Apple Report Calls Sideloading Apps a “Serious Security Risk” as Antitrust Probes, Epic Games Decision Loom


A new report from Apple, entitled “Building a Trusted Ecosystem for Millions of Apps,” serves as an invective against the practice of sideloading apps to get around the App Store. Sideloading is used to access certain popular apps that have been banned from the App Store for reasons unrelated to security or privacy violations, most notably Fortnite. Apple’s new report characterizes any sideloaded app as a “serious security risk” and claims that allowing sideloading would do everything from putting ransomware on people’s phones to stealing their personal information.

Apple says sideloading apps would poke holes in its walled garden

The 16-page Apple report begins by touting the company’s “trusted ecosystem” as a place relatively free of malware, personal information theft and other security risks. It then moves on to say that sideloading apps would introduce a “flood” of hacking and threat activity onto the platform. The report presents several fictionalized examples of sideloaded apps bypassing parental controls, installing ransomware, leading users into inadvertent piracy, and leaking personal information in violation of Apple’s new anti-tracking measures. It concludes by listing off some of Apple’s safety features: automated scanning of App Store uploads, the App Review process that all developers are subject to, limitations on personal data collection, and the company’s support and refund processes.

The report does not really divulge anything new, and is likely intended as a PR move as Apple faces multiple antitrust probes in various parts of the world along with lawsuits alleging anticompetitive behavior. Apple’s court battle with Epic recently concluded and a decision is pending, with some legal experts believing that Epic did enough to at least force some changes to Apple’s store policies. The case, which is mirrored by similar lawsuits in the EU including one brought by Spotify, alleges that Apple’s platform is large enough to constitute a monopoly and that the terms it subjects developers to are unfair. Epic took specific issue with Apple’s mandatory 30% cut of sales made through the platform, something that…

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