Apple May Allow Sideloading of Apps in EU Member Countries
In a surprising shift of stance, tech giant Apple has hinted at the possibility of allowing iPhone users to sideload apps from third-party app stores. This move comes in response to the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which suggests that mobile users should have the freedom to install apps from alternative sources.
For years, Apple has staunchly opposed the idea of sideloading, citing concerns over user security and the potential for malware. They argue that by solely relying on their own vetting process within the App Store, they can provide a secure environment for their users. Furthermore, Apple has also been determined to prevent developers from circumventing the “Apple Tax” by listing their apps on third-party stores, which would allow them to avoid the 30% commission Apple charges for in-app purchases.
However, according to Bloomberg’s esteemed tech journalist Mark Gurman, the upcoming iOS 17.2 update could bring about a change in Apple’s stance. Sources claim that internal codes found within the beta version of iOS 17.2 hint at a new feature that would grant third-party apps the ability to install other apps.
If this proves to be true, it could potentially pave the way for developers to create their own third-party iOS app storefronts, giving users a wider range of options when it comes to downloading and discovering apps. Notably, the code also includes a region lock, which would restrict sideloading to specific countries as required by the DMA.
Apple’s decision to limit sideloading to EU member countries raises questions about the company’s rationale behind this regional distinction. Some experts believe that Apple is only testing the waters in a controlled environment before fully implementing sideloading worldwide. Others suggest that it could be a strategic move to appease EU regulators while keeping tighter control over app distribution in other regions.
While sideloading remains a contentious issue, with supporters advocating for greater freedom and critics expressing concerns about potential risks, Apple’s potential move towards accommodating this feature in EU countries demonstrates the company’s willingness to adapt to regional regulations. As the debate continues, all eyes are now on Apple as they navigate this delicate balance between user security, developer interests, and regulatory compliance.