The EU’s Digital Markets Act antitrust legislation passed last year will force Apple to allow users to install third-party apps from outside the iOS App Store, a process known as sideloading. Apple is yet to reveal how exactly it will comply with the legislation, but the company reportedly plans to do so very soon.
Sideloading coming to iOS users in the EU
According to Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman, Apple is expected to roll out the update that will enable sideloading for iPhone and iPad users in Europe “in the coming weeks.” Interestingly, Gurman says that due to these changes, the App Store will be split in two. There will be one version for EU countries and another for the rest of the world.
The DMA requires Apple to allow developers to distribute their iOS apps outside the App Store. Third-party apps will also be allowed to use third-party payment platforms for in-app purchases. The company has been secretly working to comply with the DMA since last year.
Apple’s VP of Software Craig Federighi acknowledged last year that the company will have to comply with EU legislation. The deadline for companies to comply with the DMA legislation is March 7.
9to5Mac reported last year that iOS 16.2 introduced a new internal system that allows Apple to restrict system features based on the user’s location. This system could be used to ensure that only users located in the EU can sideload apps onto their devices. Of course, if required, Apple can flip the switch to enable sideloading in more countries.
More countries want to pass antitrust legislation against Apple
A recent report revealed that Japan is also preparing its own antitrust legislation that would force Apple to enable sideloading in iOS. Similar to the EU, Japan also wants Apple to allow developers to implement alternative payment methods in their apps.
At the same time, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) also seems ready to force Apple to allow sideloading on the iPhone and iPad. Given the current situation, it seems quite likely that Apple will eventually make sideloading available globally rather than handling the situation individually for each country that passes new antitrust legislation.
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