Apple’s iOS 17.4 update will witness the iPhone manufacturer unlock its app store and iOS environment to external parties for the first time in history. According to an announcement made by Apple, this game-changing move is in compliance with the EU Digital Markets Act, and it will allow app side-loading starting in March when iOS 17.4 is launched.
The forthcoming change in iOS 17.4 will be well received by iPhone users in the EU who desire the same freedom that Google’s Android users currently have. However, Apple has cautioned that sideloading and the resulting adjustments that must be made to iOS and its environment will expose iPhone users to significant security hazards.
What’s Changing In iOS 17.4?
With the aim of enhancing competition and preventing tech giants like Apple from dominating the market, the Digital Markets Act will introduce new options for disseminating iOS apps from alternative app marketplaces, stated Apple. It is also adding a new framework and APIs for developing alternative app marketplaces.
In addition, developers will be permitted to utilize browsers other than WebKit for browser apps and apps with in-app browsing experiences.
Where Will Sideloading Be Available?
Apple disclosed that the changes in iOS 17.4 will be accessible in the EU. However, there are reports stating that the UK will be excluded from the changes, at least for the time being.
How Will Sideloading In iOS 17.4 Work?
According to 9to5Mac, sideloading won’t be openly available. Apple will only permit certain app stores referred to as “App Marketplaces” to distribute apps, provided that they adhere to Apple’s rules and stipulations.
Other changes for EU users in iOS 17.4
Changes to Apple’s Safari browser, including a new choice screen for users to select a default browser, will be made to comply with the requirements of the Digital Markets Act.
What Are The Security Risks?
Apple has warned that the more open ecosystem introduced by the Digital Markets Act may lead to risks such as scams, fraud, and exposure to illicit or harmful content. The company also stated that some existing App Store features will not be compatible with apps downloaded from external sources due to the Act’s requirements.
What Is Apple doing To Boost Security?
Apple stated that it will implement new safeguards to reduce risks and provide a secure experience for users in the EU.
What To Do
With the changes in iOS 17.4, users are advised to be more cautious about where they download apps from and consider sticking to Apple’s official App Store to ensure their devices and data are protected.
Update 01/29 at 05:18 EST. This article was first published on 01/26 at 06:44 EST. Updated to include information on which countries exactly will be affected by the iOS 17.4 change and what this means for UK users.