One of the biggest joys of owning an Android phone is that users are able to download apps on their phones without the need for an app store – known as “sideloading,” this method lets users manually install software on their device via an .apk file. While this feature has been absent on iOS devices (at least by default), it looks like Apple will soon have to grant users sideloading privileges.
As a result of several changes to European Union (EU) regulations, Apple will be required to allow users to sideload apps on their devices, essentially letting customers install third-party software on their devices while bypassing the App Store (including Apple’s commission fees). This is detailed in the EU’s Digital Markets Act, which took effect back in November last year.
At the moment, it seems that this ability to sideload apps will be exclusive for iPhone and iPad users in European markets, once iOS 17 makes its debut. Meanwhile, US Apple fans will still remain in the confines of the App Store, at least for the foreseeable future.
Apple has consistently discouraged and prevented users from manually sideloading software onto their iPhone and iPads, stressing that allowing access to such a method will compromise user privacy and security, leaving users vulnerable to scams and malware. The company will have to comply with these new legal regulations however, lest it risk fines of up to 20 percent from its revenue.