Apple expected to lay iOS 17 sideloading groundwork at WWDC 2023

Posted:
in iOS edited April 2023
Apple won't be introducing many features in iOS 17, a report claims, but it will be putting in elements to enable the side-loading of apps.

Sideloading may change how you install apps on your iPhone
Sideloading may change how you install apps on your iPhone


June's WWDC will feature Apple's annual updates to its main operating systems, with iOS changes being the most-watched of them all. However, for 2023's developer event, it seems that iOS 17's changes will lean more towards regulatory compliance than brand new features.

According to Mark Gurman in the Bloomberg "Power On" newsletter on Sunday, Apple will introduce iOS 17 alongside iPadOS 17, macOS 14, and a major watchOS 10 update.

In the case of iOS and iPadOS, they "aren't likely to offer major new features." But, they will apparently "satisfy a checklist of user requests with more minor improvements."

Of the changes that will be on the way, Gurman says Apple will be making "more noise beyond WWDC itself" by working to overhaul iOS to enable sideloading.

Apple was previously reported in December as preparing itself for European Union law changes that come into force in 2024. The Digital Markets Act will force Apple to allow third-party app stores to exist on the iPhone and iPad, and Apple is reportedly getting ready to comply with those rules.

Side-loading refers to being able to install apps onto a device by other means than features like the App Store. Instead, apps could be transferred over from a connected computer, downloaded from the Internet and installed separately, or acquired from a third-party app store.

While Apple is seemingly complying, it is also likely that the company will continue to resist the requirement until the last moment. Apple has frequently declared alternative app stores and jailbreaking to be a security threat for users, a view it is unlikely to change from in the meantime.

Of the other operating systems, iPadOS 17 will apparently "lay the groundwork" for inbound iPad Pro models using OLED displays, while watchOS 10's operating system update will be a big focus and possibly reveal minimal hardware updates are on the way. .

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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 41
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 2,783member
    Are they a significant threat to security? 
    Yes, without question.
    Will they be forced through?
    Yes, without question.
    Will Apple be blamed for the resulting system damage, data loss, ransomeware attacks, and other problems?
    Yes, without question.
    thtjibmacseekerrob53mattinozMisterKitlolliverFidonet127lkruppmike1
  • Reply 2 of 41
    rob53rob53 Posts: 3,251member
    Need to get lawyers ready for the first attacks on iOS once side-loading is a feature. Instead of going after the perpetrator they need to go after the countries who demanded side-loading. Those countries are the actual perps. In addition, side-loading must be defaulted to being turned off without any possible way of hacking that setting. There also needs to be constant monitoring of the setting, shutting off all external access until the user can determine what's going on. In addition, Apple needs to include its own monitoring software spyware to log and report every user who has side-loading turned on and the apps that are installed. This needs to be fed to a global database owned by Apple so they have all the information on where attacks come from so Apple can countersue any country and individual who loads malware onto an iOS device and triggers it. 

    To those countries who are legislating a back door into Apple products, get ready for lawsuits the first time an Apple device is attacked. 
    iOS_Guy80h4y3s
  • Reply 3 of 41
    This is going to be an unmitigated security disaster brought to you by hand-wringing do-nothing self-important politicians egged on by useless "regulate Apple because they don't do things the way I think the should" Android lusers.

    Nobody who uses the iPhone wants this. All the whining is coming from people who claim Apple "doesn't allow choice", yet were somehow able to choose a competing platform.
    lollivermike1badmonkforegoneconclusion
  • Reply 4 of 41
    lu99kelu99ke Posts: 3member
    This is going to be an unmitigated security disaster brought to you by hand-wringing do-nothing self-important politicians egged on by useless "regulate Apple because they don't do things the way I think the should" Android lusers.

    Nobody who uses the iPhone wants this. All the whining is coming from people who claim Apple "doesn't allow choice", yet were somehow able to choose a competing platform.
    So I guess you believe that Mac OS is an "unmitigated security disaster?" 

    I also guess, given your steadfast dedication to only using OS's that are NOT "unmitigated security disasters" for allowing side-loading, you only use Chrome OS as a desktop OS given you cannot "load" apps on to it ( unless of course you enable Linux ). 

    PS - I use an iPhone and I definitely want this... just saying. 

    PPS - Lusers... I can see what you did there... very clever... sort of.... well... actually, no, not at all.  


    edited April 2023 byronlCloudTalkinwilliamlondon
  • Reply 5 of 41
    mattinozmattinoz Posts: 2,316member
    Hopefully this means not so much side loading standalone apps, but there are uses cases on iPad and Mac where allowing apps to certify (and be held accountable) the output of their own compliers and scripting language support would open up the range of apps on iPad and by extension Mac Catalyst. 

    That would be a good thing that is over-due. 
  • Reply 6 of 41
    oscargoscarg Posts: 22member
    I think Apple is correct about the security threats. But Apple's behavior toward developers, and the shambolic fraud that is App Store "search" has earned Apple a big fat HA-HA.

    Hopefully sideloading will allow developers to address longstanding gaps in iPhone functionality. But of course that'll rely on private frameworks, which Apple will pettily alter with every update in order to disable these apps.

    Remember when Apple disabled pretty much all third-party headphone dongles? We'll see if sideloaders can actually make use of the I/O on the iPhone. When Apple finally does replace the POS Lightning port with USB-C (if indeed they do), you know "official" developers will still be denied access to it.
    edited April 2023 williamlondon
  • Reply 7 of 41
    coolfactorcoolfactor Posts: 2,241member
    lu99ke said:
    This is going to be an unmitigated security disaster brought to you by hand-wringing do-nothing self-important politicians egged on by useless "regulate Apple because they don't do things the way I think the should" Android lusers.

    Nobody who uses the iPhone wants this. All the whining is coming from people who claim Apple "doesn't allow choice", yet were somehow able to choose a competing platform.
    So I guess you believe that Mac OS is an "unmitigated security disaster?" 

    I also guess, given your steadfast dedication to only using OS's that are NOT "unmitigated security disasters" for allowing side-loading, you only use Chrome OS as a desktop OS given you cannot "load" apps on to it ( unless of course you enable Linux ). 

    PS - I use an iPhone and I definitely want this... just saying. 

    PPS - Lusers... I can see what you did there... very clever... sort of.... well... actually, no, not at all.  


    A few points.
    • Hackers and malware "creators" tend to focus on the most rewarding targets. Windows was that, and iOS is, too. Mac, not so much.
    • Users can't be trusted to keep themselves safe. No matter what Apple does to create a safe experience, average users will eventually install malware and then blame Apple.
    • There's a well-understood principle in computer science — the more convenience there is, the less security there is.
    edited April 2023 thtwilliamlondon
  • Reply 8 of 41
    lu99kelu99ke Posts: 3member
    lu99ke said:
    This is going to be an unmitigated security disaster brought to you by hand-wringing do-nothing self-important politicians egged on by useless "regulate Apple because they don't do things the way I think the should" Android lusers.

    Nobody who uses the iPhone wants this. All the whining is coming from people who claim Apple "doesn't allow choice", yet were somehow able to choose a competing platform.
    So I guess you believe that Mac OS is an "unmitigated security disaster?" 

    I also guess, given your steadfast dedication to only using OS's that are NOT "unmitigated security disasters" for allowing side-loading, you only use Chrome OS as a desktop OS given you cannot "load" apps on to it ( unless of course you enable Linux ). 

    PS - I use an iPhone and I definitely want this... just saying. 

    PPS - Lusers... I can see what you did there... very clever... sort of.... well... actually, no, not at all.  


    A few points.
    • Hackers and malware "creators" tend to focus on the most rewarding targets. Windows was that, and iOS is, too. Mac, not so much.
    • Users can't be trusted to keep themselves safe. No matter what Apple does to create a safe experience, average users will eventually install malware and then blame Apple.
    • There's a well-understood principle in computer science — the more convenience there is, the less security there is.
    Yep - agree that hackers target most rewarding targets.... general distribution % have iOS at around 17% worldwide and Mac OS at about 7%... so yes iOS larger but Mac OS is still big enough for there to be an enticing target... and the fact remains Apple manages security within that system just fine without any security hysteria. 

    Apple's steadfast refusal to open iOS is NOT about security / safety. Yes, their "safety / security" mantra is worth something in terms of brand value and their ability to sell to the "safety" market... but, let's be fair, it's not a hell of a lot. Their brand is about product and brand appeal and "it just works" ( and they do that very well )  Neither of which have anything really to do with side loading an app. Their refusal is about one thing - them making money from the iOS App store... and any effort to argue that is simply futile. 

    The "argument" that users will "blame Apple" and therefore somehow diminsh the brand to a point they "lose" money is extremely tenuous.........it just does not happen... think of all the people you know that have had their computers hacked or been scammed? How many blame the platform? Not one that I know of has blamed windows, Mac OS or Android for being scammed ( or gmail or outlook or Adobe or Samsung or Lenovo or HP etc etc ) 

    Question - If their platform was so secure and that is why they are protecting it, why would they allow / need Norton, Avast et al to have security "apps" on the iOS store? If the platform was so safe and thus needed to be protected, shouldn't these types of apps be pointless? And maybe they actually are? But if they are, why would they have allow them on there and allow people to subscribe to them? Why? Because they make money out of that subscription, that's why. So either they are allowing people to spend money on something they don't need and taking some of that money for themselves OR their system is already insecure enough that a security app is of benefit to customers, so the argument about preventing sideloading apps is already moot... either way, it's kinda damning from Apple's perspective. 

    Am I against Apple making money? Absolutely not... and they make money very well.... and they make beautiful products and market them extremely well......but this is not about the customer's safety / security. It's about money. It is as simple as that. Any argument that Apple's driver is customer safety is misguided or naive. 

    Ultimately, they held out for as long as they could ( understandably so ) but the EU has called them out and deemed they need to offer a more open experience if they want to trade in that market. ( likewise removal of lightning ) 


    avon b7williamlondon
  • Reply 9 of 41
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 24,213member
    DAalseth said:
    Are they a significant threat to security? 
    Yes, without question.
    Will they be forced through?
    Yes, without question.
    Will Apple be blamed for the resulting system damage, data loss, ransomeware attacks, and other problems?
    Yes, without question.
    Why would side-loading negatively affect the security of your personal iPhone if you don't enable it? I've never had malware on any Android phone in 15 years of using them, just like I've had no malware on my iPhone in 5 years of using one. 

    Heck, it won't even noticeably affect Apple revenue from their App Store in case you're worried that Apple won't continue to get ever richer. 

    So much handwringing over the nothing pie. 
    edited April 2023 muthuk_vanalingam
  • Reply 10 of 41
    While Apple is seemingly complying, it is also likely that the company will continue to resist the requirement until the last moment. Apple has frequently declared alternative app stores and jailbreaking to be a security threat for users, a view it is unlikely to change from in the meantime. 
    a) Why not resist? Part of the reason people choose iPhones is the security of the walled garden. We keep hearing developers developers this is bad and they need freedom, however we forgetting some developers are like FaceBook/Meta, Google, and Epic need to be restrained as they do not care about users.
    b) It will take some time with a lot of bugs to transition over to a system that will work with other app stores and be easy for users to do so. This is not trivial. APIs and core code needs to be changed. Programmers, documents, marketing, and lawyers will be involved, not to delay it, but to figure out how to do it, do it legally, security ramifications, and to try to do this without many bugs. This is only work that can be done with major version changes and probably  more than one major version change.
  • Reply 11 of 41
    dewmedewme Posts: 5,362member
    Things could go very badly if Apple doesn’t do this correctly and loses control of the solution. I believe there is a reasonable path to allowing other app stores on Apple devices. In my opinion the new “inclusive and extensible” model would have Apple serving as the owner or landlord of a new “App Mall” and allow other independent software vendors (ISVs) to lease stores within this mall. This is a model that shoppers are very familiar and comfortable with. It allows Apple to retain a certain level of control over a massively expensive asset that it has built while also allowing ISVs and individual developers to establish their own presence within their own stores, or kiosks, within the larger mall. It also provides another level of a directory that helps shoppers locate what they are looking for. Apple’s current App Store is out of control. 

    The main problem with the App Store is app discovery. The app discovery problem is largely due to the massive number of apps that are available in the App Store. Apple used to tout the massive app numbers like it was a badge of honor. In reality, once the numbers grew beyond what you’d see in a large grocery store, which is between 25,000 - 45,000 unique items, which is still very daunting for many shoppers, Apple needed to come up with organizational, categorization, and intelligent query models to help users find what they are looking for. That’s assuming users actually showed up with somewhat of a “shopping list.”

    Apple did no such thing but instead focused on promoting a tiny few apps that somehow bubbled up to the top. The many millions of apps that didn’t get promoted to the top or somehow got singled out through other means simply languish deep down in what is essentially the worlds largest compost heap of decaying software. Without some additional and logical structure, like an App Mall, allowing any ISV or developer to establish their own “store” or side loading model would simply turn the App Store into the internet with everyone having their own web site for their own app or apps. This does not help solve the discovery model one bit for the vast majority of developers. The larger ISVs will do a little better, but I don’t see Apple putting any effort into helping shoppers find their way into those stores. If Apple was the mall owner they would at the very least provide a directory and help shoppers locate what they are looking for, or simply browse for stores rather than browsing across millions of individual app. The ISVs get more visibility and Apple retains some control. Of course the sticking point would be defining what a “lease” entails and what it costs. Like physical malls it could be proportional to footprint, with big ISVs like Adobe paying more and small developers paying very little for a “kiosk.”
  • Reply 12 of 41
    avon b7avon b7 Posts: 7,667member
    I'm not convinced the term side-loading is the best option in this case.

    I've always associated side-loading as the practice of individually installing an app instead of allowing the store to install it. 


  • Reply 13 of 41
    MadbumMadbum Posts: 536member
    I don’t like it. They should just do two different versions and let people chose! The regular iPhone and one that can side load 

    This way, they can also show how easy it gets hacked with back door exploits 
  • Reply 14 of 41
    thrangthrang Posts: 1,008member
    gatorguy said:
    DAalseth said:
    Are they a significant threat to security? 
    Yes, without question.
    Will they be forced through?
    Yes, without question.
    Will Apple be blamed for the resulting system damage, data loss, ransomeware attacks, and other problems?
    Yes, without question.
    Why would side-loading negatively affect the security of your personal iPhone if you don't enable it? I've never had malware on any Android phone in 15 years of using them, just like I've had no malware on my iPhone in 5 years of using one. 

    Heck, it won't even noticeably affect Apple revenue from their App Store in case you're worried that Apple won't continue to get ever richer. 

    So much handwringing over the nothing pie. 
    Given the utter paucity of commentary in an internet world where people post picture of meatballs or dental surgery, just about no one in the iOS/iPadOS user community is asking or demanding this - this is purely externally motivated, and the focus is not for the benefit if the end user.

    People trust share A LOT via the walled garden Apple ecosystem. Mail, Messages, Contacts, File shared documents, Photos etc. - not-infrequently containing personal or sensitive information - because there is a high level of trust in the over security of the ecosystem.

    A -  If side-loaded apps on other people's devices are permitted access to data such as the above, that impacts me even if I didn't side load any apps myself.
    B -  If side-loaded apps on other people's devices are not permitted access to data such as the above, this is much better, but likely negates the benefit of external app sources (if a side-loaded camera app can't save in the Photos library, what benefit?)
    C - If B is true, can access into the ecosystem still be engineer/exploited? Who wants to find out?
    D - Why invite potential back doors into an ecosystem that is highly trusted with an extensive amount of personal information entrusted?

    This is trying to knock a leg out from under Apple for reasons that are not beneficial to Apple or consumers, but perhaps to ineffective competitors, governments or nefarious actors. 

    And at the core of it, the App Store is a feature of the products Apple sells - a HW/SW/Services ecosystem they invested untold hundreds of billions in engineering efforts for decades. Why should someone now be allowed to suddenly set up their own table in that shop, sell their own goods, and run their own cash register (and with no investment or renumeration to the shop owner)? It's illogical and unethical are various level, and further so if applied to businesses in other industry.

    Despite the efforts to paint it as such, Apple is not a monopoly - they are very successful because of what they do (and what is trying to be dismantled to a degree) but competitors are free to develop and sell their own solution, and sell them anywhere that Apple does.


    edited April 2023 badmonkradarthekat
  • Reply 15 of 41
    mike1mike1 Posts: 3,284member
    Just imagine a world where every single one of those annoying ads you get while playing a game installs its own software when someone tries to click the "X" but accidentally hits another part of the screen. Right now all that missed press does is open the App store or a web browser. Bet your bottom dollar that in the future that will at best present a prompt to download something.At worst, it just will.

    Nobody for parent to complain to when their kids buy stuff.
    A lot of us will have to do tech support for our elderly parents who for some reason like to click on everything.

    God, I hope there is a simple switch that prevents downloading of any software that is not obtained through the app store.
    Fidonet127radarthekat
  • Reply 16 of 41
    rob53 said:
    Need to get lawyers ready for the first attacks on iOS once side-loading is a feature. Instead of going after the perpetrator they need to go after the countries who demanded side-loading. Those countries are the actual perps. In addition, side-loading must be defaulted to being turned off without any possible way of hacking that setting. There also needs to be constant monitoring of the setting, shutting off all external access until the user can determine what's going on. In addition, Apple needs to include its own monitoring software spyware to log and report every user who has side-loading turned on and the apps that are installed. This needs to be fed to a global database owned by Apple so they have all the information on where attacks come from so Apple can countersue any country and individual who loads malware onto an iOS device and triggers it. 

    To those countries who are legislating a back door into Apple products, get ready for lawsuits the first time an Apple device is attacked. 
    You can’t sue a country for having its own set of laws — however weird they seem. And remember, nobody is forcing Apple to sell their products or services there.

    In this case, the world is quite symmetric …and fair. If you don’t like a particular toy or playground then go play with something/somewhere else. This holds true both for Apple in Europe and for all parties that put demands on Apple.

    In here, 99% of us want to protect what’s good in iOS and macOS. But out there, other people want to protect what’s best in their field of interest. And for governments, that probably includes national interests far outweighing any single business’.

    I think it’s good we keep discussing the pros and cons of side-loading in here. If we’re happy, one or two architects at Apple or politicians in the EU will read it. But that’s it.
    edited April 2023
  • Reply 17 of 41
    tundraboytundraboy Posts: 1,885member
    lu99ke said:
    This is going to be an unmitigated security disaster brought to you by hand-wringing do-nothing self-important politicians egged on by useless "regulate Apple because they don't do things the way I think the should" Android lusers.

    Nobody who uses the iPhone wants this. All the whining is coming from people who claim Apple "doesn't allow choice", yet were somehow able to choose a competing platform.
    So I guess you believe that Mac OS is an "unmitigated security disaster?" 

    I also guess, given your steadfast dedication to only using OS's that are NOT "unmitigated security disasters" for allowing side-loading, you only use Chrome OS as a desktop OS given you cannot "load" apps on to it ( unless of course you enable Linux ). 

    PS - I use an iPhone and I definitely want this... just saying. 

    PPS - Lusers... I can see what you did there... very clever... sort of.... well... actually, no, not at all.  


    Phone scammers steal from seniors by instructing them to download and install apps on their computers that give the scammers access to the victim's funds.  They could not do this on the iPhone because the exclusivity of the iOS App Store assures that all apps are vetted by Apple.  With side loading, scammers can now run the same scam on iPhone owners.

    Your point of view is from the very narrow perspective of relatively sophisticated computer users.  Not all iPhone users are at your level.  A less selfish view would consider the millions of people who picked iPhone because they know they can rely on Apple to keep it secure and will now be facing a much greater risk of getting victimized.


    badmonkwilliamlondonradarthekat
  • Reply 18 of 41
    ValdhorValdhor Posts: 4unconfirmed, member
    I don’t know what the actual wording of this order is (Is it to allow side loading on iPhone or IOS?). If it’s for iPhone , if I was Apple, I would create a minimal OS that would replace the full IOS if someone wanted to side load anything or use 3rd party App Store. BIG warning message that there would now be no security provided by Apple, all Apple applications would be removed and whatever else Apple provides. The user would then be required to use 3rd party app stores, sideloading etc. Call the minimal OS iPhoneOS. It can have all the libraries developers need, just no security layers, or any security calls would just return null. There are many other things. Just my 2c.
  • Reply 19 of 41
    jimh2jimh2 Posts: 615member
    @thrang Excellent points about the rest of us being compromised by the schmuck who lets a side loaded App run sweep up their contacts. I can hardly wait for the unsolicited texts, emails and maybe even snail mail. Nothing like being collateral damage to something you had nothing to do with. For the naysayers think about Tik Tok releasing their app to side load where they can do anything they see fit. If there are complaints about privacy now wait until the side loads start.
    radarthekat
  • Reply 20 of 41
    gatorguy said:
    DAalseth said:
    Are they a significant threat to security? 
    Yes, without question.
    Will they be forced through?
    Yes, without question.
    Will Apple be blamed for the resulting system damage, data loss, ransomeware attacks, and other problems?
    Yes, without question.
    Why would side-loading negatively affect the security of your personal iPhone if you don't enable it? I've never had malware on any Android phone in 15 years of using them, just like I've had no malware on my iPhone in 5 years of using one. 

    Heck, it won't even noticeably affect Apple revenue from their App Store in case you're worried that Apple won't continue to get ever richer. 

    So much handwringing over the nothing pie. 

    Clearly you’re not a developer. And your personal anecdotes of not having malware doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist or isn’t a problem.

    As a developer I can think of numerous ways to compromise a users privacy if I don’t have to follow Apple Guidelines on their App Store. I can also think of ways to easily compromise privacy of users who never side load Apps and stick only to The App Store.
    gilly33williamlondonradarthekat
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