Sideloading on iOS 17 Will Be Chargeable and Apple Will Review Apps: Report

Sideloading on iOS 17
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In Short
  • A report by Wall Street Journal says Apple will charge users for sideloading apps from third-party app stores.
  • There will also be a review system set by Apple for the sideloaded apps.
  • Sideloading will arrive on iOS with the release of iOS 17.4.

European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is set to come into force on March 7, 2024, and Apple has until a few weeks to allow sideloading apps on iOS. However, an insider report by the Wall Street Journal has detailed the implementation and some information on the forthcoming changes. It is expected that Apple will allow sideloading on iOS 17 with the release of iOS 17.4 but users will be charged to sideload apps from third-party app stores.

In a paywalled report, Wall Street Journal, citing internal sources, has mentioned that Apple will allow users to download apps from third-party app stores for the first time to comply with the DMA. As per the report, Apple will charge users to sideload apps from stores other than the App Store and will also conduct app reviews for the sideloaded apps.

App Store sideloading
Image Courtesy: Apple

Previously, it was reported by Bloomberg’s Mark Gurman that Apple will split the App Store into two parts to allow sideloading in iOS 17 with one version allowing users to sideload apps from third-party app stores and the other being the App Store as it is.

Today’s report does not mention whether Apple will rake in commissions from app developers for the apps sideloaded from third-party app stores. Currently, Apple charges a 27% commission from app developers for all in-app purchases.

Moreover, the details of the review system which will be put into place to review apps sideloaded from third-party app stores are also not clear at the moment. If the speculation of Apple reviewing apps downloaded from external sources turns out to be true, it could position the company well enough to ask for commissions from developers.

It is noteworthy that Apple will allow sideloading in iOS only in Europe to comply with the DMA. Users from other regions will not be offered the functionality.

While Apple was expected to introduce sideloading in iOS 17 at the WWDC 2023 event, it is now believed that sideloading will be available in iOS 17 with iOS 17.4 which is imminent.

Will you be willing to pay for sideloading in iOS 17? Express your opinion.

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