Apple's refusing to launch Apple Intelligence in the EU — here's why

Apple Intelligence
(Image credit: Apple)

Bad news for citizens of the European Union, as Apple may not be introducing Apple Intelligence to the region when it goes live later this year.

In a statement given to outlets including the Wall Street Journal, Apple confirmed that its new AI services, featuring enhanced text and image editing, a reworked Siri digital assistant and more, would likely not get certain features due to the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) regulations.

The blocked features may include not only Apple Intelligence, but also iPhone Mirroring and SharePlay Screen Sharing, announced as part of iOS 18 and macOS Sequoia. But it's unclear right now why these would fall foul of the EU's rules.

Apple’s statement said that following the DMA’s guidance when introducing its new software "could force us to compromise the integrity of our products in ways that risk user privacy and data security." It later said that "we are highly motivated to make these technologies accessible to all users," Apple added, with discussions with the EU apparently already underway to find a way past the impasse.

In response, the European Commission (the EU's executive branch) said that Apple and others like it “are welcome to offer their services in Europe, provided that they comply with our rules aimed at ensuring fair competition.”

AI: Astronomical Implications

The DMA is meant to be a user-focused, pro-competition law that stops tech companies, in particular Apple and five other large "gatekeeper" firms, from abusing their power to lock their customers into particular pieces of hardware or software. It's a major reason, if not the main one, that Apple added a USB-C charging port to the iPhone 15 series last year, and why iPhones in the EU can now download apps from outside of the App Store.

Apple has already publicly stated that it has security concerns with having to keep its systems open in this way. Its behavior since the DMA went into effect earlier this year has resulted in it being investigated for not complying with the E.U.'s rules.

As the current AI wave wasn't really a thing during the drafting of the DMA, perhaps this will prompt the E.U. to amend its laws to make sure Europeans can keep using the latest features like everywhere else in the world. Equally, it could stick to its guns, which will cause problems for Apple in one of its key markets.

We should see Apple Intelligence arrive this fall, but only for certain devices and only when set to American English. So there may not have been versions of Apple's new AI features ready for French, German, Spanish etc. speakers ready for launch even if the DMA wasn't in place. But locking out other non-AI features would be a real shame, so fingers crossed that a solution can be found for our European readers’ sake.

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Richard Priday
Assistant Phones Editor

Richard is based in London, covering news, reviews and how-tos for phones, tablets, gaming, and whatever else people need advice on. Following on from his MA in Magazine Journalism at the University of Sheffield, he's also written for WIRED U.K., The Register and Creative Bloq. When not at work, he's likely thinking about how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee.