Apple is quite strict when it comes to user privacy. It does not allow users to sideload apps officially on the iPhone or iPad. However, users, as well as third-party developers, want to sideload apps that would allow them to void the privacy and security checks placed by Apple. In a new interview, Apple's executive suggests that users who want to sideload apps on their iPhone should shift to Android.
iPhone Users Should Switch to Android If They Want to Sideload Apps, Says Apple Executive
Apple's latest report blatantly touts terms and negative impacts associated with the sideloading of apps. The company is also using PR to further the reach of its terms. Apple's head of user privacy, Erik Neuenschwander spoke to the Fast Company, stating that sideloading apps on iPhone and iPad would enable users to download apps from the entire web and other places other than the App Store. This would lure users to be "tricked or duped" into "some dark alley."
The executive clearly states that iOS is not the right platform for users who wish to sideload apps and suggests that they should shift to Android.
"Sideloading in this case is actually eliminating choice," he says. "Users who want that direct access to applications without any kind of review have sideloading today on other platforms. The iOS platform is the one where users understand that they can't be tricked or duped into some dark alley or side road where they're going to end up with a sideloaded app, even if they didn't intend to."
All apps on the App Store must go through the company's guidelines and rules as well as comply with the App Store review process. Apps would be able to bypass the laws and rules set by Apple which could end up being harmful to users. The executive further states that sideloading apps would make the user vulnerable to viruses and malware.
"Today, we have our technical defenses, we have our policy defenses, and then we still have the user's own smarts," Neuenschwander says, referring to Apple's App Store processes. Sideloading would negate those defenses, he contends.
"Even users who intend—they've consciously thought themselves that they are only going to download apps from the App Store—well, the attackers know this, so they're going to try to convince that user that they're downloading an app from the App Store even when that's not happening," Neuenschwander says. "Really, you have to think very creatively, very expansively as an attacker would trying to go after so many users with such rich data on their device. And so users will be attacked regardless of whether or not they intend to navigate app stores other than Apple's."
Apple executive also cleared out the distinction between iOS and macOS as the latter has the ability to run and download apps other than the macOS App Store. The iPhone travels with the user everywhere he or she goes and carries sensitive information like your personal details as well as your location. This would ultimately allow the user to be vulnerable in case the wrong app managed to secure its position. He also stated that the iPhone's data is more enticing to the potential attacker when compared to the Mac.
"It's the device you carry around with you," Neuenschwander notes. "So it knows your location. And therefore somebody who could attack that would get pattern-of-life details about you. It has a microphone, and therefore that's a microphone that could be around you much more than your Mac's microphone is likely to be. So the kind of sensitive data [on the iPhone] is more enticing to an attacker."
On the iPhone, users tend to explore their options when downloading apps. On a Mac, users simply download the required apps and get the job done. Potentially, iPhones and iPad would adhere to a lot of malware if Apple decides to open the option to sideload apps. To be fair, Apple is making the right call when it comes to user privacy and security.
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