App sideloading in iOS 17.2: Is it finally coming?

There have been rumors for some time that Apple will soon allow sideloading of apps. In any case, the beta of iOS 17.2 seems ready.

Sideloading apps in iOS 17.2

iOS 17.2 includes a new framework called ‘Managed App Distribution’. A framework contains a collection of software components and conventions that developers can use in their programs.

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According to Apple, this function was mainly designed as MDM (Mobile Device Management), but 9to5Mac has a different opinion. They looked a little deeper into the program code and discovered that it contains functions that allow you to grant third-party apps permission to install. This allows developers to create their own (sort of) App Store.

There are functions for downloading, installing and even updating from external sources. It is also possible to check whether an app works on a certain iPhone or iOS version. This means that the first steps for sideloading apps are already in the beta of iOS 17.2.

It is striking that 9to5Mac also found a region lock in the functions. For example, functions can only be allowed in certain countries.

What is sideloading?

In iOS 17 it is still not possible to download apps without the App Store. This method of installing other apps is also called ‘sideloading‘ named.

Apple will eventually have to adjust its App Store policy. The European Union has passed a new law requiring large companies to open services and platforms to third parties.

European Commission sues Apple

This legislation gave Apple two choices: apps must be able to be downloaded from the internet or there must be more App Stores on the iPhone, iPad and Mac. In any case, it seems that Apple is choosing the first option.

In any case, an Apple employee has provided more clarity. Craig Federighi, vice president of software development, confirmed in an interview at WWDC that Apple will comply with European law.

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