Apple is reportedly preparing to introduce sideloading, a feature that would enable the iPhone users to download apps from sources other than the official App Store, with the upcoming iOS 17.
Apple is all set to host its next WWDC in June 2023. The company has already confirmed dates for the next WWDC and is all set to introduce the next generation of software updates and its first-ever Mixed Reality Headset at the event. Now, a report from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman claims that Apple will add a feature to iOS 17 that would allow users to sideload apps onto their iPhones.
Sideloading would mean that iPhone users will be able to install apps on iOS 17 without using the App Store, bypassing Apple’s fees of 15 to 30 percent for developers. This move comes as the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) requires large tech companies to open up their platforms to other businesses and developers.
While this iOS 17 feature has not yet been confirmed, the DMA’s regulations, which take effect in 2024, will force Apple to comply or face substantial fines. According to the report, Apple is planning to implement sideloading support in response to this regulation.
Apple has long opposed sideloading due to concerns about privacy and security, claiming that allowing apps from outside the App Store would expose users to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues. However, the company has also been considering implementing security features such as verification processes — similar to those in place on macOS — so that user safety is not compromised.
Along with this, Gurman says iOS 17 will contain many user-requested features. In addition to the European Union, many other countries, including the United States, are also considering similar legislation requiring Apple to allow sideloading apps on the iPhone.