iPhone users in the USA are miffed about sideloading – but they shouldn't be

Apple are working with the EU to offer the feature, but it may not extend to other territories

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(Image credit: Future)

The recent WWDC 2023 event brought a whole host of new software and hardware to market. As one of the most widespread operating systems, iOS 17 was particularly noteworthy.

We saw a host of new features for the system. That should make it more intuitive than ever to use your iPhone. But there was one very notable omission from the launch event.

Sideloading was talked about a lot in the run up to the event. The functionality would allow users to install apps from non-Apple app stores, or even directly from the internet. It's something we know is coming – Apple's hand is being forced by the EU.

We also know Apple aren't too keen on the idea. Depending on your level of cynicism, that's either because Apple wants to protect the safety of its users with regulated apps, or because they'll miss out on a pretty tidy 30% commission.

As reported by specialist Apple site, iMore, further information was given after the keynote event ended. Apple's Senior Vice President of Software Engineering, Craig Federighi, appeared on The Talk Show, where he was quizzed about the feature.

When asked about sideloading, Federighi replied, "We want to make sure that whatever we do, we're doing the right thing for our customers. We're working with the EU safe compliance and what that will look like."

There was no mention of the functionality for users in other territories. It's fair to assume, though, that Apple wont give up their security and profitability unless they absolutely have to.

That prospect has annoyed some users in places like the USA. But I don't think they should be.

Sure, it can be frustrating to miss out on functionality which is available in other locations, but this is a state-mandated feature. It's far from a central facet of the way the device operates, either.

I like to think of it a bit like going for a drink. The Apple App Store is like a really swish private members club. You can rest assured, knowing that this place is much more stringent about what they serve you. And yes, you might find the same drinks in other bars – it might even cost less there. You could probably buy some online, too. But you risk having less stringent safety measures in place.

In much the same way, sideloading would mean you could download apps from other places. I just can't think of many reasons why you would. Nine times out of ten, the extra few pence a developer might put on the App Store price is worth the peace of mind.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.