New EU Law Could Force Apple to Allow Other App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

New EU rules came into force today that could compel Apple to let users access third-party app stores and permit app sideloading on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive.

European Commisssion
Under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), the rules will apply to tech giants that meet its "gatekeeper" criteria and force them to open up their various services and platforms to other companies and developers.

Apple is almost certain to be classified as a "gatekeeper" due to the size of its annual turnover in the EU, its ownership and operation of platforms with a large number of active users, and its "entrenched and durable position" due to how long it has met these criteria, and will therefore be subject to the rules set out in the DMA.

The DMA could force Apple to make major changes to the way the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, and Siri work in Europe. For example, it could be forced to allow users to install third-party app stores and sideload apps, give developers the ability to closely interoperate with Apple's own services and promote their offers outside the ‌‌App Store‌‌ and use third-party payment systems, and access data gathered by Apple.

One of the more recent additions to the DMA is the requirement to make messaging, voice-calling, and video-calling services interoperable. The interoperability rules theoretically mean that Meta apps like WhatsApp or Messenger could request to interoperate with Apple's iMessage framework, and Apple would be forced to comply within the EU.

The DMA was proposed by the European Commission in December 2020 and agreed by the European Parliament and the Council in record-time, in March 2022. It now moves into a six-month implementation phase and will start to apply on May 2, 2023. After that, within two months and at the latest by July 3, 2023, potential gatekeepers will have to inform the Commission of their core platform services if they meet the thresholds established by the DMA.


Once the Commission has received the complete information, it will have 45 working days to make an assessment as to whether the company in question meets the thresholds and to designate them as gatekeepers. Following their designation, gatekeepers will have six months to comply with the requirements in the DMA, at the latest by March 6, 2024.

"The DMA will change the digital landscape profoundly," said executive vice-president Margrethe Vestager in a statement accompanying a Commission press release. "With it, the EU is taking a pro-active approach to ensuring fair, transparent and contestable digital markets. A small number of large companies hold significant market power in their hands. Gatekeepers enjoying an entrenched position in digital markets will have to show that they are competing fairly. We invite all potential gatekeepers, their competitors or consumer organizations, to come and talk to us about how to best implement the DMA."

If (or more likely, when) Apple is designated a gatekeeper, it will have to make major changes to its ‌iPhone‌ and ‌iPad‌ platforms to accommodate the requirements. In March, before the law was passed, Apple said it was "concerned that some provisions of the DMA will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users."

Apple is also facing similar legislation in the United States, with U.S. House lawmakers in June introducing antitrust bills that would result in major changes to the tech industry if passed.

Note: Due to the political or social nature of the discussion regarding this topic, the discussion thread is located in our Political News forum. All forum members and site visitors are welcome to read and follow the thread, but posting is limited to forum members with at least 100 posts.

Top Rated Comments

deeddawg Avatar
5 weeks ago

Bring it on. It's not like you're being forced to sideload.
Until the key apps you wish to use choose to exit the app store, leaving you with a dilemma of eschewing those apps or opening your device up.

(edited for typo)
Score: 74 Votes (Like | Disagree)
TheYayAreaLiving ? Avatar
5 weeks ago
EU needs to force Apple to release MacBook Pro in Midnight color. Release Mac Mini… released OLED iPad… there are so many other things they can focus on.
Score: 40 Votes (Like | Disagree)
BootsWalking Avatar
5 weeks ago

EU will force in their stupidity to lose Apple. EU kind remind that you are not the most profitable market compared to China and USA
Stop making stupid laws that will foreign big tech and jobs
Europe is Apple's second largest market, at 19% of revenue. Apple isn't going anywhere.
Score: 39 Votes (Like | Disagree)
citysnaps Avatar
5 weeks ago
As long as the someone who sideloads first agrees that any harm suffered by the user or to the phone, is the responsibility of the user. With no Apple responsibility or liability.

In other words, sideloading is at your own risk.
Score: 37 Votes (Like | Disagree)
zorinlynx Avatar
5 weeks ago
Bring it on. It's not like you're being forced to sideload.
Score: 34 Votes (Like | Disagree)
WiiDSmoker Avatar
5 weeks ago
Good news!!! Apple advertises the Mac as secure yet has open app stores, side loading AKA installing whatever you want. What makes the iphone so different? NOBODY is forcing you to do these on your phone if you don’t want to.
Score: 33 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

European Commisssion

Impending EU Regulation to Force Apple to Allow Third-Party App Stores and Open Up iMessage

Monday April 25, 2022 6:21 am PDT by
Apple will be forced to allow users to utilize third-party app stores and payment systems, as well as make iMessage interoperable with other messaging services, by the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), according to a newly published document from the European Commission. In a questions and answers document on the Digital Markets Act titled "ensuring fair and open digital markets,"...
european parliament

EU Provisionally Agrees on Law That Would Force Apple to Allow Alternative App Stores, Sideloading, and iMessage Interoperability

Friday March 25, 2022 4:46 am PDT by
European lawmakers have provisionally agreed upon a new law that would force Apple to allow user access to third-party app stores and permit the sideloading of apps on iPhones and iPads, among other sweeping changes designed to make the digital sector fairer and more competitive. The European Council and European Parliament said on Friday they had reached a political agreement on the...
European Commisssion

EU Planning to Force Apple to Give Developers Access to All Hardware and Software Features

Friday May 20, 2022 5:05 am PDT by
The European Union is pressing ahead with legislation to heavily regulate companies like Apple, setting plans to force "gatekeepers" to open up access to hardware and software, and even set up an internal department to meet new rules, according to an endorsed agreement from the European Parliament's Internal Market Committee. The provisional agreement on the Digital Markets Act (DMA) was reac...
European Commisssion

EU Approves Landmark Legislation to Regulate Apple and Other Big Tech Firms

Tuesday July 5, 2022 5:53 am PDT by
European Union lawmakers have approved landmark legislation to heavily regulate Apple, Google, Meta, and other big tech firms. The Digital Markets Act (DMA) and Digital Services Act (DSA) were proposed by the European Commission in December 2020. Now, collected in a "Digital Services Package," the legislation has been formally adopted by the European Parliament and seeks to address...
European Commisssion

EU Plans to Regulate Apple Delayed to Spring 2023 Amid Preparations to Enforce New Rules

Thursday May 5, 2022 5:52 am PDT by
The European Union's wide-reaching new regulations to target Apple and other big tech companies will come into effect in early 2023, according to EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager (via TechCrunch). The EU's Digital Markets Act (DMA) could force Apple to make major changes to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri in Europe. For example, it could be forced to...
european parliament

Leaked EU Document Could Spell Major Changes for App Store, Messages, FaceTime, Browsers, and Siri

Friday April 22, 2022 9:22 am PDT by
A leaked version of the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA) indicates that Apple could be forced to make major changes to the App Store, Messages, FaceTime, third-party browsers, and Siri. According to a leaked working document intended to reflect the "final" version of the DMA, seen by MacRumors, the EU is planning to enact changes that seek to have a significant impact on the way...
app store blue banner uk fixed

UK Begins Market Investigation into Apple and Google's Mobile Dominance

Tuesday November 22, 2022 4:37 am PST by
The UK's competition watchdog has begun its investigation into the market dominance of Apple and Google's mobile browsers, months after it said it was considering a high-level probe. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced Tuesday that responses to its June consultation had revealed "substantial support" for a full investigation into how Apple and Google dominate the market and ...
iOS App Store General Feature Desaturated

Facebook and Spotify CEOs Slam Apple's App Store

Wednesday November 30, 2022 12:20 pm PST by
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Spotify CEO Daniel Ek today spoke out against Apple's App Store policies, joining Twitter CEO Elon Musk, who earlier this week said that Apple was making moderation demands and had threatened to withhold Twitter from the App Store. At The New York Times DealBook Summit, Zuckerberg said that only Apple attempts to limit the apps that are in the App Store, and...

Popular Stories

maxresdefault

Can't Get an iPhone 14 Pro? Here's Why You Should Wait for the iPhone 15 Ultra

Monday December 5, 2022 11:44 am PST by
Due to production issues at Apple supplier factories in China, the iPhone 14 Pro and iPhone 14 Pro Max are backordered and basically out of stock at every store. If you were planning to gift or receive an iPhone 14 Pro model for the holidays and didn't already get one, you're basically out of luck because they're gone until late December. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more ...
Apple advanced security Advanced Data Protection screen Feature

FBI Calls End-to-End Encryption 'Deeply Concerning' as Privacy Groups Hail Apple's Advanced Data Protection as a Victory for Users

Thursday December 8, 2022 2:45 am PST by
Apple yesterday announced that end-to-end encryption is coming to even more sensitive types of iCloud data, including device backups, messages, photos, and more, meeting the longstanding demand of both users and privacy groups who have rallied for the company to take the significant step forward in user privacy. iCloud end-to-end encryption, or what Apple calls "Advanced Data Protection,"...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Launching This Month With These 8 New Features

Thursday December 1, 2022 8:44 am PST by
Apple plans to publicly release iOS 16.2 for the iPhone in mid-December, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The update remains in beta testing for now, with at least eight new features and changes already uncovered so far. iOS 16.2 introduces a number of new features, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets for Sleep and Medications, the ability to hide...
maxresdefault

Hands-On With Apple Music Sing in iOS 16.2

Wednesday December 7, 2022 12:24 pm PST by
With the iOS 16.2 release candidate that came out today, Apple added the new Apple Music Sing feature that was announced earlier this week. We thought we'd check out the new karaoke feature to see how it works. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Apple Music Sing is available on modern iPhones and iPads, as well as the newest Apple TV 4K. It's built in to the Apple...
Apple car wheel icon feature yellow

Apple to Charge Under $100,000 for Apple Car, Launch Planned for 2026

Tuesday December 6, 2022 2:31 pm PST by
Apple is aiming to launch an Apple-branded consumer-oriented vehicle by 2026, and its goal is to hit a price point under $100,000 to make the car appeal to a wider range of customers, reports Bloomberg. Apple initially planned to design a car that might look similar to Canoo's Lifestyle Vehicle, where passengers could face one another in a limousine-style car with no steering wheel or...
General iOS 16 Feature Yellow

iOS 16.2 for iPhone Expected to Launch Next Week With These 12 New Features

Thursday December 8, 2022 7:05 am PST by
iOS 16.2 is expected to be released next week following nearly two months of beta testing. With last-minute additions like Apple Music Sing and Advanced Data Protection, the software update now has over a dozen new features for the iPhone. Below, we've recapped many of the new features coming with iOS 16.2, including Apple's new whiteboard app Freeform, two new Lock Screen widgets, the...
introducing apple music sing

Apple Music Adding a Karaoke Experience With Apple Music Sing

Tuesday December 6, 2022 7:09 am PST by
Apple today announced Apple Music Sing, a new feature in Apple Music that lets users sing their favorite songs with adjustable vocals and more. Apple Music Sing will utilize Apple Music's real-time lyrics to allow users to sing to their favorite songs using adjustable vocals, background vocals, and duet view to allow more than one singer.Apple Music Sing includes: Adjustable vocals: Users...
Twitter Feature

Twitter to Charge $11 Per Month for Twitter Blue on iPhone, $7 on Website

Wednesday December 7, 2022 6:47 pm PST by
Twitter plans to charge $11 per month for a Twitter Blue subscription on the iPhone in order to account for the 30 percent cut that Apple takes from in-app purchases, reports The Information. On the web, Twitter Blue will be priced at $7 per month. Prior to when Twitter Blue was paused, Twitter was charging $7.99 for a subscription, but the pricing will change before it relaunches. According ...
Apple advanced security Advanced Data Protection screen Feature

Apple Announces End-to-End Encryption Option for iCloud Photos, Notes, Backups, and More

Wednesday December 7, 2022 10:00 am PST by
Apple today announced it is expanding end-to-end encryption to many additional iCloud data categories on an opt-in basis for enhanced security. iCloud already protects 14 data categories using end-to-end encryption by default, including the Messages app when backups are disabled, passwords stored in iCloud Keychain, Health data, Apple Maps search history, Apple Card transactions, and more,...