Apple is on the verge of a groundbreaking change for iPhone users within the European Union. In a recent update from Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, it has been revealed that Apple is actively working towards enabling sideloading of apps on iPhones for EU residents. This move is a response to the latest EU regulations, marking a significant departure from Apple’s traditional App Store exclusivity. Unlike Google’s Android operating system, this feature is expected to remain exclusive to EU iPhone owners.
According to Gurman’s insights shared in his exclusive Power On newsletter, scheduled for the first half of 2024, iPhone users in the EU will gain the ability to sideload apps. This means that users can install applications not available on the official App Store, challenging the previous norms. Contrary to earlier reports suggesting a sooner introduction in iOS 17.2, Gurman clarifies that the rollout is planned for H1 2024.
However, Apple plans to implement a “highly controlled system” for sideloading, ensuring a secure environment for users. This implies that even though users can access apps from external sources, Apple will subject them to rigorous security checks. The cautious approach aligns with Apple’s commitment to maintaining the integrity of its platform, given their concerns about potential security vulnerabilities from external app sources.
In addition to sideloading, Apple is expected to make changes to its payment services and the Messages app to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA). These adjustments signify Apple’s dedication to meeting regulatory requirements while enhancing user experience.
While the development of iOS 18 faced a temporary pause to address bugs in the code, it promises “major new features and designs.” This update is crucial as Apple prepares for the iPhone 16 series, which, according to Gurman, may not bring substantial hardware upgrades. With competitors like Google and Microsoft introducing AI-powered features, Apple aims to impress users with innovative enhancements to the user interface and cutting-edge AI capabilities in the upcoming iOS 18.
Apple’s decision to allow sideloading for EU iPhone users represents a pivotal moment, ushering in a new era of flexibility and choice. As the tech giant navigates regulatory landscapes, the iOS 18 update becomes a focal point for Apple enthusiasts, promising a remarkable evolution in user experience and functionality.