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

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.

timcook
Speaking at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, Cook said that customers currently already have a choice between wanting a secure and protected platform or an ecosystem that allows for sideloading. "I think that people have that choice today, Andrew. If you want to sideload, you can buy an Android phone." Cook drew the comparison of sideloading to a carmaker selling a car without airbags or seatbelt, saying it would be "too risky."

I think that people have that choice today, Andrew, if you want to sideload, you can buy an Android phone. That choice exists when you go into the carrier shop. If that is important to you, then you should buy an Android phone. From our point of view, it would be like if I were an automobile manufacturer telling [a customer] not to put airbags and seat belts in the car. He would never think about doing this in today's time. It's just too risky to do that. And so it would not be an iPhone if it didn't maximize security and privacy.

Sideloading, which would allow users to download and install apps directly onto their ‌iPhone‌ from the open internet, has become a hot topic in recent months, with Cook now weighing in. Earlier this week, Apple's senior vice president of software engineering, Craig Federighi, said that sideloading is a "cybercriminal's best friend," highlighting the dangers that may be presented to customers if offered the freedom to install apps from anywhere on the web.

In a paper published in October, Apple shared some facts about the security and privacy of the ‌iPhone‌ compared to the Android ecosystem. In the paper, Apple said that studies have shown that Android smartphones have been attacked by mobile malware between 15 and 47 times more than malware targeting the ‌iPhone‌. "This is closely linked to sideloading," the paper added.

Speaking generally on privacy, Cook was questioned on recent reporting revealing that Facebook, Google, Snapchat, and others have lost almost $10 billion in revenue this year due to Apple's App Tracking Transparency prompt, which requires developers to ask for a user's consent before tracking them. Declining to comment on the specific numbers, Cook did repeat that Apple believes privacy is a fundamental human right.

I don't know about the estimates, Andrew, so I can't testify to those kind of numbers, but I think that from our point of view, privacy is a basic human right. And the people that ought to be deciding whether to data share is the person themselves. And so what we have been all about is putting the power with the user. We are not making the decision, we are just simply prompting them to be asked if they want to be tracked across apps or not. And of course, many of them are deciding no and never wanted to be, it's just that they did not have a choice before. And so I feel really good and I'm getting great feedback from users about having the choice.

Apple is in multiple investigations and battles around the world regarding the ‌App Store‌, with the one most likely to produce drastic change being South Korea. Last month, the country passed new rules prohibiting platform owners from limiting developers to using only a single payment method for in-app purchases.

The ‌App Store‌'s in-app purchase method, which developers are required to use for digital purchases made within apps, gives Apple a 15-30% commission on all purchases made. Cook noted today that Apple has only ever lowered the commission, never increasing it. Nonetheless, the new law in South Korea would represent a significant turning point for the ‌App Store‌ if fully enacted. The ‌App Store‌ operates under a single global set of rules, and any change in one jurisdiction is applied globally for all developers.

Top Rated Comments

macsplusmacs Avatar
3 weeks ago
100% agree with him.

100%
Score: 60 Votes (Like | Disagree)
ouimetnick Avatar
3 weeks ago
Automakers did fight against including seatbelts and airbags. Drivers could become entangled in a seatbelt trapped inside of a burning vehicle…

The real reason automakers resisted is because it would increase vehicle production costs.

Similarly with Apple, allowing side loading would put a massive dent in their services revenue. Cook is correct about privacy and security, but there’s more to the story that he’s not going to admit to.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Denzo Avatar
3 weeks ago
Can you imagine having a product, that your company sells, and a whole bunch of people are telling you what you allowed and not allowed to put on it?
Am I allowed to tell LG to use android instead Web OS? Can I ask Samsung to not allow sideloading? Can I ask Toyota to install CarPlay access? WTF is going on here
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
RyanNSkolnick Avatar
3 weeks ago
Objectively true. Some people view their phones like toys, some do real serious work on them and can't afford security risks. I don't care about the ability to side load, I care about the device that has so much of my highly sensitive info on it being as secure as possible. Forcing Apple to allow side loading removes that choice from the market.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
randfee2 Avatar
3 weeks ago
I don't see the validity of this statement, I think it's a cop-out trying to hide the real reason.
Abusing people's desire for security as a false pretend to maximize Apple's profit!

Users who are not sideloading apps on iOS would be just as safe as they are now, how is their safety affected when other users sideload? Exploits of iOS are constantly found anyways, jailbreaks keep happening. Whoever wants to attack non-jailbreakers/sideloaders won't gain much here, at least not in comparison to the gains of the iOS users who want to sideload! If the OS is truly sandboxed well, where is the harm?
These devices (iPhones) are not a connected server cluster, they're individual devices!!!

Quick question: Why would it be unsafe on phones when it's normal for computers?
Take a guess :p iOS basically is a variant of MacOS, they claimed so at least (LOL). Does that mean that they do sub-par security for iOS, maybe get some devs from the MacOS team over to help? LMAO
I can imagine the entire Apple board of directory having dreamt of forbidding software installs on Mac computers just as much as they did on iOS for years now.
In the end, it's just common law. Everybody is used on it on iOS, so most people believe this makes sense and must remain like it is.... think again!

with Phil Schiller's words: "COURAGE!!!"..... c'mon Apple + Apple-Users, how about some courage!

I predict, Apple will lose this argument in court and will have to change their stance on this within the next few years.

____
edit
interesting to see, majority opts for the "courage" option of allowing what has been normal on any computer ever since they were invented.... so Apple, do the same for these pocket computers please!
Score: 22 Votes (Like | Disagree)
keco185 Avatar
3 weeks ago
What about Windows phone? Classic Apple ignoring the competition
Score: 20 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

app store blue banner

Apple CEO Tim Cook: We're Focused on Maintaining Privacy and Security of the App Store

Thursday October 28, 2021 2:54 pm PDT by
Apple CEO Tim Cook was today asked about some of the regulatory issues that Apple is facing with the App Store, and he said that Apple is keeping its focus on privacy and security. Apple is facing potential regulatory changes that would force it to open up the iPhone to other app stores or alternate ways of loading apps on the iPhone. The main thing we're focused on in the App Store is...
app store blue banner

Apple Says iOS is Safer Than Android Because Sideloading Apps Isn't Allowed

Wednesday October 13, 2021 5:00 am PDT by
In response to the European Commission's proposed Digital Markets Act, which could force sideloading of apps on the iPhone in Europe, Apple has shared an in-depth document highlighting the security and privacy risks of sideloading. Sideloading refers to installing apps outside of the App Store, such as from a website or a third-party app store. Apple's document, titled Building a Trusted...
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...
craig federighi web summit

Apple's Craig Federighi Says Sideloading on iPhone Would Open the Floodgates to Malware

Wednesday November 3, 2021 10:16 am PDT by
Apple's software engineering chief Craig Federighi today expressed his opposition to a provision in Europe's proposed Digital Markets Act that would require the iPhone to allow sideloading of apps outside of the App Store. Speaking at the Web Summit conference in Portugal, Federighi said sideloading would result in the "floodgates" opening to malware. Federighi said that while the Digital ...
tim cook apple park

Tim Cook Reveals He Owns Cryptocurrency and Has Been 'Interested in It For a While'

Tuesday November 9, 2021 7:32 am PST by
Apple CEO Tim Cook publicly for the first time today revealed that he has personally invested in cryptocurrency and that he's been interested in it "for a while." The comments came during Cook's appearance at The New York Times "DealBook" summit, where Cook was questioned on privacy, sideloading, and more. Answering whether he owns any cryptocurrency, Cook replied, "I do," adding that...
app store blue banner epic 1

Epic Games CEO to Speak in South Korea Next Week Against the App Store Amid Ongoing Tensions With Apple

Thursday November 11, 2021 1:39 am PST by
Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney will appear next week at a conference in South Korea to discuss the fairness of mobile app platforms and ecosystems amid his company's ongoing tension with Apple, according to a press release. Sweeney will be joined by other members and representatives of the "Coalition for App Fairness," a group of developers and companies lobbying against Apple's...
tim cook afr cover interview

Tim Cook Talks Privacy, User Trust, Morning Routine, and More in Financial Review Interview

Friday August 20, 2021 2:07 am PDT by
In a long and extensive interview with the Australian Financial Review, Apple CEO Tim Cook discussed many topics, from Apple's core values on privacy, the importance of user trust, his morning routine, App Store regulation, and more. The interview, conducted in July, is in celebration of the Financial Review's 70th anniversary. Cook begins the interview by sharing his morning routine, noting ...
General App Store South Korea Feature Feature

Apple Accused of Not Doing Enough to Comply With South Korean App Store Law

Tuesday November 16, 2021 5:09 am PST by
Apple is not doing enough to comply with South Korean legislation that forbids app store operators from forcing developers to use their payment systems, according to lawmaker Jo Seoung-lae, Reuters reports. Via an amendment to the Telecommunication Business Act, South Korea is the first country endeavouring to stop developers from being forced to use a single payment system offered by app...
tim cook mark zuckerberg

Apple's Privacy Rules to Blame for Facebook's Lower Than Expected Quarterly Growth, Says Zuckerberg

Tuesday October 26, 2021 3:46 am PDT by
Apple's privacy rules are "negatively affecting" Facebook, and its business, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg claimed during its most recent earnings call. As a quick refresher, starting with iOS 14.5 and all newer versions of iOS and iPadOS, Apple requires that apps ask for users' permission to track them across other apps and websites. Under the App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, the...
craig wwdc 2021 privacy

Apple's Privacy Features Have Cost Social Media Companies Nearly $10 Billion in Revenue

Monday November 1, 2021 4:42 am PDT by
As a result of its privacy features, Apple has cost social media companies including Meta, formerly known as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, and YouTube, nearly $10 billion in revenue in the second half of 2021, according to an investigation by the Financial Times. The Financial Times found that most users have opted out of tracking using Apple's App Tracking Transparency (ATT) framework, a...