EU iPhone Owners to Get App Sideloading in Early 2024: Bloomberg
This change, designed to align with European regulations, will permit EU iPhone users to download applications from sources outside of Apple’s official App Store. It will not only grant users more choice but also relieve developers from the burden of Apple’s 15 to 30% fees associated with the App Store. The fees that Apple charges developers has become controversial, as besides the charges, Apple doesn’t let anyone bypass the fees.
The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into effect on November 1, 2022, mandates “gatekeeper” companies to open their services and platforms to other businesses and developers.
The upcoming feature will introduce a “highly controlled system” that empowers EU users to install apps hosted beyond the Apple ecosystem, notes Gurman in his latest Power On newsletter.
However, it’s worth noting that this development contradicts a recent report suggesting sideloading could arrive sooner, with Apple’s iOS 17.2 software update expected next month.
This report misinterpreted some new code as sideloading-related, while it was actually linked to an upcoming framework for organizations to distribute apps to their employees.
Apple has expressed concerns that sideloading could compromise user privacy and security, potentially exposing customers to malware, scams, data tracking, and other threats.
Nevertheless, Apple must follow the DMA to avoid penalties amounting to as much as 20% of its global revenue if EU regulations are violated.
In a report from December 2022, Gurman highlighted that Apple was contemplating implementing security requirements such as verification, which could involve a fee, instead of relying on revenue from app sales.
Apple already employs a verification system on Mac, ensuring user safety while granting access to non-Mac App Store applications.
Furthermore, if other countries adopt similar legislation, the ability to sideload iPhone apps may extend to Canada, the U.S. and beyond.