Sideloading iOS apps is not a thing that’s possible right now in the default setting of Apple’s most popular mobile operating system. But it is a pipe dream for a lot of people. Even for the folks who aren’t already jailbreaking their devices. But, if you ask Craig Federighi, it doesn’t look like Apple’s even kind of considering the idea.
Federighi, who oversees both iOS and macOS software efforts, recently spoke at this year’s Web Summit. And he did not mince words when it comes to security of iOS, especially as it relates to sideloading apps. He said this:
Sideloading is a cyber criminal’s best friend and requiring that on iPhone would be a gold rush for the malware industry.
Federighi was speaking out against the proposed Digital Markets Act, which is being proposed by the European Commission. If it passes, it would require that Apple allow users install apps from outside of the App Store. That’s obviously not great for Apple’s business in general, even if it is just a small part of the company’s overall money making initiatives.
Federighi says that there are “5 million Android attacks per month” when it comes to malware. And that’s what Federighi is commenting on here, saying that allowing sideloading on iOS would simply open up the floodgates. Federighi argues that the lack of this “feature” on iOS is why malware attacks aren’t a huge deal when compared to the primary mobile OS competitor on the market.
Federighi also has an argument when it comes to letting the users choose when they want to sideload apps or not. The Apple executive argues that criminals are great at hiding “in plain sight,” and even if they tried to implement something that allows for users to choose when to install apps out of the App Store, malware would still root in.
There are a lot of ways to mislead users, whether they are informed or not, Federighi says. Opening up the possibility for more users to get duped just doesn’t seem like something Apple wants to even entertain.
In conclusion, Federighi says:
The fact that anyone can be harmed by malware isn’t something that we should stand for.
Now, it’s worth noting here that, despite Apple’s stringent rules and guidelines for the App Store, there are a lot of scam apps available to download directly from Apple’s digital storefront. There are many con apps that are actually approved by the App Store reviewers.
Whatever Apple wants to happen might be a moot point, as a lot of government bodies are starting to take matters into their own hands.