Biden administration wants Apple to allow iOS sideloading

Daniel Sims

Posts: 818   +33
Staff
In brief: Apple and Google have long faced criticism from regulators in Europe over how tightly they control the distribution of software on their mobile platforms. The two tech giants now face similar rhetoric from the other side of the Atlantic.

A new report from the White House advises American lawmakers to enact legislation to make Apple's and Google's mobile software ecosystems more open. The extensive writeup claims that iOS and Android currently stifle competition between developers with unnecessary hurdles, echoing the European sentiment.

The Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) said consumers should be able to more easily install software on mobile devices from outside the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. While Android technically allows sideloading, the NTIA report claims Google still makes the process too cumbersome.

The Biden administration also decried how some app store policies put third-party developers at a disadvantage compared to the services Apple and Google provide on their respective operating systems. For example, sales commissions prevent third parties from profitably selling music or ebooks within mobile apps, a policy that favors first-party services like iTunes or Apple Books. Restrictions on mobile browsers and cloud gaming are another sore point for developers.

Apple continually insists that the security its walled garden provides is a primary selling point of iPhones and iOS. The NTIA report acknowledges that any legislation requiring sideloading should consider privacy and security concerns.

The European Union enacted such legislation in November in the form of the Digital Markets Act (DMA), and reports indicate Apple is preparing to comply with it. Last December, sources told Bloomberg that Cupertino is readying changes to iOS to allow app installations from outside the App Store, but the timing for the unprecedented move remains unclear.

Although the DMA is currently in force, it won't apply to large "gatekeepers" like Apple and Google until at least the middle of 2023. Furthermore, potential repercussions on the mobile platform holders wouldn't come until next year, so any major changes might not emerge for some time.

Regulators in countries like South Korea and The Netherlands previously forced Apple and Google to let users make in-app purchases through third-party payment processors. EU rules will also force iPhones to support USB-C after 2024, meaning the iPhone 15 (or the following model) will likely switch from Apple's proprietary Lightning cables.

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psycros

Posts: 4,684   +7,130
I support the idea of a single store for security purposes, but that's not Apple or Google's goal. If it was then 30% of apps on the Play store wouldn't be malware and Apple wouldn't be fleecing its developers so hard. What's the solution? Add an easy-to-find setting that allows people to use any store they like while agreeing to have their device assigned to an isolated segment of the manufacture's online infrastructure. If you throw caution to the wind then you only get to interact with others who've done the same. Forget Facetiming with those who stayed within the walled garden - you'll have to settle for the company of your fellow risk-takers. Let the security software industry worry about the people whose life savings suddenly vanish. Norton and company would make a mint, and the device and OS makers could wash their hands of any responsibility.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,236   +4,343
TechSpot Elite
I support the idea of a single store for security purposes, but that's not Apple or Google's goal. If it was then 30% of apps on the Play store wouldn't be malware and Apple wouldn't be fleecing its developers so hard. What's the solution? Add an easy-to-find setting that allows people to use any store they like while agreeing to have their device assigned to an isolated segment of the manufacture's online infrastructure. If you throw caution to the wind then you only get to interact with others who've done the same. Forget Facetiming with those who stayed within the walled garden - you'll have to settle for the company of your fellow risk-takers. Let the security software industry worry about the people whose life savings suddenly vanish. Norton and company would make a mint, and the device and OS makers could wash their hands of any responsibility.
Those billion/trillion dollar companies can come up with proper solutions without being exclusionary.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,236   +4,343
TechSpot Elite
For example, sales commissions prevent third parties from profitably selling music or ebooks within mobile apps, a policy that favors first-party services like iTunes or Apple Books.
This should've been the main reason why such policies should've been looked at a looong time ago. You can't have fairness in your market if you're also selling in it.

Goes for any of the big tech companies.
 

bviktor

Posts: 1,197   +1,735
I support the idea of a single store for security purposes, but that's not Apple or Google's goal. If it was then 30% of apps on the Play store wouldn't be malware and Apple wouldn't be fleecing its developers so hard. What's the solution? Add an easy-to-find setting that allows people to use any store they like while agreeing to have their device assigned to an isolated segment of the manufacture's online infrastructure. If you throw caution to the wind then you only get to interact with others who've done the same. Forget Facetiming with those who stayed within the walled garden - you'll have to settle for the company of your fellow risk-takers. Let the security software industry worry about the people whose life savings suddenly vanish. Norton and company would make a mint, and the device and OS makers could wash their hands of any responsibility.
It's 15% for companies with annual revenue below $1m.

Sideloading benefits absolutely no one besides greedy app developers. Tim Sweeney will be able to earn more money, Mark Zuckerberg will be able to collect more personal data, and that's about it.

Apple loses, and much more importantly, the customer also loses. There's absolutely nothing to gain from this as a customer, and plenty to lose.
 

bviktor

Posts: 1,197   +1,735
Sideloading is one of the top features any OS can have. I never had problems with security on a phone, ever, while sideloading, so I don't see the need to have these limits.
Why and how is it a top feature? It's a top feature to let malware spread, yes. We have several decades of track record that proves this. Look at Windows, look at Android. Wonderful open ecosystems, with plethora of malware.

How is that a top feature? I like my iOS *because* it is locked down, not *despite* of it. If you want an open ecosystem, use Android, and leave iOS alone for us, thanks.

It's also useless to argue on the basis that "you never had malware". We don't care. The numbers are there, so your personal history with malware is of very little relevance. It's not a question of "I don't see it therefore it doesn't exist".
 

PEnnn

Posts: 1,024   +1,387
"I never had malware, therefore sideloading is safe".

"My grandfather smoked cigarettes all his life and died of old age, therefore, smoking is safe".

I love such immensely intelligent arguments!!
 

Bl00dyMinded

Posts: 526   +817
Why and how is it a top feature? It's a top feature to let malware spread, yes. We have several decades of track record that proves this. Look at Windows, look at Android. Wonderful open ecosystems, with plethora of malware.

How is that a top feature? I like my iOS *because* it is locked down, not *despite* of it. If you want an open ecosystem, use Android, and leave iOS alone for us, thanks.

It's also useless to argue on the basis that "you never had malware". We don't care. The numbers are there, so your personal history with malware is of very little relevance. It's not a question of "I don't see it therefore it doesn't exist".
Clearly has no idea how to sideload correctly or anything... EU will force Apple to allow it just like they forced them to have USB C.
 

Nobina

Posts: 4,110   +4,806
Why and how is it a top feature? It's a top feature to let malware spread, yes. We have several decades of track record that proves this. Look at Windows, look at Android. Wonderful open ecosystems, with plethora of malware.

How is that a top feature? I like my iOS *because* it is locked down, not *despite* of it. If you want an open ecosystem, use Android, and leave iOS alone for us, thanks.

It's also useless to argue on the basis that "you never had malware". We don't care. The numbers are there, so your personal history with malware is of very little relevance. It's not a question of "I don't see it therefore it doesn't exist".
Spreading malware is a myth schizos buy into. There is a very small chance of that happening and only the user can make it happen. The fact that you don't know anything about how it works since you obviously don't use it shows you're just blabbering nonsense about a subject you know very little about. You do understand you are not forced to install apps from a different source? Is that very simple thing so hard for you to grasp? Apparently, it is. I would consider getting iOS if they had sideloading, meaning I can install apps such as YouTube replacements that have no ads and have additional features. Both iOS and Android had many vulnerabilities, so you're not safe either way. I don't care about numbers you didn't bother to provide, people who know how to use software should have the freedom to do so, and those who don't, like you, should learn or stay out of the way.
 

Endymio

Posts: 2,009   +2,116
Those billion/trillion dollar companies can come up with proper solutions without being exclusionary.
They have the proper solution: my company, my rules.

I can't load any software I want onto my Lexus SUV, my Nest thermostat, nor even my Samsung refrigerator. Nor could I load software onto the first "smart" phones I purchased before 2007. Apple's concept to allow users a limited degree of choice in phone software was their choice. Other firms chose to stay narrow (and went under), whereas still others like Android cast their net wider still. Their product -- their rules.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 549   +710
It's 15% for companies with annual revenue below $1m.

Sideloading benefits absolutely no one besides greedy app developers. Tim Sweeney will be able to earn more money, Mark Zuckerberg will be able to collect more personal data, and that's about it.

Apple loses, and much more importantly, the customer also loses. There's absolutely nothing to gain from this as a customer, and plenty to lose.


Sideloading is an option for those that want to use it. It has no effect on users that chose not do sideload. Period!

The Option to allow Sideloading will only hurt Apple's grip on forcing you to use what you don't want to use. I'm sorry but Web Browsers on iOS suck! Chrome on my iPad could be so much better, but it is stuck being a wrapper to safari.

The amount of people who defend Apple are crazy, this is by far one of the worst corporations when it comes to taking advantage of not only its user base but also its supply chain including workers.

Not being able to sideload is a F**kin Joke TBH. I have an iPad Pro, and for what that thing costs I should be able to do whatever I'd like. I shouldn't be limited to what Apple thinks I should be using. If I want to use an Emulator, a VM, better web browser with desktop like features, etc.

It changes nothing security wise to allow this.
 

Nobina

Posts: 4,110   +4,806
"I never had malware, therefore sideloading is safe".

"My grandfather smoked cigarettes all his life and died of old age, therefore, smoking is safe".

I love such immensely intelligent arguments!!
"I had malware, therefore sideloading isn't safe"

"My grandfather smoked cigarettes all his life and died of cancer, therefore, you will also die of cancer"
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,236   +4,343
TechSpot Elite
They have the proper solution: my company, my rules.

I can't load any software I want onto my Lexus SUV, my Nest thermostat, nor even my Samsung refrigerator. Nor could I load software onto the first "smart" phones I purchased before 2007. Apple's concept to allow users a limited degree of choice in phone software was their choice. Other firms chose to stay narrow (and went under), whereas still others like Android cast their net wider still. Their product -- their rules.
Do any of those examples have competitive marketplaces? No? Then try again.

You might as well be arguing that Windows/Mac should only allow a walled garden store to get apps and people should be fine with that because "[their] company, [their] rules".
 

Endymio

Posts: 2,009   +2,116
The amount of people who defend Apple are crazy
We're not defending Apple, we're defending freedom and the rule of law. We're standing against those who unwisely believe their own personal wants and desires outweigh ethics, morality, and even basic common sense. Apple isn't legally barring you from sideloading; they're just refusing to create a platform that allows you to easily do so. That's not a sterile distinction -- it's a crucial difference. If you wish to sideload, you have the freedom to. Apple likewise has the freedom to choose whether they write code to support it.

I'm no fan of Apple -- my last product of theirs was a IIe, around 1984 -- but I don't allow my personal distaste for the firm overrule my sense of justice. Further, if you are so personally offended by their choice, why not simply purchase a phone that *does* allow sideloading? There are literally dozens of alternatives.

"I had malware, therefore sideloading isn't safe"
You're right. Random applications from unknown individuals or organizations which haven't been scanned for malware are just as safe as anyone's.

You might as well be arguing that Windows/Mac should only allow a walled garden store to get apps and people should be fine with that because "[their] company, [their] rules".
Oops! In the early days of computers, that's just how it was -- if you wished to buy software, you bought theirs, or you rolled your own. Then came the 1980s, and new kid Microsoft chose to go the "open" route, whereas Mac -- even back then -- chose the 'walled garden'. The '80s meme of Mac users being zombie-eyed zealots came, in fact, from the users own (rabidly-expressed) belief that Apple's far more controlled environment gave them the superior experience.
 

DZillaXx

Posts: 549   +710
We're not defending Apple, we're defending freedom and the rule of law. We're standing against those who unwisely believe their own personal wants and desires outweigh ethics, morality, and even basic common sense. Apple isn't legally barring you from sideloading; they're just refusing to create a platform that allows you to easily do so. That's not a sterile distinction -- it's a crucial difference. If you wish to sideload, you have the freedom to. Apple likewise has the freedom to choose whether they write code to support it.

I'm no fan of Apple -- my last product of theirs was a IIe, around 1984 -- but I don't allow my personal distaste for the firm overrule my sense of justice. Further, if you are so personally offended by their choice, why not simply purchase a phone that *does* allow sideloading? There are literally dozens of alternatives.


You're right. Random applications from unknown individuals or organizations which haven't been scanned for malware are just as safe as anyone's.


Oops! In the early days of computers, that's just how it was -- if you wished to buy software, you bought theirs, or you rolled your own. Then came the 1980s, and new kid Microsoft chose to go the "open" route, whereas Mac -- even back then -- chose the 'walled garden'. The '80s meme of Mac users being zombie-eyed zealots came, in fact, from the users own (rabidly-expressed) belief that Apple's far more controlled environment gave them the superior experience.
You'd be surprised to know that Microsoft predates Apple, MS was one of the first big players in the Basic world. Their Basic IP was used in a lot of products for many years.

iOS is not the first OS where sideloading pretty much requires hacking the device. This is common on many embedded devices like a Car's Radio or old Cell Phones, etc. I can't think of a single major platform that bars a user from freedom other than iOS. Mac OS was never this way, even before the move to unix. Macintosh was always open to public, IO standards not so much.

Apple's choice to bar users from sideload is not only anti freedom, it is encouraging e-waste. iOS is an OS for devices that are not designed for a single use. It is not a Game Console, Set-Top-Box, DVD Player, etc. Legally it is a matter of time before they are forced to allow such options, largely because it is anti consumer.


You pay apple for the Device, you should be able to do what you want with it. It is impossible to sideload an iOS app by normal means. Sure you can do with as a Dev, I believe you can do 1-3 at a time iirc. Otherwise you pretty much need to jailbreak, which again impossible on modern firmware revisions. Etc.

They are not protecting your rights, they are protecting their bottom-line.

Apple is a company so dependent of iPhone sales, their user base waking up and moving to a different platform will ruin them. Apple has already used their power to block competition. They use their platform to push their services.


Defending Apple on this topic is damn right sad. You are past the point of no return. Might as well just start drinking the koolaid.
 
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m4a4

Posts: 3,236   +4,343
TechSpot Elite
Oops! In the early days of computers, that's just how it was -- if you wished to buy software, you bought theirs, or you rolled your own. Then came the 1980s, and new kid Microsoft chose to go the "open" route, whereas Mac -- even back then -- chose the 'walled garden'. The '80s meme of Mac users being zombie-eyed zealots came, in fact, from the users own (rabidly-expressed) belief that Apple's far more controlled environment gave them the superior experience.
So, what I'm reading is "yes" to "[their] company, [their] rules".

Nothing like initially preaching freedoms, and then advocating for these billion/trillion dollar companies to remove freedoms from those who own the products as a "feature" 😂
 

Endymio

Posts: 2,009   +2,116
You'd be surprised to know that Microsoft predates Apple,
No, no I wouldn't.

Mac OS was never this way, even before the move to unix
No. Receiving Apple's development kit, tools, and documentation required you to go through their certification and validation process. You could always, of course, simply reverse-engineer the OS and develop software on your own -- and it was just as impractical to do so then as it is to do so for iOS now.

They are not protecting your rights, they are protecting their bottom-line.
Read what I said, not what you wish to hear. I'm protecting the right of a company -- a group of individuals, and thus by definition individuals themselves -- from having their property rights infringed. See the difference?

Nothing like initially preaching freedoms, and then advocating for [companies] to remove freedoms
You're confused. You still have the freedom to sideload. You do not have the freedom to force Apple to write code allowing you to easily do so. Freedoms are about what you can do, not what you force others into. Your argument is like claiming you should have the "freedom" to buy iPhones in all possible colors of the rainbow ... and Apple is "infringing" your freedom by not producing them.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,457   +3,159
I've sideloaded since my first Android device. Dell Streak 5
If apple allowed sideloading EASILY, I MIGHT think about switching. I said MIGHT.
 

Nobina

Posts: 4,110   +4,806
You're right. Random applications from unknown individuals or organizations which haven't been scanned for malware are just as safe as anyone's.
Current operating systems are malware. They pretty much operate like malware, just throwing that out there.
Random applications from unknown individuals become known applications from known individuals if you don't possess the intelligence of a literal ape.
 

m4a4

Posts: 3,236   +4,343
TechSpot Elite
You're confused. You still have the freedom to sideload. You do not have the freedom to force Apple to write code allowing you to easily do so. Freedoms are about what you can do, not what you force others into. Your argument is like claiming you should have the "freedom" to buy iPhones in all possible colors of the rainbow ... and Apple is "infringing" your freedom by not producing them.
Apple goes out of it's way to prevent you from installing your own "unsanctioned" stuff on your own device (to the point where they have to be forced to do so now). That is the problem you are clearly being disingenuous about.

And no, it would be more like Apple preventing wraps/cases from adhering/attaching to iDevices because they do not want you to customize the outside of their your phone unless they allow it (if you want to go the weak hardware customization route).

It's clear that you don't understand any of the arguments, or are pretending not to (with those mental gymnastics). So unless you want to concede they're using their "freedom" to trample customer freedom and limit/kill competition, there's no point replying further.
 

Endymio

Posts: 2,009   +2,116
Apple goes out of it's way to prevent you from installing your own "unsanctioned" stuff on your own device
Yep. That's their right. They designed the phone and the Apple store software in the manner they think is best. If you don't like their design choices, don't buy the product.

it would be more like Apple preventing wraps/cases from adhering/attaching to iDevices because they do not want you to customize the outside of their your phone
Which they certainly have a right to do. My automaker doesn't allow me to easily customize the outside of my car --- nor the software inside it, for that matter.

Freedom is a pretty simple concept, even though some seem to struggle with it. Individual A hand-draws a picture and offers it for sale. If Individual B likes it, they buy it. If they find it offensive, banal, or simply unattractive, they're free to not do so. Producing a phone takes a large group of people, but the principle is identical. The group of people who own a company have the same rights that you do.

Again: if you don't like the product, don't buy it.
 

Beerfloat

Posts: 610   +1,137
Good initiative, hopefully it bears fruit.

Apple and Google are of course free to design and build whatever ecosystem they feel is best. Theirs will remain the default option, and many/most people will likely opt to stay with them.

But as soon as any given device passes into my ownership, I should be able to do with it as I please. Technical roadblocks that prevent me from doing that should be closely scrutinized. And that doesn't just go for phones, but also consoles, cars and what have you.