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Apple Would Be Forced to Allow Alternative App Stores and Sideloading

New legislation introduced in the EU's Digital Markets Act would force Apple to allow users access to third-party app stores and permit them to download apps outside of App Store. 

Apple will be forced to change its rules regarding third-party applications and stores under new legislation introduced in the Digital Markets Act (DMA) announced by the European Union. The new law would suggest that the company will have to allow users access to third-party app stores and permit them to download apps outside of App Store. 

The European Commission noted that companies should not limit their users in terms of choosing digital stores and sources for downloading applications. The European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke said in a statement (via The Verge): "With the DMA, a smartphone owner would still be able to enjoy safe and secure services of the default app store on their smart phones. On top of that, if a user so chooses, the DMA would allow a smartphone owner to also opt for other safe app stores."

Apart from allowing third-party stores on its platform and giving access to sideloading apps on iPhones and iPads, Apple will be forced to allow developers to place applications in the App Store without the mandatory use of Apple payment systems.

The European Parliament has not yet voted on the adoption of the bill, however, this process should go without any problems, according to The Verge. The DMA may come into force as early as October 2022. Following that, the countries within the European Union will be able to choose how exactly to interpret the DMA in their national legislation.

Apple expressed its concern, noting that some DMA clauses create unnecessary vulnerabilities regarding user privacy and security. Despite sideloading having long been allowed on the Mac, the company claimed that it would not be appropriate on the iPhone as the device contains more sensitive information. According to the EU, Apple’s security concerns can be reduced by letting users choose where they would like to install apps from by selecting the app store in their device settings.

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