Sideloading iPhone apps will come to users in the EU in the first half of 2024

Next year, iPhone users in the European Union will be able to download apps hosted outside Apple’s official App Store to comply with European regulations, according to… BloombergMark Gorman.

Also known as sideloading, the change coming sometime in the first half of 2024 will allow customers to download apps without having to use the App Store, meaning developers won’t need to pay Apple’s 15 to 30 percent fee.

Writing in his latest subscriber edition Authority on the newsletterGorman said Apple would introduce a “highly controlled system” that would allow EU users to install apps hosted elsewhere. Apple will also reportedly change the Messages and Payment apps as part of the changes, likely via a localized iOS 17 update.

Gorman’s update contradicts what happened recently a report Which suggests that the sideloading may arrive with Apple’s iOS 17.2 software update, which is expected to be released next month. The report mistook some new sideloading-related code for an upcoming framework for enterprises to distribute apps to employees.

The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into effect on November 1, 2022, requires “custodial” companies to open their services and platforms to other companies and developers.

The DMA will have a major impact on Apple’s platforms, and could lead to Apple making major changes to the ‌App Store‌, Messages, FaceTime, Siri, and more.

Apple claimed that sideloading would “undermine the privacy and security protections” that iPhone users rely on, leaving people vulnerable to malware, scams, data tracking, and other issues. Regardless of its position, Apple must comply with the DMA or risk fines of up to 20 percent of its global revenue if EU laws are violated.

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in December 2022 reportGorman said Apple is considering implementing security requirements like verification, a process it could charge a fee for instead of collecting money from app sales. Apple has a verification system on Mac that allows users security while giving them access to apps outside of the Mac App Store.

If other countries introduce similar legislation, alternative app stores could expand beyond the EU. The United States, for example, is considering legislation requiring Apple to allow side loading.

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