Apple Warns iPhone Sideloading Changes Will Increase Cyber Threats

The tech giant says that being more open to comply with EU regulations brings risks such as malware, fraud, and scams.

Dark Reading Staff, Dark Reading

January 30, 2024

1 Min Read
Someone holding an iPhone with the apple logo in the background
Source: GK Images via Alamy Stock Photo

In an effort to comply with the European Union's Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple is making changes to iOS, Safari, and the App Store that would open up its walled garden to support third-party app stores (and apps) and non-Apple payment processing options, as well as allow default Web browsers other than Safari.

These changes will also include more than 600 new APIs, among other things.

According to Apple, these additions and alterations, such as allowing sideloading of non-Apple-vetted apps, come with heightened risk of malware, fraud, scams, and harmful content, among other issues. Apple says it is mitigating these threats by providing notarization for sideloaded iOS apps and disclosures on alternative payments, though some risks will remain. 

"The changes we're announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act’s requirements in the European Union, while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings," Apple fellow Phil Schiller stated.

The DMA aims to regulate large digital platforms such as app stores, messaging services, and search engines (these categories are otherwise known as "gatekeepers"), in a quest to prevent monopolistic behavior. Apple reports that in March it will release resources to help guide EU users through the changes that are being made and best practices to avoid potential risks. The changes will not extend beyond Europe, so it will be business as usual for Apple users in the US and elsewhere.

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Dark Reading Staff

Dark Reading

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