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Apple might not allow sideloading on iPhones in the US, because why would it?

To double down, Apple might even charge developers to be a part of the sideloading feature.

Published onApril 21, 2023

iPhone 13 Pro six months later placed in front of books
Dhruv Bhutani / Android Authority
  • According to a noted Apple analyst, iPhone sideloading might not be allowed in the United States.
  • Apple might lock sideloading to locations in which it is forced to do so by the government.
  • It’s also suggested that Apple could charge developers who want to allow sideloading of their apps.

Thanks to the Digital Markets Act in the European Union, Apple is going to need to allow the installation of apps on iPhones that don’t come from the App Store. This practice — known as sideloading — will open up a whole new world for iPhone users. Ever since the first iPhone in 2007, these users have only had the App Store as a source for apps (not counting jailbroken iPhones).

However, temper your expectations if you live in the US and are excited about iPhone sideloading. In a new interview with MacRumors, noted Apple analyst Mark Gurman suggests the US might not get this new accessibility.

“I think it will be a Europe-only feature,” Gurman said. “I think that they’re [Apple] not going to shoot themselves in the foot and expand this globally if they don’t have to. They’re not gonna do anything extraneous that would further hurt their grip on the App Store. They’re really going to stick to the letter of the law here.”

The Digital Markets Act only applies to countries within the EU, so that would mean the majority of iPhone users wouldn’t be able sideload apps.

Elsewhere, Gurman says Apple might even charge developers for third-party store installs. This is remarkable, as no other major platform does this — Android, Windows, or even macOS. Gurman suggests Apple could use configuration profiles of apps to determine where they originated and then charge those developers who offer the same app on the App Store.

Finally, Gurman also suggests Apple might do this all very quietly. He does not expect the company to address iPhone sideloading at the Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC), which Apple holds every year in June. Instead, he expects the company to deal directly with affected developers.

You can hear more about what Gurman thinks will happen at the MacRumors Show.

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