I had long speculated that iOS 17 would support sideloading in the European Union (EU) due to the provisions of the Digital Market Act (DMA) law, and now it is officially supported. Ta. No, Apple hasn’t actually announced that the feature is imminent for his iPhones and iPads in the region. I also don’t expect an announcement any time soon. But Apple has six months to implement sideloading in iOS 17, and he could face billions of dollars in fines if he doesn’t implement older versions of his iOS.
The European Commission has revealed a list of gatekeeper companies and gatekeeper apps/services. Apple’s iMessage is not a gatekeeper, so there is no immediate need to support interoperability with Google’s RCS, for example. But iOS, the Safari browser, and the App Store are gatekeepers. As such, Apple has been given six months to make changes to these products in accordance with his DMA rules.
In other words, EU iPhones and iPads will soon support third-party app stores, third-party payment systems, and sideloading. And it all starts with iOS 17, due out next week.
How DMA forces Apple to adopt sideloading on the iPhone
The EU reminded users, businesses and gatekeepers themselves of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of the DMA Act.
The examples below apply to Apple’s gatekeeper services such as iOS and the App Store.
- Enable end-users to easily uninstall pre-installed apps, change default settings in web browsers that direct them to operating system, virtual assistant, or gatekeeper products and services, and enable key service selection. provide the screen.
- Allows end users to install third-party apps or app stores that use or interoperate with Gatekeeper’s operating system.
- Allow end users to unsubscribe from Gatekeeper’s core platform services as easily as they subscribe.
- Allows third parties to interoperate with Gatekeeper’s own services.
- Enables business users to promote offers and conclude contracts with customers outside of Gatekeeper’s platform.
- Provides business users with access to data generated by activity on Gatekeeper’s platform.
- Prohibits requiring app developers to use certain Gatekeeper services (such as payment systems or identity providers) in order to appear in Gatekeeper’s app store.
By issuing the technology gatekeeper designation for the first time in Europe, the EU has virtually guaranteed that iPhones will soon support sideloading, at least in EU member states. And that should happen within six months, so Apple plans to implement this feature in iOS 17.
When will Apple make changes to iOS 17?
As you can see from the list above, Apple also needs to allow developers to advertise their business and enter into contracts off-platform. This means purchasing digital services and apps outside of the App Store. It’s like subscribing to Netflix in your browser after seeing offers within the official app.
iOS 17 should also support an App Store that competes with the official App Store. This adds support for downloading (sideloading) his iPhone and iPad apps from any source.
DMA also virtually guarantees support for third-party payment systems.
I’ve long said I won’t be sideloading apps on my iPhone in the future, even though I have access to this feature. And we do not use third party app stores or third party payment systems. Convenience and safety are important to me. But not all iPhone and iPad users feel that way. So do developers.
The good news is that DMA rules will be available in the coming months. The caveat, though, is that Apple will likely restrict these features to his EU region. Sideloading can’t be popular all over the world.
Also, Apple has six months to implement the change, so don’t expect sideloading on the iPhone anytime soon. Apple will likely spend months testing through iOS 17.x beta releases before officially rolling it out. The final version of iOS 17 will be released next week. Apple will continue to add features to the iPhone operating system through iOS 17.x updates next year.
As we saw above, Apple has until March 2024 to comply.
Could Apple ignore DMA?
Of course, Apple could also avoid implementing changes to iOS 17 to comply with these regulations. However, there is a risk of being fined from 10% of annual turnover. That’s worth tens of billions. Repeat offenses could be raised to up to 20%, leading to more drastic measures such as the EU forcing Apple to sell its business or parts of it, or to block acquisitions. there is a possibility.
Apple has always been against sideloading apps, but recently announced that it will comply with EU regulations. However, no further details were provided as to when sideloading support is expected in iOS 17.
Following the EU Gatekeeper’s announcement, Apple said it remains concerned about privacy and security risks from DMA. However, it also suggested that changes would be implemented accordingly. “We will continue to focus on how to mitigate these impacts and continue to provide the best products and services to our customers in Europe,” Apple said in a statement. Reuters.