Apple is set to introduce sideloading for iOS devices in the European Union

Things are getting interesting!

In a significant development for Apple users in the European Union (EU), the tech giant is reportedly preparing to introduce sideloading, which will allow users to install third-party apps outside of the official iOS App Store. This move is in response to the EU’s antitrust legislation, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which was passed last year and is expected to reshape the digital landscape.

The Digital Markets Act is taking a firm stand

The European Commission made headlines last year when it designated six major companies as gatekeepers under the DMA, including Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, ByteDance, Meta, and Microsoft. The legislation identified 22 essential platform services offered by these companies. Among the changes ordered by the DMA is Apple’s obligation to allow users to install applications from sources other than the App Store, also known as sideloading.

Although Apple has not yet revealed how it will comply with the DMA, reports indicate that the company is on the verge of releasing an update that will allow sideloading for iPhone and iPad users in the EU. According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, this update is expected to be released “in the coming weeks.” Notably, the introduction of sideloading will result in a division within the App Store, with different versions for EU countries and the rest of the world.

Apple faces Lawsuit. Apple new program Founders
Image via Apple

As Apple works to meet DMA requirements, users in the EU can expect a redesigned App Store experience. The implementation of sideloading implies that one version will be designed for EU countries and another for users in other parts of the world. This move reflects Apple’s commitment to complying with the DMA, which requires developers to be able to distribute their iOS apps outside of the App Store.

This reminds me of the fight between Epic Games, the creators of Fortnite, against Google and Apple. These companies used to charge a steep 30% fee for in-app purchases, such as for Fortnite skins. Epic Games was not pleased and filed a complaint. Now, with the changes Apple is making and the expected sideloading for iOS devices in the EU, they will no longer be able to impose these fees on game developers.

Supreme Court denies Apple and Epic Games’ appeals in Antitrust dispute

The Supreme Court recently denied Apple and Epic Games their requests for the court to hear their antitrust case. The dispute centers on Apple’s restrictive policies, which prevent developers from informing users about alternative payment methods, a practice that is considered anti-competitive.

Despite the denial, the court rulings required Apple to allow developers to include links and other methods in their apps, allowing users to avoid Apple’s payment system and developing a more competitive environment.

Apple had previously delayed implementing these changes through legal appeals, but with the Supreme Court’s decision, the clock is ticking for the tech giant to reconsider and potentially overhaul its anti-steering rules, resulting in significant shifts in the App Store’s future policies.

Apple’s EU update promises a more open app experience for iPhone and iPad users

Apple’s Vice President of Software, Craig Federighi, acknowledged last year that the company would have to comply with EU legislation. The deadline for companies to comply with the DMA legislation is March 7, 2024, increasing pressure on tech giants to make the necessary changes.

Apple sideloading European Union
Image via Apple

As Apple prepares to introduce sideloading in the EU, iPhone and iPad users can expect a more open app ecosystem. The move not only complies with EU regulations but also reflects a broader trend of increased user choice and flexibility in the digital marketplace. Stay tuned for the upcoming update, which promises to bring in a new era of app accessibility for Apple enthusiasts in the EU.

What are your thoughts on the news that Apple is set to introduce sideloading for iOS devices in the European Union? Do let us know in the comments below!

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