Sideloading apps is one of the many comforts Android users have enjoyed for years. It’s when you can download an app from stores and resources other than Google’s official Play Store. On the other hand, Apple’s infamous walled garden has always kept iPhone users away from third-party app stores. It seems iOS 17 will finally bring a change to Apple’s years of sideloading restriction.
According to Bloomberg’s recent leak about everything coming to WWDC 2023, iOS 17 could lay the groundwork for sideloading apps on iPhones. The exact language in the article is as follows:
iOS 17 will cause some noise beyond WWDC itself. Apple is working to overhaul the software to open up the iPhone to sideloading — the downloading of apps outside of its official store — to comply with new European regulations by next year.
Apple’s plans to allow sideloaded apps on iOS were laid bare last December. The EU’s Digital Markets Act is set to go into effect in May this year, and it would require Apple to offer iPhone app sideloading or access to third-party app stores. Bloomberg previously reported that Apple is only working on this for the European region. The company is not obligated to make similar adjustments in the US and other areas that don’t have equivalent regulations.
If iOS 17 ends up bringing sideloading capabilities or access to other app stores other than Apple’s official app repository, it will make owning an iPhone in Europe wildly different from anywhere else in the world. If this is a wider shift in Apple’s policy, it could genuinely tilt the scales when it comes to the iOS vs Android debate.