.
Another app store that supports multiple platforms, NexVa offers lots of different white label products for businesses, OEMs, and mobile operators. It tends to be used in conjunction with affiliates as a way of driving traffic through advertising and CPI. For the iPhone and iPad users, there is a wide choice of mobile applications, and, as a bonus, each one shows you app ratings, descriptions, screenshots, reviews, and tells you which platforms are supported.
AppZoom is almost ten years old and, over the years, has tested thousands of apps every year. The user experience is constantly being improved, and all apps are subject to a virus scan and exploit check before they are allowed into the store. All downloads are protected from malware and viruses, making it a safe place to download apps and games. More than 4 million people use AppZoom every month, and it is backed by a community of more than 25,000 developers and thousands of reviews on the apps and games.
Panda Helper is one of the most popular third-party app stores for iOS users. There are two versions of the app store, a free one that offers thousands of unofficial, free apps and games, and a VIP version that offers more content, faster downloads, no ads, and much more, all for one small fee. Panda Helper is home to some of the most popular ++ apps, like YouTube++, Instagram++, WhatsApp++, along with game emulators, and unlocked games for free.
Another free app store, CokerNutX, offers users more than a million unofficial apps and games and is dead simple to install on an iPhone or iPad. Here you can find ++ apps, like YouTube ++ and Facebook++, games with unlocked features and in-app bonuses, all free, Cydia tweaks, like emulators, screen recorders, and streaming apps, and even a couple of the more popular jailbreaks. Content is categorized for easy searching, and you can even browse through lists of trending apps.
Our final iOS app store alternative is a little different. Rather than downloading straightforward apps as most stores do, AppCake is packed with unsigned unofficial IPA files. Simply choose the one you want, and it will be signed using an enterprise certificate and installed on your device. There are thousands of files to choose from, and AppCake also gives you the option of downloading your own IPA files from the internet and installing those too. Originally, AppCake was a jailbreak-only app, but a recent update has put it in reach of any iPhone or iPad user who wants a better choice of apps and games.
These are just 10 of the alternative app stores available for iOS users to take advantage of. There is a mixture here; some work on all mobile and desktop platforms, while some are iOS only. Some offer a free and paid app store experience, while others are completely free. What they all have in common is that they offer content that can’t always be found in other places.
For example, lots of apps are geo-restricted, which means they can only be used in certain countries or regions. These app stores offer developers a way of getting their apps to those markets, thus broadening their own reach while providing users with content they can’t get from another store. Lots of these stores offer unofficial content, apps, and games modified with extra features that are not allowed into the official app store.
Whether you are a developer or an iPhone or iPad user, these app stores offer you the best alternatives to the official store and are all worthy of consideration. Downloading apps is simple, and some of them even offer an easy way to jailbreak your device if you want to.
Have a browse through and tell us which store you opt for. Share this and let others know about all the cool alternatives available for iOS users.