Apple’s policy won’t be changing any time soon.
Apple will still restrict the sideloading of apps on iOS devices, consistent with a recently released report. Allowing users to download and install apps from outside of its App Store ecosystem would present “serious security risks” and put users within the way of dangerous and potentially malicious content.
Apple’s staunch rules regarding app development and distribution on its platform are documented, with the corporate ruling the App Store with control. However, in recent years, developers and regulators have pushed the corporate to revise many of its rules, alleging uncompetitive and monopolistic practices.
Apple: App Store Protections Vital for Security
We built industry-leading security protections into the device, and that we created the App Store, a trusted place where users can safely discover and download apps. App Store apps come from known developers who have agreed to follow our guidelines and are securely distributed to users free from interference from third parties.
Herein lies the crux of Apple’s arguments against allowing users and developers to put in apps outside the App Store ecosystem. The statement, taken from an Apple report [PDF] exploring the importance of App Store protections, is among the most reasons that Apple’s iOS mobile OS is so safe. There are only a few that would argue against Apple’s rationale.
The report further explains that “Allowing sideloading would degrade the safety of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks” also as “expose users to scammers who will exploit apps to mislead users, attack iPhone security measures, and violate user privacy.”
Malicious Apps: Apple’s App Store vs. Google’s Play Store
Held up against Google’s Play Store, Apple’s App Store may be a paragon of how an app store should operate. A cursory internet search will reveal the maximum amount, with the Play Store regularly fingered because the main distribution point for mobile malware.
And even while the App Store isn’t freed from malware, scams, and other malicious apps, the sheer volume found within the Play Store makes it a way more dangerous proposition for users.
Part of that reason is that Google operates the Play Store more openly than the App Store. As a result, almost anyone can develop and upload an app to the Play Store. Given the number of Android users compared to iOS, there’s a far greater chance that somebody will download a malicious app.
But the opposite difference affecting the Android ecosystem is that Apple’s report warns against sideloading apps. While the Play Store contains malicious apps that have made it through Google’s security and protection, you’ll also download and install Android apps from countless third-party websites.
The majority of those websites are unvetted and, as such, present a significant security issue, one that Apple knows all too well, if only through observation of its main competitors.
Uncompetitive Practices at Apple
Critics of the report contend that restricting the sideloading of apps for security is one thing, but forcing every app within the App Store ecosystem handy over 30 percent of each sale is criminal in itself.
The comments come on the rear of the continued Apple vs. Epic Games case, during which Epic contends that the so-called “Apple tax” is above and beyond an inexpensive level of cost. Both companies await the ultimate verdict.
For now, Apple has made it clear: sideloading apps onto iOS devices isn’t happening any time soon. As iOS consistently ranks among the foremost secure operating systems, why would you like anything different?