Since the new law came into effect, it’s expected that Apple will introduce the possibility of downloading apps outside the App Store to comply with European Union regulations. This action, known as “sideloading,” is scheduled to be implemented during the first half of 2024 with an update to iOS 17, as reported by Mark Gurman.
A change whose repercussions are still unclear
Sideloading will allow installing applications without going through the App Store. Gurman, in the latest edition of his newsletter “Power On,” revealed that Apple will introduce a “highly controlled system” that will allow users in the EU to install apps hosted elsewhere. Additionally, Apple is also expected to make some changes in Messages and payment applications as part of these modifications, likely through an update such as iOS 17.4.
This information clarifies, as we previously did on Softonic, that sideloading won’t arrive with the iOS 17.2 software update scheduled for next month. This update does contain changes in app installation but focuses on how companies distribute their own software internally.
Apple, along with several other security experts, has repeatedly stated that sideloading “undermines the privacy and security protections” relied upon by iPhone users, exposing them to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues. Despite this, Apple must comply with the new European regulation.
In this context, it’s worth noting that Apple is reportedly considering implementing security requirements similar to the verification already present for Mac applications. A notarization system through which apps would have to pass to ensure they are free from malware before being installed on the system.
As the dates draw near swiftly, we’ll see if other countries consider following the path of the European Union or heed Apple’s and security experts’ warnings more cautiously. For now, all we can do is wait.