iOS 17 to Support App Sideloading to Comply With European Regulations

Apple in iOS 17 will for the first time allow iPhone users to download apps hosted outside of its official App Store, according to Bloomberg's Mark Gurman.

iOS 17 Icon Mock Feature Feature
Otherwise known as sideloading, the change would allow customers to download apps without needing to use the App Store, which would mean developers wouldn't need to pay Apple's 15 to 30 percent fees.

The European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), which went into effect on November 1, 2022, requires "gatekeeper" companies to open up their services and platforms to other companies and developers.

The DMA will have a big impact on Apple's platforms, and it could result in Apple making major changes to the ‌App Store‌, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, and more. Apple is planning to implement sideloading support to comply with the new European regulations by next year, according to Gurman.

Apple has claimed that sideloading will "undermine the privacy and security protections" that iPhone users rely on, leaving people vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues. However, Apple must comply with the DMA or it risks fines of as much as 20 percent of its global revenue if the EU laws are violated.

In a December 2022 report Gurman said Apple was considering implementing security requirements such as verification, a process that it could charge a fee for in lieu of collecting money from app sales. Apple has a verification system on Mac that allows users to be safe while giving them access to apps outside of the Mac App Store.

If other countries introduce similar legislation, alternate app stores could expand beyond the European Union. The United States, for example, is considering legislation that would require Apple to allow sideloading.

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Top Rated Comments

cableguy84 Avatar
17 months ago
I won’t be sideloading anything onto my iPhone
Score: 90 Votes (Like | Disagree)
SnarkyBear Avatar
17 months ago
We have been able to "side load" on the Mac system since forever, and it has been a blessing as I have been able to download apps that q) more complete than their App Store versions, b) download apps that compete directly with Apple's apps, and c) down load apps whose cost 100% goes to the developers. One has to be a little more careful, but then Apple hasn't been that good at protecting us from bad players in the iOS App Store. (It's always been more about protecting Apple's profits than protecting the consumer)

It's about choice, folks. If you want the walled garden you are free to stick with the App Store. But I for one look forward to the expanded choices soon to become available.
Score: 69 Votes (Like | Disagree)
magicvash Avatar
17 months ago
This is great right up until companies refuse to offer App Store version of their software and force users to sideload. I can see Meta doing this and bringing along spyware and user tracking that they were forced to eliminate due to apple’s tracking bans
Score: 65 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Abazigal Avatar
17 months ago
The question isn't whether Apple will implement side-loading, but how. We know Apple has been fighting this for the longest time, and you can be sure that sideloading on iOS will come with enough caveats and asterisks that the process is not going to be as straightforward as some might expect.
Score: 42 Votes (Like | Disagree)
coffeemilktea Avatar
17 months ago

Apple has claimed that sideloading will "undermine the privacy and security protections" that iPhone users rely on, leaving people vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues.
Seems a little dramatic considering that sideloading has existed on Android since day 1 and yet, somehow, most people with Android phones aren't complaining about suffering from endless malware. ?
Score: 38 Votes (Like | Disagree)
sockdoggy Avatar
17 months ago
I already fear my parents mistakenly installing a non-App Store app. And a future weekend of mine being dedicated to undoing it all.
Score: 24 Votes (Like | Disagree)