For the past few years, Apple has heard from several directions that it needed to change its long-standing App Store policies. One of those policies is to not allow users to sideload apps. Apple published a document this week making its case against sideloading apps, holding up Android as the reason against the practice.
Apple’s Case Against Android
Android allows users to sideload apps. This process allows users to download and install apps away from a platform’s app storefront. This has intensified the pressure on Apple to do the same. The United States, Europe, and other regions have proposed legislation that would force Apple to allow its mobile users to sideload apps away from the App Store.
With malware a concern to many, Apple made the case that if it allowed users to sideload apps, it would increase the chances of its users getting hit with malware.
Apple allowed in its security report, titled “Building a Trusted Ecosystem of Millions of Apps – A threat analysis of sideloading,” that 2019 and 2020 reports from Nokia showed Android had a 15 to 47 times greater chance of being hit with malware than Apple did. This is undoubtedly a stat the Cupertino tech giant has been holding onto, waiting for the perfect time to use it.
That time is now.
Apple Used Industry Experts to Help Build its Case
Apple believes if it would allow iOS users to sideload apps, it would “cripple the privacy and security protections that have made iPhone so secure and expose users to serious security risks.”
The report added that “sideloading would make it easier and cheaper to execute many attacks that are currently difficult and costly to execute on iOS.”
Citing examples of harm to a user’s family and friends and cybercriminals tricking iOS users, Apple surmised, “Mobile malware harms consumers, companies, developers, and advertisers.”
Apple also used the words of industry experts to help make its case against allowing iOS users to sideload apps. “Users should avoid (and enterprises should prohibit on their devices) sideloading of apps and the use of unauthorized app stores,” it quoted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as saying. “Users should only download applications from Google Play and not from third-party sources to minimize the risk of installing a malicious application,” The European Agency for Cybersecurity had said.
Interpol and Kaspersky Lab had reportedly said, “Third-party apps pose a security threat to users who enable the installation of apps from unverified sources.” Even Norton was quoted as saying, “One way to minimize danger from third-party app stores is to avoid them.”
This fight is far from over, but Apple’s published report should give them a little breathing room before they are hit with more demands. However, this is Apple’s business model. It has grown its reputation on placing importance on security and privacy. If that is taken away, it may just put the company in a precarious position.
Not that Apple is completely removed from cybercriminal activity. Read on to learn about the scam apps that were discovered on the App Store. Also read about its other App Store troubles with its Epic battle with Fortnite.