EU regulation would ‘destroy the security of the iPhone,' Tim Cook warns

EU regulation would ‘destroy the security of the iPhone,’ Tim Cook warns

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Tim Cook at WWDC 2021
Tim Cook (shown here at WWDC 2021) is not a fan of sideloading iPhone apps.
Screenshot: Apple

Apple’s CEO told the audience at France’s VivaTech conference that a critical part of the European Union’s proposed Digital Markets Act isn’t in the best interests of iPhone users. The proposal would require Apple to allow users to sideload applications, something CEO Tim Cook and the company are adamantly opposed to.

Cook was being interviewed Guillaume Lacroix, Brut. CEO, and the topic of legislation came up. “The current DMA language that is being discussed would force sideloading on the iPhone,” said the Apple CEO. “And so this would be an alternate way of getting apps onto the iPhone. As we look at that, that would destroy the security of the iPhone and a lot of the privacy initiatives that we built into the App Store.”

He pointed out anyone who sideloaded an application wouldn’t see its privacy nutrition label. And Apple wouldn’t be able to enforce its requirement that third-party ask permission before tracking users.

Apple: Just say No to iPhone sideloading

Currently, third-party applications are installed onto iPhones via the App Store. The software has been checked by Apple for malware and fraud. Sideloading would allow users to bypass that and install apps from their Mac, or directly from the developer.

The topic came up at the Epic Games v. Apple trial when the judge in that case pointed out that sideloading is allowed with Mac but not not iPhone. Craig Federighi, Apple’s SVP of software engineering, told her that sideloading and multiple macOS software stores have resulted in “a level of malware on the Mac that we don’t find acceptable.”

Watch Tim Cook’s full interview from VivaTech: