iOS 17.2 beta code reveals Apple may soon enable sideloading apps on iPhone

Apple has recently released the iOS 17.2 beta update to the public, and within the code, there are indications that sideloading apps, also known as downloading apps from third-party app stores, may soon be available for iPhones.

9to5 Mac, a vigilant team, discovered a new public framework called "Managed App Distribution" in the iOS 17.2 beta code. Initially, they speculated that this API could be connected to modernizing MDM (Mobile Device Management) solutions for installing enterprise apps. However, a few inconsistencies in this theory quickly arose. Firstly, iPhones already possess this capability. Additionally, the API references a region lock, which wouldn't make much sense for MDM solutions. However, it would be essential if sideloading apps were to be enabled in certain countries in adherence to local regulations.

Upon further investigation, 9to5 Mac found that this API includes basic controls for downloading, installing, and updating apps from external sources. It also includes an extension endpoint declared in the system, which allows other apps to create extensions of this kind. Furthermore, there is an unused entitlement that can grant third-party apps the necessary permissions to install other apps on iPhones.

A Bloomberg report from April had previously detailed Apple's intentions to pave the way for sideloading apps with iOS 17, finally granting iPhone users access to a feature that has long been available on the best Android phones. Traditionally, Apple has maintained a closed ecosystem for the iPhone, allowing users to only download apps from the official App Store. If sideloading is enabled, iPhone users will have the ability to download apps from sources outside the App Store for the first time. Furthermore, it offers iOS developers an alternative to bypass Apple's 15-30% share of App Store purchases.

This initiative is primarily in response to new European Union regulations, which compel Apple to open up its services and platforms to other developers and provide users with the option to download apps from various sources. The European Union's Digital Markets Act, set to take effect in 2024, represents a significant revision of the EU's digital regulations.

This is likely why Apple has chosen to promote another feature introduced in the latest iOS 17 beta: spatial video recording for capturing 3D videos. While users can enable this feature and start recording, they won't be able to enjoy these lifelike videos to their fullest until the release of the Apple Vision Pro, expected sometime next year.


Post a Comment