Fortnite ban: Can iPhone and Android players still play game despite it being kicked out of app stores?

Fallout between huge companies has left players without the ability to get one of the biggest games in the world

Andrew Griffin
Friday 14 August 2020 09:34
Epic Games troll Apple with 1984 mock advert #freefortnite

Fortnite has been removed from both the iPhone and Android app stores, leaving players without the easiest and safest way of getting hold of it.

But it is still possible to play the game, even on the more locked-down iOS operating system, even if it is not possible to download it.

On Android, it is still relatively easy to download it, too, though that requires going outside of the Google Play Store.

The current problems began when Fortnite developers Epic Games added the option to circumvent Apple and Google's payment systems, which take a 30 per cent cut of any transaction made in an app from their App Store. As soon as that arrived, the app was removed from the phone app stores – with Apple going first, quickly followed by Google.

It has led to a standoff that has brought with it lawsuits, parody videos of Apple's famous ads, and the suggestion that Google is failing to keep to its famous and now largely abandoned maxim of "don't be evil".

But it has also meant that players – who have had no input or role in any of the fallout, and may have no interest in the clash between the huge companies at all – being left without the ability to get hold of the game.

On iPhone, the problem is basically insurmountable. Apple's App Store is the only legitimate way to get games onto the iPhone, and there is no legal, reliable or easy way to get around that.

But it is notably still possible to play the game, if it is already on the device – the Apple ruling only stops people acquiring it, not playing it if they already have it. Any existing installs of the game should work as normal.

It also does not stop players who have already downloaded the game and then deleted it, or acquired it on another device, downloading it. That can be done by heading to the option for "Purchased" apps within the App Store, finding the Fortnite listing, and clicking to download.

On Google, the problems are less of an issue. Because Android is a more open operating system, it is possible to get apps onto phones from other sources – Fortnite can still be downloaded from Epic's own website, for instance, and it is still on the Samsung app store that comes with that company's phones.

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