Monday, June 5, 2023

iOS 17 will support app sideloading on iPhone, thanks to EU law

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The Worldwide Developers’ Conference or WWDC23 this June will see Apple biggest launch for products wherein Apple is all set to launch the most anticipated reality headset which is the first new Apple product category in nearly a decade. 

Apart from that, Apple has lined up a new xrOS operating system, new MacBooks, iPadOS 17, macOS 14 and a major watchOS 10 update since the first version came out. 

Another launch that is expected to bring a lot of new changes to the iPhone ecosystem is the new iOS 17. Check out our article on iOS 17’s for other changes that are expected out of iOS 17 launch.

Also read: Apple Card offers a zero-balance savings account with no fees, no deposits in US: Will it come to India?

Since the announcement of the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, everyone has been anticipating whether Apple will make the change in its policy for sideloading and maybe it will.

On November 1, 2022, The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), came into effect. This act required “gatekeeper” companies to “open up their services and platforms” to distinct companies and developers. This meant that Apple, considered a gatekeeper for its share in the European market, had to give up on its “no sideloading” policy for iPhone.

What is sideloading of apps?

Sideloading refers to the process of downloading apps outside of the official App Store. This is a fundamental feature for Android. However, Apple always used the “walled garden” approach which made it impossible for iPhones to offer such a feature. 

In order to sideload an iPhone, you would have to rappel the safe wall of your phone which has its obvious fallouts and is illegal.

This historical change would allow the iPhone users to download apps apart from the Apple Store i.e third party sources. This change would also mean that developers do not have to pay Apple’s 15 to 30 percent fees.

Also read: Tim Cook and PM Modi to meet in New Delhi to celebrate India’s first Apple Store

The DMA would bring about impactful changes on Apple’s platforms, which in turn would require Apple to make big changes to the ‌App Store‌, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, among others. Apple through the new iOS 17 is on the path to implement sideloading support to align with the new European regulations by next year to avoid the risk of fines of an estimated 20 percent of its global revenue if the EU laws are violated.

However, Apple has at multiple occasions claimed that sideloading will “undermine the privacy and security protections”. This is the elementary feature iPhone users rely on. Compromising this would make the users prone to malware, data tracking, scams, and other issues.

This might continue for other countries too if they were to introduce similar legislation. This feature may expand beyond the European Union market. Another market lined up for this change is the United States.

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