Apple is being forced to open up its iOS platform to sideloading in the EU. The change comes after the European Commission passed a new regulation forcing “gatekeepers” such as Apple, Google and Microsoft to allow users the ability to install apps without relying on the built-in App Store. Apple will also need to open up its iMessage platform to integrate other chats from other apps into it. We have seen this slowly rolling out on WhatsApp as Meta integrates Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp chats into one place.
Reports claim that Apple is now prepping for this change which it needs to comply with by March 2024. Essentially, Apple needs to make iOS open for developers to make their own App Stores and users should be able to download and install apps and games outside of the built-in app. There’s a bit of controversy surrounding these regulations as Apple will have to find other ways to charge developers its 15% cut of purchases but without the App Store, how does this work?
A new report from Mark Gurman suggests that Apple is expected to launch this ambitious new approach in time for the regulation changes in the EU. We don’t know yet whether or not the feature will come to other countries and regions but Apple has to do it. The new regulation forces developers to give users the choice of downloading apps from different sources. Something Android has been able to do for a while now.
With the EU going after companies such as Apple and Google, we might see an entire shift in ecosystems within the next few years. Not only will Apple’s iOS platform get hit but other operating systems will also need to comply. This even includes TV brands such as Samsung and Hisense which don’t allow sideloading of apps on certain models.
The movement is a big deal for consumers. It means more freedom to operate your tech the way you want. However, it also comes with safety concerns. Up to now, the tightly-locked iOS platform has been a reliable place to live without the worry of malware and privacy intrusion apps. Sideloading might change this.
Apple has expressed its concerns with sideloading saying it will “undermine the privacy and security protections” that iPhone users rely on. Apple is concerned that it will leave people vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking and other issues.
According to a report, Apple will focus on sideloading and meeting these regulations with iOS 18. While the software update won’t be released until late 2024, the company has paused developing new features to work on meeting these deadlines and fixing bugs and issues.