Sideloading on iPhone: the first references found in the iOS 17.2 beta

Having been approved by the European Union the Digital Markets ActApple – totally reluctantly – must throw open the doors of the iPhone operating system to users third-party stores. To put it in other words, in the future users who will have a smartphone from the Cupertino company in their hands they will not be forced to download applications solely from the App Store.

But when will this turning point? There is no specific day to mark on the calendar (although the maximum limit is set for March 2024), but some information about it has emerged from iOS 17.2, operating system currently being tested among developers. This version includes a new framework called “Managed App Distribution“, which could refer to a phenomenon known as sideloading.

iOS 17.2: the first references to sideloading discovered

The 9to5Mac team analyzed the new API and found that it includes a entitlement unused but intended for useinstallation of applications from third-party stores.

Developers will be able to create their own app stores, being able to count on all the tools necessary for managing them. The API has basic controls for downloading, installing, and updating apps from external sources, but also for checking app compatibility with an iPhone model or iOS version.

They were also discovered References to API regional blocks in question, which suggests that Apple might limit it to specific countries. A strategy – if we want to define it that way – that makes sense: the company led by Tim Cook could in fact enable sideloading only in those countries where it is required by lawjust like those of the European Union.

Why Apple is against third-party stores

The Cupertino giant has always taken sides openly against the Digital Markets Act because of danger which brings with it sideloading. Installing applications from alternative sources, according to Apple, means constantly exposing your devices and, consequently, your personal information to threats and dangers. However, this cannot happen when you rely on the App Store, which is constantly monitored.

In fact, there would even be one economic motivation. As is known, developers are obliged to pay Apple a commission for each app purchase and in-app purchase. By relying on alternative stores, however, developers will no longer be forced to follow App Store guidelinestherefore they will not have to take into account the “tax” foreseen by the Californian giant.

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