Apple’s Move to Allow Sideloading Under EU Rules Draws Criticism

Apple has told Reuters it has encountered a wave of concerns from various government agencies, both within the EU and beyond, regarding the security implications of its decision to allow app sideloading.

EU Digital Markets Act

As part of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), effective March 7, Apple will be compelled to enable alternative app stores on its devices and grant developers the option to bypass its in-app payment system, which imposes fees of up to 30%.

In response to these regulatory requirements, Apple disclosed that the concept of “sideloading” – the installation of applications on mobile devices without utilizing the official app store – has prompted apprehensions from several government bodies.

This move toward allowing sideloading is among the reforms advocated by certain lawmakers to foster greater competition in the app market.

According to a guidance paper issued by Apple, these agencies, particularly those involved in critical sectors such as defense, banking, and emergency services, have expressed concerns about the new changes.

The agencies seek assurances that they can prevent employees from sideloading apps onto government-procured iPhones. Some have indicated their intention to block sideloading on all devices under their management.

App store

Apple highlighted the stance of one EU government agency, which cited limitations in funding and personnel for app review and approval processes.

Consequently, the agency plans to continue relying on Apple and the App Store, trusting the company’s comprehensive app vetting procedures.

Although Apple did not disclose specific figures regarding the number of concerned agencies or their locations, the challenges posed by sideloading have evidently garnered significant attention and raised security alarms among regulatory bodies worldwide..

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