Apple Allows Sideloading Apps on iPhone Unveiled in Europe

Apple introduces sideloading for iPhones in the EU with iOS 17.4. Explore user benefits, safety measures, and the regulatory landscape.

2. Feb 2024
Apple Allows Sideloading Apps on iPhone Unveiled in Europe

Apple is set to introduce sideloading capabilities for iPhone users in the European Union with the upcoming iOS 17.4 update, scheduled for release in March. This shift is a direct response to the EU's Digital Markets Act, reflecting a significant departure from Apple's traditional closed ecosystem. This article will delve into what this means for users, the mechanics of sideloading on iPhones, the reasoning behind Apple's decision, and the safety measures in place to protect users and their devices.

What Sideloading Means for Users?

Sideloading, a term familiar to Android users, is the process of installing apps on a device without relying on the official app store. Until now, iPhone users were confined to the Apple App Store for app installations. With sideloading enabled, users gain the ability to download apps from the web or alternate app stores, offering greater flexibility and choice.

For iPhone users residing in any of the 27 EU countries, this change allows them to download and install apps from third-party sources. These apps will be accessible through "alternate marketplaces" or third-party app stores, granting users the freedom to download apps that may not adhere to Apple's strict App Store guidelines.

However, it's crucial to note that this shift only applies to the European Union. Users in the rest of the world will continue to be bound by Apple's App Store for app downloads.

Why Apple is Enabling Sideloading on iPhones?

The catalyst behind Apple's decision lies in the EU's Digital Markets Act, enacted in 2022 to regulate major tech corporations and prevent anti-competitive practices. Apple was identified as a "gatekeeper," and its App Store, Safari browser, and iOS operating system were designated as "core platform services" subject to compliance with the DMA's regulations.

How Sideloading Works on iPhone?

iOS 17.4 introduces the ability for users to install alternative app marketplace apps. When users opt to download, they will be prompted to review the app's information before granting permission for installation. Users can download marketplace apps from a website owned by the developer after obtaining approval.

A new setting will allow iPhone users to manage their default marketplace, empowering them to choose an alternative marketplace over Apple's App Store. The ability to manage and delete allowed marketplace developers and apps ensures users have control over their app ecosystem.

Safety Considerations

While sideloading provides increased freedom, it also introduces new risks for users and their devices. Apple acknowledges its limited ability to address potential app-related risks, such as scams, fraud, abusive content, and harmful material exposure. To mitigate these risks, Apple is implementing safeguards, including notarization for iOS apps, ensuring they meet stringent standards for accuracy, functionality, safety, security, and privacy.

Additional measures, such as app installation sheets, authorization for marketplace developers, and enhanced malware protection, aim to provide a secure sideloading experience. App Tracking Transparency will remain functional outside the App Store, requiring user consent before developers can track data across apps or sites.

When will Sideloading be Available to iPhone Users?

The eagerly awaited sideloading feature will be available with the release of iOS 17.4 in March, coinciding with the enforcement of the European Union's Digital Markets Act. Developers can already explore and test this functionality in the iOS 17.4 beta version, contributing to the anticipation surrounding this monumental shift in Apple's app distribution paradigm.


As Apple opens the door to sideloading on iPhones, users in the European Union can look forward to a more versatile app experience. The move reflects a strategic response to regulatory changes, providing users with greater autonomy over their app choices. However, the safety measures implemented by Apple underscore the company's commitment to maintaining a secure environment for users. The unveiling of sideloading in iOS 17.4 marks a pivotal moment in Apple's approach to app distribution, setting the stage for potential future developments in the global landscape.

Note - We can not guarantee that the information on this page is 100% correct. Some article is created with help of AI.


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