Apple’s iOS 17 May Enable Sideloading, But What Are the Implications?

iOS 17 May Enable Sideloading

Apple has long been known for its closed ecosystem and opposition to sideloading apps on its devices, but according to a recent report from Mark Gurman, a renowned Apple analyst, the next iOS 17 could enable sideloading.

In a recent report, Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman has claimed that Apple is planning to allow iPhone users to download apps from sources outside of its official App Store for the first time ever in the upcoming iOS 17 update.

Sideloading, as it’s otherwise known, would allow iOS users to download apps from sources outside of the official App Store, potentially freeing developers from having to pay Apple’s 15 to 30 percent fees for app distribution. If Apple does indeed move towards allowing sideloading, it could potentially appease a number of companies that have criticized the company’s fee structure for app distribution. Spotify, Tinder/Match Group, and Twitter are among the companies that have been vocal about their concerns with Apple’s fees.

This could be a major shift for the app industry, as it would give developers more flexibility in terms of how they distribute their apps and potentially reduce the costs associated with app development. However, it’s important to keep in mind that sideloading can also come with security risks, as users may inadvertently download malicious software or apps that could compromise the security of their devices.

According to a recent Bloomberg report, Apple’s sideloading project has already begun under the supervision of Andreas Wendker, the company’s engineering VP who reports to Craig Federighi, senior VP of Software Engineering. The report also suggests that other senior executives, such as Jeff Robbin and Eddie Cue, are involved in the project.

This indicates that Apple is taking the potential shift towards sideloading seriously and has put significant resources into the project. It remains to be seen how the company will implement sideloading, and what safeguards or restrictions will be put in place to address concerns about security risks.

This would be a significant shift for Apple, which has traditionally kept tight control over its app store and the apps that are available to users. If the rumors are true, enabling sideloading would give users more freedom to install apps from outside the app store, potentially opening up a whole new world of possibilities for iOS users.

However, it’s worth noting that sideloading can come with some risks, as users may inadvertently install malicious apps or apps that could compromise the security of their devices. It’s possible that Apple may introduce certain safeguards or restrictions to mitigate these risks if sideloading does indeed become a reality.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) is a regulation introduced by the European Union, which came into effect on November 1, 2022. It aims to address the issue of gatekeeper companies and promote competition in the digital market by requiring such companies to open up their services and platforms to other companies and developers.

It’s important to note that while rumors have been circulating about sideloading being enabled in the upcoming iOS 17 update, this has not yet been confirmed by Apple. However, there is a good chance that sideloading could become a reality with the introduction of the EU’s Digital Markets Act in 2024, which requires gatekeeper companies to allow users to install apps from alternative sources.

If Apple wants to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act, it would have to allow its users to install apps from alternative sources outside of its own official App Store. This would represent a significant shift in Apple’s approach to app distribution, which has traditionally been tightly controlled and limited to the App Store.

However, Apple has expressed concerns about the security risks associated with sideloading, and it remains to be seen how the company will address these concerns if it is required to allow sideloading under the EU’s regulations. It’s possible that Apple may introduce certain safeguards or restrictions to mitigate these risks, or that it may push back against the regulations in order to maintain control over its platform.

In any case, we can expect to learn more about Apple’s plans for sideloading and other potential changes to its platform at the company’s annual WWDC conference for the year 2023, where iOS 17 is rumored to be taking center stage with major updates and changes.

As always, it’s important to take rumors with a grain of salt, and we won’t know for sure what features the next iOS update will bring until Apple makes an official announcement. Nonetheless, the possibility of sideloading on iOS is sure to generate excitement among Apple users and could potentially lead to some interesting new developments in the app space.


Mark Gurman

Categories iOS

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