Apple filed a challenge to an European Union law that requires iPhones to allow third-party software to be installed from outside the App Store.
Unless the appeal goes through, the legislation will go into effect in March 2024.
Trying to escape EU sideloading mandate
All applications are installed onto iPhones through the App Store. As Apple points out, this allows it to ensure that iOS applications aren’t malware. But the EU also points out that it gives Apple veto power over any app.
The EU’s Digital Markets Act labels the App Store a “gatekeeper” and requires that iOS be updated to support sideloading — installing applications from websites or rival software stores.
But Reuters reported Friday, “Apple has filed a legal case contesting decisions taken by the European Commission under its recently-introduced Digital Markets Act, according to a post shared by the Court of Justice of the European Union on X.”
The relevant post on X (formerly Twitter) says:
@Apple (Cases T-1079/23 & T-1080/23), #Bytedance (#TikTok) (T-1077/23) and #Meta (T-1078/23) have filed cases contesting decisions taken by the @EU_Commission under the #DigitalMarketsAct #DMA #Competition.
— EU Court of Justice (@EUCourtPress) November 17, 2023
Apple is prepared for the alternative
Nevertheless, Apple is covering its bases. It’s getting ready to add sideloading to iOS in 2024, according to a reliable source. This will supposedly be only for Europe. And it won’t happen at all unless Apple is forced.
CEO Tim Cook previously said sideloading will, “destroy the security of the iPhone and a lot of the privacy initiatives that we built into the App Store.” It will, for example, enable unscrupulous devs to ignore Apple’s privacy rules, including the one that requires third-party apps to ask permission before tracking users.