New iOS 16 Developer Mode may be preview of third-party app store toggle

Posted:
in iOS edited June 7
A new Developer Mode in iOS 16 and watchOS 9 that allows users to install apps through Configurator if they confirm that they are developers may be a herald of what will be required to take advantage of third-party app stores.




Currently, a developer can run their own Xcode apps on their iPhones for testing, and developers can offer a TestFlight option that allows beta testers to try out the apps. Now Apple is introducing a middle ground between the two, and it's likely that this new Developer Mode is a precursor to how Apple may ultimately allow third-party apps on iPhone.

"Developer Mode, introduced in iOS 16 and watchOS 9, protects people from inadvertently installing potentially harmful software on their devices," says Apple in a new developer document, "and reduces attack vectors exposed by developer-only functionality."

"The feature doesn't affect ordinary installation techniques like buying apps from the App Store, or participating in a TestFlight team," it continues. "Instead, Developer Mode focuses on scenarios like performing a Build and Run in Xcode, or installing an .ipa file with Apple Configurator."

It's this last point that is most significant. Apps that are distributed outside of the App Store are in this .ipa format.

There's more to it than just turning the Developer Mode toggle on
There's more to it than just turning the Developer Mode toggle on


"In these cases, the device explicitly asks the person using it to confirm that they're a developer," says Apple, "aware of the risks of installing development-signed software."

Turning on Developer Mode requires a user to go through several steps, including restarting their device, plus acknowledging multiple warnings. It's not the case that a bad actor can easily turn it on and then install malicious apps.

If the new option is part of Apple's preparing for a future with third-party app stores, the company is not giving up on its campaign to prevent losing its control.

Read on AppleInsider

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 7
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    I want, no DEMAND, that this Developer Mode setting include a way for the iPhone operator/owner to lock out the ability for it to be changed by anyone except the iPhone user as defined in iCloud settings. Further, I want to make sure the iCloud settings require either a password, passkey or something no person other than the logged in user has access to. I CHOOSE to only use the Apple App Store and since it's my device with my personal information on it, I have a right to protect that information, especially from non-governmental people, like developers. I CHOOSE what goes on my OS devices, not developers or governments. A "bad actor" has several ways to get past any iOS setting but it's more difficult when there aren't settings that would easily allow the beginning of opening an iOS device. This mode is a semi-locked door when it currently is a wall with no way to get through. 
    cornchiprezwitschaickaAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 7
    rezwitsrezwits Posts: 831member
    Yeah no $#!+ but then it's down, to forcing you to put in your password, pin, cut your finger off, or pop your eye out of socket!
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 7
    3rd party stores on iOS aren't going to improve prices/quality/selection/satisfaction for consumers and everyone knows it. The EU knows it. Congress knows it. Microsoft and Epic know it. All it will do is allow 3rd parties to take a cut from software sales too while also compromising privacy/security for iOS users. 
    chaickarob53Alex1Napplguywatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 7
    chaickachaicka Posts: 254member
    rob53 said:
    I want, no DEMAND, that this Developer Mode setting include a way for the iPhone operator/owner to lock out the ability for it to be changed by anyone except the iPhone user as defined in iCloud settings. Further, I want to make sure the iCloud settings require either a password, passkey or something no person other than the logged in user has access to. I CHOOSE to only use the Apple App Store and since it's my device with my personal information on it, I have a right to protect that information, especially from non-governmental people, like developers. I CHOOSE what goes on my OS devices, not developers or governments. A "bad actor" has several ways to get past any iOS setting but it's more difficult when there aren't settings that would easily allow the beginning of opening an iOS device. This mode is a semi-locked door when it currently is a wall with no way to get through. 
    On top of that, I hope Apple includes further empowerment of main ‘Family Sharing’ holder to have even stronger control to prevent any devices within the household to switch into ‘less secured’ mode (whatever the end state mode may be called). Main holder likely is also the pay-master of all Apple devices for household + main support/go-to person whenever there is problem with the devices. Please empower us stronger control so that we should not revert back to old days where so much time and effort spent to fix family members’ devices due to their ‘unsafe’ behaviours (eg jailbreaking). It was a nightmarish period that’s long gone. No wish to go back to those days!!!
    rob53Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 7
    ransonranson Posts: 45member
    rob53 said:
    I want, no DEMAND, that this Developer Mode setting include a way for the iPhone operator/owner to lock out the ability for it to be changed by anyone except the iPhone user as defined in iCloud settings. Further, I want to make sure the iCloud settings require either a password, passkey or something no person other than the logged in user has access to. I CHOOSE to only use the Apple App Store and since it's my device with my personal information on it, I have a right to protect that information, especially from non-governmental people, like developers. I CHOOSE what goes on my OS devices, not developers or governments. A "bad actor" has several ways to get past any iOS setting but it's more difficult when there aren't settings that would easily allow the beginning of opening an iOS device. This mode is a semi-locked door when it currently is a wall with no way to get through. 
    I don't quite understand this rant. The setting is part of the phone OS and thus will be protected by your passcode/biometrics? A bad actor would be required to have physical access to your unlocked phone, then enable this setting, reboot, etc. It's not like anyone can just do it remotely. So nothing about this setting violates any of your freedoms to choose what software you put on your phone or from where it comes, etc.

    Sure, let's suggest the user be required to re-authenticate their AppleID as well if it will make you sleep better at night. But that is completely aside from any rant about limiting your choice. This setting actually gives everyone more choice.

    I do understand and agree with posts wanting tight controls around this setting for kids' phones. I'm sure that is part of the final solution if not already there.
    dantheman827darkvaderAlex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 6 of 7
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,010member
    chaicka said:
    rob53 said:
    I want, no DEMAND, that this Developer Mode setting include a way for the iPhone operator/owner to lock out the ability for it to be changed by anyone except the iPhone user as defined in iCloud settings. Further, I want to make sure the iCloud settings require either a password, passkey or something no person other than the logged in user has access to. I CHOOSE to only use the Apple App Store and since it's my device with my personal information on it, I have a right to protect that information, especially from non-governmental people, like developers. I CHOOSE what goes on my OS devices, not developers or governments. A "bad actor" has several ways to get past any iOS setting but it's more difficult when there aren't settings that would easily allow the beginning of opening an iOS device. This mode is a semi-locked door when it currently is a wall with no way to get through. 
    On top of that, I hope Apple includes further empowerment of main ‘Family Sharing’ holder to have even stronger control to prevent any devices within the household to switch into ‘less secured’ mode (whatever the end state mode may be called). Main holder likely is also the pay-master of all Apple devices for household + main support/go-to person whenever there is problem with the devices. Please empower us stronger control so that we should not revert back to old days where so much time and effort spent to fix family members’ devices due to their ‘unsafe’ behaviours (eg jailbreaking). It was a nightmarish period that’s long gone. No wish to go back to those days!!!
    Absolutely!!!!! Apple Configurator has been available but I don't think too many people actually use it. Folding all it's capabilities into Family Sharing would be a great idea. 
    Alex1Nwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 7
    darkvaderdarkvader Posts: 889member
    This sounds like the best reason I've heard to install iOS 16!

    As soon as I get my hands on it, it's Developer Mode ON!!!

    Finally, Apple might actually show a bit of real courage!
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