A new iOS update is always cause to see what’s changing in the Apple device ecosystem, but one such change in the upcoming iOS 17 update looks entirely at the behest of the European Union. The EU has come at large tech firms hard in the last year, cracking down on control of the tech space, and one such regulation that has come of it was the demand that Apple allow for sideloading apps onto iOS devices. That update will reportedly come in iOS 17 when it launches.
Word of this feature comes from reporting at MacRumors, which shared word of the feature on iOS 17 this week. Sideloading is when customers and developers load an app onto a device directly from the internet without going through app store ecosystems like Apple’s App Store, which then skims a 15 to 30 percent cut off of sales of that app. Despite the fact that Apple has previously claimed sideloading would “undermine the privacy and security protections” on iOS devices, it still seemingly intends to go through with this change in compliance with the recently enacted Digital Markets Act, which was finalized by the EU in March 2022.
The Digital Markets Act was officially rolled into a package that also included the Digital Services Act. This packages rolled out legislation against companies like Google, Meta, and Apple to lessen the iron fist any of these companies have over use of services and products in their ecosystem, especially when it comes to minimizing or stifling third-party developers and business. Being able to sideload apps onto iOS devices was high on the list of priorities in the EU’s legislation and will allow developers and users to skip the App Store altogether in some cases.
Nonetheless, sideloading in iOS 17 isn’t fully confirmed just yet. We’re expecting to find out more details and even see a roll out of the new operating system around Apple’s WWDC conference in June 2023. Stay tuned for more details and updates as we approach the event.