The latest version of the US government’s spending bill would allow smartphone users to install apps that haven’t been vetted by Apple Inc or Google parent Alphabet Inc, which would violate its App Store guidelines, according to people familiar with the matter. The inclusion of such language in a bill unveiled late Monday by congressional leaders drew concern from Apple and Google, said people who asked not to be identified because the conversations are private. They said lawmakers included the provision at the behest of video game makers, who rely on sideloading apps to circumvent an app store controlled by Apple or Google. Apple Says Bill Poses Dangers
Apple’s opposition to Sideloading
Apple doesn’t believe that Sideloading, which allows for apps to be installed outside of Apple’s official App Store, is safe or efficient. The company argues that it’s a security risk and could result in apps being used by minors. Critics also argue that sideloading would give Apple less control over what types of apps are available on its devices—an outcome it might welcome but not one that necessarily benefits users.
The dangers of Sideloading
A bill introduced in Congress would allow consumers to sideload apps and programs onto their devices, a move many say could lead to serious security risks for Apple users. Sideloading refers to loading an app that has not been approved by Apple on its App Store, a practice previously banned under iTunes terms of service. Many have warned that allowing third-party software developers access to customers’ devices would open those customers up to increased security risks and viruses.
A better solution than sideloading
Our phones can only run apps that have been approved by Apple and have been hosted in their app store. This is a simple solution that has many benefits for both consumers and developers alike. Here are just a few of those benefits
Bill Gates weighs in
The government’s definition of what is ‘fair’ may be different than Apple’s. The law, however, can only force you to do what it says; it can’t force you to do more or less. That means that in addition to stripping out many of Apple’s most innovative features, [the bill] could undermine security for millions of iPhones—disabling important protections like encryption and automatically installing future updates. (via Business Insider)
Why sideloading isn’t a good idea
Sideloading is a term for installing apps on an Android device via sources other than Google Play, and according to Bloomberg , Apple says that’s unsafe. The company told U.S. lawmakers in a letter today that sideloading apps isn’t user friendly, and opens up users to potential malware risks because of how sideloaded apps aren’t vetted by Google Play moderators.
Why Apple is right
Apple’s chief of iTunes, Eddy Cue, explained why he thinks a particular bill passed by Congress poses dangers to users: While it may seem like harmless fun now, sideloading can quickly become a habit and lead to bigger problems down the road. We’ve already seen that apps on our platform designed to prank or bully have been some of those with highest rates of installs from sources outside of Apple.