For years, Apple’s software engineers have played a cat-and-mouse game, closing loopholes that let non-developers install unsigned apps on their devices. But it looks like they’re finally giving up and will let any user install anything on any Apple device — as long as they’re using Xcode 7 to do it.
The newest version of Xcode, Apple’s integrated development environment for OS X and iOS, allows anyone to install apps on their iOS device. Even if it hasn’t been approved by Apple and you’re not a developer.
Basically you can do everything a developer can do, except submit to the App Store. Any kind of app supported – ObjC/Swift/etc
— Steve T-S (@stroughtonsmith) June 10, 2015
The Xcode website boasts that it’s now “easier for everyone to build apps and run them directly on their Apple devices. Program membership is not required.” Apple previously required that you pay a $99 per year development fee to install unapproved apps on devices. The change was intended to allow more people to code apps without a price barrier.
Apple didn’t tout the new feature onstage Monday at WWDC, but it opens the door for developers to distribute their apps outside of the App Store. It could lead to easy piracy of decrypted apps, notes iOS developer Steve Smith, while also letting users install everything from emulators and torrent clients to banned games – basically anything Apple doesn’t want in the App Store.
It’s unlikely that the majority of iPhone users will want to go through the hassle of downloading and navigating Xcode 7, but for those Nintendo fans dying to get their Zelda fix on iOS, this is as good as Christmas.