Apple explains why sideloading and third-party app stores are bad



Apple has shared a new document today that describes what significant role the Apps Store plays to protect its users from malicious content, and highlights the importance of a trusted ecosystem that hosts millions of apps.

The document explains that the App Store ensures that all uploaded content is free of inappropriate content, respects privacy and is also free of malware and other malicious content. Interestingly, the document also highlights a 2020 Threat Intelligence Report that has found Android devices to be 15 times more infectious than iPhone.

“A study found that devices that run on Android had 15 times more infections from malicious software than iPhone, with a key reason being that Android apps “can be downloaded from just about anywhere,” while everyday iPhone users can only download apps from one source: the App Store.”

Apple has also tried to explain why sideloading could negatively impact both the iOS platform and the experience for millions of users worldwide. Apple has also explained that users may be forced to accept privacy and security risks, which then scammers could use to trick people.

“Allowing sideloading would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store. Because of the large size of the iPhone user base and the sensitive data stored on their phones – photos, location data, health and financial information – allowing sideloading would spur a flood of new investment into attacks on the platform. Malicious actors would take advantage of the opportunity by devoting more resources to develop sophisticated attacks targeting iOS users, thereby expanding the set of weaponized exploits and attacks – often referred to as a “threat model” – that all users need to be safeguarded against. This increased risk of malware attacks puts all users at greater risk, even those who only download apps from the App Store.”

Ultimately, Apple doesn’t want to implement the changes because it doesn’t want people to be on a constant lookout, worrying about the security and privacy of their devices and their private data. A third-party store and sideloading would negatively impact Apple’s business, so we’ll likely hear Apple push against it again in the coming weeks and months.




Roland is a technology enthusiast and software engineer based in United Kingdom.





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