According to Bloomberg journalist Mark Gurman, in the first half of 2024, European iPhone users will start being able to download and install apps on their devices without having to use Apple’s App Store.
This fundamental change in the way apps are installed and managed on iOS devices was forced on Apple by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which came into effect on November 1, 2022. This law requires “gatekeeper” entities, such as Apple, to open their services And their platforms to other companies and developers.
The process of installing apps without going through a brand’s official store is generally called “sideloading” and can be done using a computer or from other companies’ app stores. This practice has been around on Android for several years.
Historically, Apple has been opposed to “sideloading” apps, and even published a report justifying this opposition and describing why absolute control over the origin of apps is an advantage, especially with regard to security.
The deadline for gatekeepers to comply with EU law expires on March 6, 2024, so Apple is expected to implement the changes before that date. Microsoft has already made changes to Windows 11 to allow for the integration of third-party app stores, and as mentioned earlier, Android has already allowed “sideloading” for several years.
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