Apple will bow to pressure from the European Union’s Digital Market Act and allow apps to be downloaded from outside the App Store. However, the Cupertino giant can establish mechanisms to ensure the security and privacy of iPhone owners.
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Big Tech plans a “highly controlled system” for developers who make software available outside of its official store. Then, apps from third-party sources must follow specific parameters to be installed on a device.
New feature should be released with iOS 17.2
Gurman mentions that the opening of the iPhone ecosystem should take place in the first half of 2024. It is worth mentioning that the Digital Market Law will come into force from March next year in the countries that are part of the European Union.
However, old leaks indicate that the sideloading feature (downloading from third-party sources) should be one of the big new features of iOS 17.2. The next version of the iPhones operating system is in beta and is expected to be made available to the public in December 2023.
Apple has always been against the practice of sideloading on its devices. Big tech argues that installing apps from outside the App Store could compromise users’ security and privacy.
Between the lines, as cited in a recent financial report, the iPhone maker also doesn’t want to give up the 15% to 30% commissions paid by developers. The opening of the ecosystem will allow companies to easily circumvent the fees imposed by the Cupertino giant.
More options beyond the App Store and Play Store in Europe
As stated, the Digital Market Act requires companies to allow the use of software from third-party sources in their device ecosystems. With this, Google should also let Android users download apps from stores other than the Play Store.
The opening proposed by European lawmakers has already attracted the attention of other companies. For example, Meta and Microsoft plan to launch their own app stores for the iOS and Android operating systems in Europe.
On the other hand, users won’t depend on the “duopoly” of Apple and Google to download apps. Also, the arrival of other tech giants may offer more security than downloading software from unknown stores.