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Apple could allow sideloading of iOS apps in the EU next year

iPhone owners in the EU will no longer be restricted to downloading apps from the App Store

Important points

  • Thanks to the Digital Markets Act, regulations could allow iPhone owners in the EU to download apps outside of the App Store.
  • Apple may need to introduce a “highly controlled system” to allow sideloading of apps on iOS only in the EU.
  • Rumors initially suggested these changes would be included in iOS 17.2, but they are now expected to arrive in early 2024 through a future iOS update.

Owning an iPhone means you’re giving up on going through the App Store when downloading apps to your device. However, European Union (EU) regulations may change in his 2024. His Digital Markets Act (DMA) will come into force across the EU in 2022, reducing “gatekeeping” by companies and keeping the industry competitive. As a result of the DMA, Apple may have to allow sideloading of apps on his iOS, which would allow her iPhone owners in the EU to download apps outside of the App Store.

mark garman first reported the news bloomberg, claimed that Apple may roll out a “highly managed system” that would allow apps to be installed elsewhere. This change is expected to work for legal compliance purposes only within the EU. The company could also be required to update its payment apps as well as messages to meet guidelines set by the EU.

Initially, it was rumored that such a change would come as part of the iOS 17.2 software update, but that now seems less likely. Nevertheless, the change is expected to debut sometime in the first half of 2024 through a future iOS 17 update, as Apple seeks to avoid fines for failing to comply with regulations.

The screen of the iPhone 15 Pro Max in hand is turned on.

Rumors started circulating that sideloading might be introduced as part of the iOS 17.2 software update when we got the relevant APIs. A publishing framework titled “Managed App Distribution” seems to suggest that third-party app stores will be supported on the latest iPhones (via 9to5Mac ). However, we found that these changes revolve around existing mobile device management (MDM) solutions and are not necessarily related to upcoming sideloading capabilities.

Apple has argued in the past that allowing iPhone owners to download apps outside of the App Store compromises security. The idea is that third-party apps can contain malware. Whether Apple’s concerns hold water will become clearer in the coming months as EU users explore new app options.

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