Apple Executive Says Users Who Want App Sideloading Already Have That Option With Other Platforms

Apple earlier today published a detailed report outlining in blatant terms the negative impact that sideloading would have on the iPhone and iPad, specifically calling out the impacts it would have on user privacy and security. Now, the company is continuing its PR push, with an executive noting in an interview that users who wish to sideload apps already have that option thanks to other platforms.

iPhone 12 v Android 2020
Speaking to Fast Company, Apple's head of user privacy, Erik Neuenschwander, said that opening the doors to sideloading apps on ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, which would enable users to download apps from the web and other app marketplaces besides Apple's App Store, could lead users to be "tricked or duped" into "some dark alley."

The executive, who made an appearance at the company's developer conference last year, ultimately said that iOS is not the platform for users who wish to sideload apps, suggesting that those users might want to consider other platforms.

"Sideloading in this case is actually eliminating choice," he says. "Users who want that direct access to applications without any kind of review have sideloading today on other platforms. The iOS platform is the one where users understand that they can't be tricked or duped into some dark alley or side road where they're going to end up with a sideloaded app, even if they didn't intend to."

Currently, apps must go through Apple's rigorous ‌App Store‌ review process, but if sideloading was allowed, apps would be able to bypass the review process. Neuenschwander also said that sideloading apps would leave the user vulnerable to viruses, malware, and more.

"Today, we have our technical defenses, we have our policy defenses, and then we still have the user's own smarts," Neuenschwander says, referring to Apple's App Store processes. Sideloading would negate those defenses, he contends.

"Even users who intend—they've consciously thought themselves that they are only going to download apps from the App Store—well, the attackers know this, so they're going to try to convince that user that they're downloading an app from the App Store even when that's not happening," Neuenschwander says. "Really, you have to think very creatively, very expansively as an attacker would trying to go after so many users with such rich data on their device. And so users will be attacked regardless of whether or not they intend to navigate app stores other than Apple's."

Unlike the tightly controlled nature of the ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌, users are able to download and run apps from places other than the ‌App Store‌ on macOS. Neuenschwander attempted to draw a clear distinction between iOS and macOS, pointing out that the ‌iPhone‌ is a device that users have all the time, carrying personal information such as their location. He noted that the data on ‌iPhone‌ is "more enticing" to a potential attacker compared to information on the Mac.

"It's the device you carry around with you," Neuenschwander notes. "So it knows your location. And therefore somebody who could attack that would get pattern-of-life details about you. It has a microphone, and therefore that's a microphone that could be around you much more than your Mac's microphone is likely to be. So the kind of sensitive data [on the iPhone] is more enticing to an attacker."

Neuenschwander went on to explain the difference in usage between the ‌iPhone‌ and Mac. According to Neuenschwander, users on Mac tend to only download a few applications needed for their job and not explore other applications. On the contrary, ‌iPhone‌ users are downloading apps continuously, making sideloading more dangerous, according to the executive.

But that's not all. "The pattern of use of the Mac—just the style, how people use that platform—tends to be that they get a few applications that they use to do their job or their hobby, and then it kind of reaches a steady state," Neuenschwander explains. "But what we've all seen is that mobile platforms, including iPhone, are ones where users are downloading apps on a continuing basis. And that gives an attacker more opportunities to get in and get at that user. So the threat on the iOS side is much higher than the threat on the Mac side."

Craig Federighi, Apple's software chief overseeing the development of iOS and macOS, said during his testimony for the Epic Games trail that the level of malware on the Mac is at an unacceptable level, possibly warning that similar levels of malware could make its way to the ‌iPhone‌ if sideloading was enabled.

Top Rated Comments

fenderbass146 Avatar
17 months ago
Yup… been there done that, once I got past my customizing and stealing apps phase the appeal of Android died. I’ll stick with my stable and more secure iOS devices.
Score: 107 Votes (Like | Disagree)
aplnub Avatar
17 months ago
I don't want my iPhone any less secure than it already is. For the tiny sliver of the iPhone user base that feels side loading is important to them, Android is there for you to use.
Score: 67 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Your Royal Highness Avatar
17 months ago
Such bs macOS has been doing fine for years. This is just fear mongering to protect their billion dollar cash cow.
Score: 57 Votes (Like | Disagree)
perezr10 Avatar
17 months ago
I agree with him. If you’re willing to trade security for flexibility, than Android is more for you.

I don’t want Apple to make The iPhone worse to please a noisy minority. And especially not to get the CEO Of Epic another Lamborghini.
Score: 47 Votes (Like | Disagree)
xflashx Avatar
17 months ago
I honestly don’t understand the problem. Why not simply allow sideloading apps if enabled in System settings buried under several popups and warnings about possible consequences when enabling that option? Most people would probably leave the sideloading option disabled and the other ones probably know what they are doing and accept possible consequences or privacy violations.
Score: 36 Votes (Like | Disagree)
cmcbhi Avatar
17 months ago
But, I agree.
If you want to side load, Android is there for you.
Don't let the door hit you.........well, you know.
Score: 35 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

iOS App Store General Feature JoeBlue

U.S. Bills Allowing Sideloading Would Cause Consumers to Be Hit With 'Malware, Ransomware, and Scams,' Says Apple

Tuesday January 18, 2022 11:42 am PST by
U.S. bills that would require major changes to the App Store would ultimately cause consumers to be targeted with malware, ransomware, and scams, Apple's Senior Director of Government Affairs Timothy Powderly said in a letter that was sent today to the Senate Judiciary Committee and that was obtained by MacRumors. Apple sent the letter as the Judiciary Committee prepares to consider the Amer...
iPhone 12 v Android 2020

Apple CEO: 'Buy an Android Phone' If You Want to Avoid the App Store

Wednesday December 8, 2021 2:00 am PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook recently explained the circumstances in which users should purchase an Android phone instead of an iPhone, encouraging users who want to download apps from anywhere on the internet instead of the App Store to "buy an Android phone." Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit last month, Cook explained that sideloading, the practice of downloading and installing...
craig wwdc 2021 privacy

Report Highlights How Top Apple Executives Disagreed Over How Far iOS Anti-Tracking Measures Should Go

Monday March 14, 2022 7:19 am PDT by
A new report has highlighted how three top prominent executives initially found themselves at odds in early deliberations about Apple's App Tracking Transparency framework. According to the report from The Information, the executives who disagreed over how far Apple should go in protecting user privacy in digital advertising included Apple's Craig Federighi, who oversees software...
iOS App Store General Feature Dock

Indie Developer Dogged By Scammy Clone Apps Again Highlights the Holes in Apple's App Store Review Process

Monday February 21, 2022 9:29 am PST by
Apps that copy concepts and features from other apps are nothing new in the ‌App Store‌, but scammy like-for-like clones of genuine apps remain a perennial problem that Apple still hasn't resolved, as indie developer Kevin Archer recently discovered. Archer is responsible for 2Stable's Authenticator App, a feature-rich app that stores and generates secure two-factor authentication tokens...
Mac App Store General Feature

Apple Must Let Dating Apps Offer Alternative Payment Methods in App Store, Dutch Regulator Says

Friday December 24, 2021 9:10 am PST by
Apple must let dating apps like Tinder and Match offer payment methods other than Apple's in-app purchase system in the App Store in the Netherlands, or else it will face fines, the Dutch competition regulator announced today. Specifically, the Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) said Apple will have to pay a penalty of five million euros per week, up to a maximum of 50 million euros,...
timcook

Tim Cook: Users Who Want to Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While the iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security and Privacy'

Tuesday November 9, 2021 8:51 am PST by
Amid a heightened amount of scrutiny and tension surrounding the App Store and how users download and install apps on the iPhone, Apple CEO Tim Cook said today that customers who wish to sideload apps should consider purchasing an Android device as the experience offered by the iPhone maximizes their security and privacy. Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, Cook said that...
powerdir exploit microsoft

Microsoft Discovered New 'Powerdir' macOS Vulnerability, Fixed in 12.1 Update

Monday January 10, 2022 9:17 am PST by
Microsoft's 365 Defender Research Team this morning published details on a new "Powerdir" macOS vulnerability that let an attacker bypass the Transparency, Consent, and Control technology to gain unauthorized access to protected data. Apple already addressed the CVE-2021-30970 vulnerability in the macOS Monterey 12.1 update that was released in December, so users who have updated to the...
Mac App Store General Feature

Apple's Arguments Against Sideloading on iOS: All Your Questions Answered

Thursday November 11, 2021 10:38 am PST by
Sideloading is a fancy word for downloading an app binary from non-official platforms or the open internet and installing it on a device like a normal app. The practice is allowed on Android, granting users the flexibility of downloading apps from official or non-official app stores and the open internet. The iPhone, on the other hand, is a polar opposite. Since the launch of the App Store...

Popular Stories

apple watch ultra deuglify 1

Apple Watch Ultra User Mods Titanium Casing to 'Deuglify' Design

Tuesday September 27, 2022 8:05 am PDT by
An Apple Watch Ultra user has modified their new device's casing to add a brushed finish and remove the orange color of the Action Button in an effort to make it more visually appealing. The Apple Watch Ultra offers the first complete redesign of the Apple Watch since the product line's announcement in 2014, and while the design has been met with praise from many users, some have criticized...
Dark Sky App Featured

Dark Sky Removed From iOS App Store Ahead of Upcoming Shutdown

Wednesday September 28, 2022 4:27 pm PDT by
The Dark Sky weather app that's owned by Apple is no longer available for download in the U.S. App Store, suggesting that it has been removed ahead of schedule. Apple acquired Dark Sky back in March 2020 and has since incorporated elements of the app into the Weather app available on the iPhone (and soon, the iPad). Dark Sky remained available for purchase as a standalone weather app...
iphone 14 pro max vs 13 max 2

Camera Comparison: iPhone 14 Pro Max vs. iPhone 13 Pro Max

Thursday September 29, 2022 7:44 am PDT by
The iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max introduce some major improvements in camera technology, adding a 48-megapixel lens and low-light improvements across all lenses with the new Photonic Engine. We've spent the last week working on an in-depth comparison that pits the new iPhone 14 Pro Max against the prior-generation iPhone 13 Pro Max to see just how much better the iPhone 14 Pro Max can be. Subscrib ...
apple watch ultra hammer test

YouTuber Tests Apple Watch Ultra Durability With a Hammer: Table Breaks Before the Watch

Sunday September 25, 2022 2:27 pm PDT by
A YouTuber has put Apple's claims for the durability of the Apple Watch Ultra to the test by putting it up against a drop test, a jar of nails, and repeated hits with a hammer to test the sapphire crystal protecting the display. TechRax, a channel popular for testing the durability of products, first tested the Apple Watch Ultra by dropping it from around four feet high. The Apple Watch...
tony blevins car

Apple Procurement VP Departs Company After Vulgar TikTok Comment

Thursday September 29, 2022 12:38 pm PDT by
Tony Blevins, Apple's vice president of procurement, is set to depart the company after he made a crude comment about his profession in a recent TikTok video, reports Bloomberg. Blevins was in a video by TikTok creator Daniel Mac, who was doing a series on the jobs of people he spotted with expensive cars. After seeing Blevins in an expensive Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Mac asked Blevins what ...
iPhone 14 Pros in Hand Black Background Feature

Verizon iPhone 14 Pro Customers Reporting Cellular Connection Issues

Monday September 26, 2022 6:23 am PDT by
iPhone 14 Pro customers on the Verizon network in the U.S. are reporting issues with slow and unreliable 5G cellular connections and calls randomly dropping. Several threads on Reddit (1,2,3) and the MacRumors forums chronicle issues faced by Verizon customers and Apple's latest iPhone. According to user reports, signal strength on the iPhone 14 Pro is unreliable and weak, while other...
iPhone 15 to Switch From Lightning to USB C in 2023 feature sans arrow

Kuo: iPhone 14 Pro Max Popularity Could Lead to More Differentiation Between iPhone 15 Pro and iPhone 15 Pro Max

Wednesday September 28, 2022 10:22 am PDT by
Apple has seen high demand for the 6.7-inch iPhone 14 Pro Max, which could lead the company to further differentiate the next-generation iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max, according to Apple analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. Apple could add exclusive features to the iPhone 15 Pro Max in an effort to encourage more people to purchase the larger and more expensive device. Kuo last week said that Apple asked...
iPhone 14 Pro Sports Scores Dynamic Island

iPhone 14 Pro Features Live Sports Scores in Dynamic Island on iOS 16.1

Monday September 26, 2022 7:52 am PDT by
Earlier this month, Apple announced that iOS 16.1 will enable a new Live Activities feature that allows iPhone users to stay on top of things that are happening in real time, such as a sports game or a food delivery order, right from the Lock Screen. On the iPhone 14 Pro and Pro Max, Live Activities also integrate with the Dynamic Island. Premier League match in Dynamic Island via Paul Bradford ...
iOS 16

Everything New in the Latest iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 Betas: Stage Manager Expansion, Wallpaper Tweaks and More

Tuesday September 27, 2022 11:36 am PDT by
Apple today released new betas of iOS 16.1 and iPadOS 16.1 to developers, tweaking some of the functionality that's been introduced in prior betas and in the case of iPadOS 16.1, adding a major new feature to Stage Manager. We've rounded up everything new in both betas below. Wallpaper Updates Apple has updated the Wallpaper section of the Settings app to allow users to swap between...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

Some iOS 16 Users Continue to Face Unaddressed Bugs and Battery Drain Two Weeks After Launch

Monday September 26, 2022 7:34 am PDT by
Today marks exactly two weeks since Apple released iOS 16 to the public. Besides the personalized Lock Screen, major changes in Messages, and new features in Maps, the update has also seen its fair share of bugs, performance problems, battery drain, and more. After major iOS updates, it's normal for some users to report having issues with the new update, but such reports usually subside in...