The Apple App Store features almost 1.8 million apps for any and all tasks imaginable on the iPhone. However, Apple could be set to introduce another way to install apps on the iPhone – through sideloading. Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman first revealed this feature earlier this year in April, claiming that sideloading on iPhone would arrive with the iOS 17 update. However, the rollout of iOS 17 in September did not bring this feature. But now, reports claim that it could finally arrive, albeit in only some parts of the world. Notably, Apple has strictly maintained its ban on iPhone sideloading apps for years, saying that it could be a security threat for the users. Let us take a closer look.
What is Sideloading?
Sideloading will enable iPhone users to download applications outside the App Store through alternate app stores, for the first time ever. So far, Apple’s approach to security and privacy has been to not allow sideloading in order to avoid malware on iPhones. Thus, it would mark a significant strategy shift for Apple when the company finally rolls out this feature. If app developers could still make their apps available to iPhone users without needing to be in the App Store, they could effectively save the 15 to 30 percent fee that the company charges.
When is Sideloading coming to iPhones?
According to Mark Gurman, iPhone users in the EU will be able to sideload apps on the iPhone starting early next year. The “highly controlled system” will allow other platforms to host apps outside the App Store, and iPhone users in the EU will be able to download them.
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In effect, if you are in Europe, you will get the new Sideloading feature, but not if you are a resident of anywhere else in the world. This is reportedly in compliance with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) that came into effect on November 1 last year and requires big tech companies who act as “gatekeepers” to offer their services to developers as well as other companies.
The Cupertino-based tech giant will also reportedly bring changes to the Messages and payment apps via a localized update that will only be issued to iPhones in the EU.
Do note that all the information is based on unofficial reports and should be taken with a pinch of salt. While it states Sideloading could arrive early next year, the confirmation of the feature will only come when Apple launches it.
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