Apple tells lawmakers that sideloading apps ‘would allow malware, scams’


iPhone sideloading isn't safe, Apple says
Apple also warns 'big media platforms' would take advantage.
Image: Apple

Apple issued a letter to U.S. lawmakers Wednesday urging them not to allow the distribution of iPhone and iPad apps outside the App Store. It insists doing so “would allow malware, scams and data-exploitation to proliferate.”

The Senate Judiciary Committee will meet Thursday to consider the Open App Markets Act, a bill that hopes to prohibit companies like Apple from blocking sideloading and alternative app marketplaces.

Apple (again) highlights risks of sideloading

The Open App Markets Act would require Apple to allow iPhone owners to install apps from third-party sources. It also would prohibit the company from banning third-party payment systems.

The legislation’s primary objectives are “to promote competition and reduce gatekeeper power in the app economy, increase choice, improve quality, and reduce costs for consumers.” Of course, Apple doesn’t want that.

Tim Powderly, Apple’s head of government affairs, issued a letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Dick Durbin and Sen. Chuck Grassley on Wednesday to warn against the dangers these measures would pose.

Apple urges committee members to reject the bill, according to Bloomberg. Here’s a snippet from the letter:

Sideloading would enable bad actors to evade Apple’s privacy and security protections by distributing apps without critical privacy and security checks. These provisions would allow malware, scams and data-exploitation to proliferate.

Apple is ‘deeply concerned’

Powderly also said Apple remains “deeply concerned” that “big media platforms” would use the legislation to circumvent “the pro-consumer practices” and privacy protections the App Store enforces.

Unsurprisingly, the letter does not mention Apple’s concern about losing the 15% to 30% cut of sales revenue it takes from all App Store developers.

This isn’t the first bill against limiting consumer choice that Apple has opposed. Last year, the company objected to the American Innovation and Choice Online Act. However, the act moved to the Senate floor for a vote.

It’s likely the same thing will happen with the Open App Markets Act.


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