App sideloading might be coming to iPhone users in the EU in the first half of 2024
Apple will reportedlyintroduce app sideloading for iPhone users in the EU in the first half of 2024.
In his latest Power On newsletter, Mark Gurman of Bloomberg claims Apple will roll out a "highly controlled system" for iPhone users in the EU to download and install apps hosted outside of its App Store.
This system could come with certain security requirements to authenticate apps from third-party stores and potentially charge a fee according to a December 2022 report by Gurman.
Besides opening up to third-party app stores and sideloading on iOS, Gurman says the Messages and payment apps will also be modified to meet the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA).
The DMA enacts "rules for digital gatekeepers to ensure open markets", which means Apple has to open up its services and platforms to third parties. Tech companies have to comply with the DMA by 6 March 2024 and Apple is believed to havea localised iOS 17 updateready by this deadline.
Apple has been very vocal about its stance against app sideloading on its devices. The company published a whitepaper in October 2021 on the risks of app sideloading, and how its current implementation is in the best interests of users and the platform.
This is particularly true given the recent spate of scamming incidents that often involve Android users. These users are often tricked into installing malicious third-party apps that steal their accounts and passwords.
This doesn't affect iPhone users as much because you can't install third-party apps if they aren't on the App Store. And every app on the App Store has been screened by Apple for malware, and reviewed by moderators for quality and accuracy. Although the thoroughness of this screening process has been criticized at times, but insofar as security is concerned, it beats thelaissez-fairenature of the Android ecosystem.
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