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iOS 17 May Introduce Sideloading Support for iPhone and iPad in Europe, Sparking Concerns over Security and Malware Risks

A new leaker, who has a proven track record, is creating a stir with claims about the upcoming iOS 17 features. This individual, who goes by the name of @analyst941 on Twitter and MacRumors Forums, has provided details about the features that Apple is currently working on, some of which are quite controversial. According to this person’s sources, iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 will introduce sideloading support for iPhone and iPad, but only in Europe.

Sideloading is a feature that has been available on Android devices for years, and it allows users to install applications from any source, not just the App Store. Apple has been steadfast in its opposition to sideloading on iPhone and iPad, citing security concerns as a primary reason for its stance. The concern is that malicious individuals could use sideloading to trick people into installing apps that could compromise their sensitive personal data.

@analyst941 has mentioned in replies to their thread about iOS 17 features that sideloading will be available on iPhones and iPads in Europe. However, it remains to be seen whether this claim will hold up, and if so, how Apple will address the potential security risks that come with sideloading.

It’s worth noting that while Apple is apparently considering introducing sideloading support to iPhone and iPad in Europe, Google is reportedly planning to block the sideloading of certain apps on its upcoming Android 14 operating system. This is an interesting contrast between the two tech giants, and it may be driven by Europe’s new Digital Markets Act (DMA) legislation.

The DMA will require companies like Apple to allow the installation of any app on their devices, meaning that iPhone and iPad users in Europe could install applications on these devices just as easily as on Mac and Windows. However, this could also increase the risk of users unknowingly downloading malicious apps, particularly those who may not be tech-savvy.

Apple’s strict control over the iPhone and iPad app ecosystem has been a key security feature for many users, as it minimizes the risk of accidentally downloading malicious apps. It’s important to consider the potential consequences of sideloading, particularly in cases where younger family members might mistakenly download harmful apps on their iPhones or iPads.

An example of this risk can be seen with the Fortnite malware apps that appeared when Epic Games decided to make the game available as a sideload instead of a Google Play download. This is also the reason why Fortnite is currently banned on iPhones. While sideloading can offer greater flexibility and freedom, it also presents new security risks that should not be overlooked.

If iOS 17 does indeed introduce sideloading support, it’s likely that some users in Europe will take advantage of the feature to download games like Fortnite. However, it’s unclear what measures Apple will take to ensure the security and safety of users who choose to sideload apps. Additionally, if sideloading does become a feature in iOS 17, it’s possible that third-party app stores will also become available on the platform.

The leaker who shared these claims has a proven track record of accurately revealing features of upcoming iPhones. For example, they correctly predicted the Dynamic Island feature in the iPhone 14, as well as the solid-state buttons and new custom chip in the iPhone 15. The leaker still believes that solid-state buttons are coming to the iPhone 15 Pro models, despite recent rumors to the contrary.

We’ll have to wait until WWDC 2023 to see if Apple confirms or denies these claims. However, if sideloading support is indeed added to iOS 17, it’s possible that Apple may not announce it until the very end of the development process, given the potential security concerns involved.

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