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Sideloading may be available soon, but with several caveats

Since the new law came into force, Apple is expected to introduce the ability to download applications outside of the App Store to comply with European Union regulations. This measure, known as “sideloading”, is planned to be implemented during the first half of 2024 with an update to iOS 17, according to information from Mark Gurman.

A change whose repercussions are not yet clear

Sideloading will allow applications to be installed without going through the App Store. Gurman, in the latest edition of his “Power On” newsletter, revealed that Apple will introduce a “highly controlled system” that will allow EU users to install applications hosted elsewhere. Additionally, Apple is also expected to make changes to Messages and payment apps as part of these changes, likely through an update such as iOS 17.4.

This information clarifies, as we have already done at Softonic, that sideloading will not be introduced with the iOS 17.2 software update, scheduled for next month. An update that contains changes to application installation, but focuses on how companies distribute their own software internally.

Apple, as well as several security experts, have repeatedly asserted that sideloading “undermines privacy and security protections” that iPhone users trust, exposing them to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues. Despite this, Apple must comply with the new European regulations.

With this in mind, it’s worth remembering that Apple may be considering implementing security requirements similar to the verification already done for apps on Macs. A notarization system that applications should go through to ensure they are free of malware before installing themselves on the system.

As the dates quickly approach, we will see if other countries consider going the European Union route or if they take warnings from Apple and security experts more seriously. For now, all we have to do is wait.

Gn Fr tech

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