Apple iPhones pride themselves on maximum security and privacy. That’s why so-called sideloading, or the ability to install apps from unverified sources, is blocked in iOS. To install new software, you must rely on the official App Store.
This puts the Cupertino company in a rather advantageous position. It has absolute power over all the programs and games that can make their way onto Apple devices. It also benefits from individual payments.
Developers have to pay a fee on each payment and have no other option but to do so. Recently, however, there have been reports that the arrival of sideloading for iOS is inevitable.
The EU could force this change through legislation and with the arrival of the anticipated iOS 17 operating system, which will be unveiled at the WWDC 2023 developer conference this June.
Naturally, this opens up quite a discussion. There is speculation that Apple might only allow sideloading in EU countries and the UK. Something like that, however, does not sit well with the Apple people in the United States.
US vs. EU
We mentioned one interesting fact in the very beginning. A theory has emerged that sideloading will only be allowed in EU countries and the UK. The Apple folks in Apple’s home country, the United States of America, were quick to react to this speculation and were unhappy with the potential change.
Indeed, there have been suggestions on social media that they are paying for the same devices as European users and are therefore entitled to the same features. But this brings us to a rather funny moment.
The truth is that many features and options are only available to users in the US, from Apple Card to Apple Pay Cash, to several other gadgets that Europe Apple users may as well forget about.
However, for once, the card has turned. On the other hand, European apple pickers aren’t so keen on this novelty for a change. Therefore, many other issues surround the arrival of sideloading, and it is a question of how it will turn out.
Although most users could practically do without this option and reject it, it is quite likely that it will not be avoided in time anyway, precisely because of legislative changes within the EU. Would you welcome sideloading, or is it a step in the wrong direction?
Sideloading: do users want it?
As mentioned above, the possible arrival of sideloading has been discussed in Apple circles for several years. But the crucial question is, do the users themselves even want it?
Opinions are already strongly divided on this issue. While some would welcome the news with all their might, others are staunch opponents. Those who are against sideloading often argue about overall security.
Although you can successfully resist installing apps from unofficial sources, in some cases, you may not miss them. This is because it gives developers complete freedom, which means they can afford to leave the official App Store entirely, leaving you as a user with no choice but to take the alternative route.
Sideloading as such will not be for everyone. It’s nice to have the choice of whether or not to install third-party apps on users, but there are some risks associated with sideloading, so the way the European Union is handling this is not precisely the best way to go about it.
In any case, this will be a very interesting opportunity for companies like Epic, who can move their apps to their stores and theoretically save end-users some money since they won’t have to cut Apple’s prices.
For small developers, this will not be a change, at least in my opinion, as paying $99/year for a developer account that gives them access to the app store is a small tax compared to paying the full chain to expose their app on the web, more complex payment gateway integration, etc. In any case, we have something to look forward to.