Apple rails against sideloading apps in iPhone

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Apple has been publicly critical of sideloading apps on its ecosystem several times in the past. In yet another glimpse of the tech major’s stance on the topic, a top Apple executive has spoken out against any possible law in the future that will require Apple to open its app store to sideloading.

Apple senior vice president Craig Federighi recently took the stage at Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon to share his views on the topic. Federighi spoke of the Digital Markets Act legislation, introduced last year that might force Apple to allow the installation of apps on iPhones from outside the App Store.

Known to be a fact, the Apple executive had one trump card in the argument. Apple has always kept iOS protected from intrusions of malware and other threats online. Over the decades, the operating system for iPhones has gained a global fanbase for its secure ecosystem, many thanks to its strict review for apps listed on App Store.

Allowing the practice of sideloading apps on iOS would be a major hit to this edge Apple has. In a slide, Federighi noted that there are around “5 million Android attacks per month.” Apple’s app review for its App Store limits such a potential for threat actors on the iOS system.

Federighi went on to compare this advantage of iOS with the security system of a house. He said that the proposed law can weaken this security system and that it would be comparable to having “a fatal flaw in its security system.” He warned that the threat actors in such cases “are really good at exploiting” such weaknesses.

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Federighi deemed that such sideloading of apps “is a cybercriminal’s best friend.” If such a practice is allowed, the iPhone ecosystem can be vulnerable to the spread of malware on it. Using rather dramatic words to stress his point, Federighi claimed that the legislation would serve as a “Pandora’s box of unreviewed, malware-ridden software.”

Federighi has a point that no one can deny. The only possible argument to this is the freedom of choice that sideloading of apps allows smartphone users. iPhone owners have been unaware of this, but for good reasons, as per Federighi. He mentions that letting people choose whether or not to sideload apps comes with risks.