Apple iPhone users have long been restricted to downloading apps exclusively from the App Store. But this is poised to change in 2024 and users may be able to install third-party apps on iPhones, thanks to EU regulations. The EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA), which came into effect in 2022, is the driving force behind this significant shift. The latest iPhone 15 series comes equipped with USB-C ports, and it’s a result of EU mandate.

Apple may let EU iPhone users sideload apps

Apple may have to allow EU users to sideload third-party apps on iPhones, as a result of DMA. This also corroborates with previous reports by Mark Gurman. Mark Gurman, via Bloomberg, reported that Apple could allow the installation of third-party apps to comply with laws.

iOS sideloading was previously rumored to land with Apple iOS 17.2 software update. However, it seems less likely due to its EU-exclusive nature. Nonetheless, it will roll out eventually in the EU iPhones by the first half of 2024 through a future iOS 17 update.

Apart from allowing side-loading, Cupertino’s behemoth may also have to make changes to its payment apps, as well as Messages, to align with EU regulations.

Apple hasn’t been in favor of sideloading so far

Apple, in the past, has expressed concerns about potential security risks associated with allowing iPhone users to sideload apps. It cited the possibility of malware risk through third-party apps. The right concerns will soon come live as EU users begin sideloading third-party apps in the coming months.

There are also a set of conditions to publish an app on the App Store. For example, the app must be built with a minimum Xcode 15 and iOS 17 SDK. But, it’ll be interesting to see how Apple deals with it or say how app publishers get away with the requirements.

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