iOS 17.4 with new emoji, huge changes for EU is almost here


iOS 17.4 logo
iOS 17.4 will bring changes, but you'll have to live in Europe to get most of them.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple just seeded the release candidate of iOS 17.4 to developers. When it goes to the general public — probably next week — it’ll bring in a collection of new emoji to iPhone, and a more secure version of iMessage. For Europeans, the update will be a major one, as it’ll usher in sideloading and other changes.

The release candidate for iPadOS 17.4 also came out Tuesday. However, macOS Sonoma 14.4 is still on beta 5.

Here’s a great take on Apple’s plans for opening up the App Store


Riley Testut pictured in his office
Riley Testut, creator of the original alternative app marketplace.
Photo: Riley Testut

iOS developer Riley Testut, the brains behind AltStore (the original alternative App Store), has a great take on Apple’s plans to open up the App Store in the European Union

This is “everything I’ve been wanting for the past few years,” he said after Apple laid out its plans last week. “Even reading the announcement I was tearing up.”

Testut, who lives in Texas, has a vested interest in Apple loosening its grip on the App Store to comply with the EU’s Digital Markets Act. He’s the co-creator of AltStore, a hacky skunkworks project that enables sideloading of iPhone and iPad apps. Now he’s working to transition AltStore into an officially sanctioned app marketplace that complies with Apple’s new rules.

In an exclusive interview with Cult of Mac, Testut talks about the hidden upside for iPhone owners around the world; the downsides of Apple’s strict new framework and fees; and the joys of making AltStore one of the first legit third-party app marketplaces in the EU.

Testut’s take on Apple’s plans for opening up iOS is perhaps the best to date, and well worth a read.

You can also watch the full interview on YouTube.

Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules ‘malicious compliance’ and ‘ludicrously punitive’


Devs call Apple’s new iPhone sideloading rules 'malicious compliance' and 'ludicrously punitive'
Apple's new App Store rules for the European Union enrage some developers.
Image: danilo.alvesd/Unsplash License/Cult of Mac

A noted Apple critic used the terms “malicious compliance” and “hot garbage” to describe the elaborate rules the company laid down Thursday for allowing European iPhone users to sideload applications.

Those blasts came from Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games, a company that’s locked in a legal battle with Apple over App Store rules. But other devs also cast aspersions on Apple’s framework for setting up App Store rivals. They pointed out that the new system comes with a huge financial obligation, and that it will make free apps almost impossible.

To be clear, though, not all developers are unhappy. Apple’s new rules also drew some compliments.

Apple is bringing sideloading and alternate app stores to iPhone


Apple revealed the iPhone app sideloading rules for the EU
Sideloading applications onto iPhone comes with a lot of rules.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Apple is bringing sideloading and alternate app stores to the iPhone — but with significant restrictions.

Apple gave EU developers guidelines and access to the tools needed for sideloading —  installing applications that don’t go through the App Store. But the new rules require these apps to be approved by Apple before they can be installed by iPhone users. And they need to be in alternative marketplaces, not directly available for download.

In other words, sideloading won’t be the free-for-all some people had hoped.

This is part of sweeping changes to iOS, Safari and the App Store required by the European Union’s Digital Markets Act. And Apple’s announcement of these changes in Thursday is loaded with warning about how sideloading brings risks for users.

Apple still wants control of sideloaded iPhone apps in the EU


Sideloading means no Apple App Store
Sideloading means no Apple App Store, but Apple isn't giving up all control.
Graphic: Apple/Cult of Mac

Although the European Union requires Apple to allow sideloading of iPhone applications, Cupertino reportedly hopes to review apps before they become available for installation from outside the App Store.

Apple also expects developers to voluntarily send a percentage of all revenue generated through sideloaded iOS applications.

Apple CEO meets with EU competition chief to talk sideloading iPhone apps


European Union's commissioner for competition Margrethe Vestager and APple CEO Tim Cook.
Margrethe Vestager and Tim Cook had an in-person meeting with some weighty issues on the table.
Photo: Margrethe Vestager

Margrethe Vestager, the European Union’s commissioner for competition, met with Apple CEO Tim Cook on Thursday to discuss the upcoming EU requirement that iPhone users be able to install applications from outside the App Store, aka sideloading.

Vestager also says the two discussed the EU’s investigation into whether Apple Music is anticompetitive.

Sideloading iPhone apps could arrive in the EU next year


App Store
Europeans will soon be able to make an end run around the App Store by sideloading iPhone applications.
Image: Apple/Cult of Mac

The good news is that iPhone could finally allow users to install applications directly starting in 2024, according to a reliable source. The bad news is that being able to go without the App Store will only be an option in Europe.

To be clear, sideloading is required by EU law so it’s definitely happening. The timing isn’t clear, though.

New ‘Apps by Apple’ guide serves up great apps on a platter


The new Apps by Apple webpage gives you an overview and access to Apple's first-party apps.
The new Apps by Apple webpage gives you an overview and access to Apple's first-party apps.
Photo: Apple

Apple quietly added a helpful new “Apps by Apple” section to its website last week. Cupertino’s new guide breaks down the world of great Apple apps into helpful sections all in one place.

Some people wonder if it’s part of Apple’s response to the European Union’s moves to force sideloading of apps on iPhones.

Game on! Fortnite is apparently returning to iPhone.


Epic Games v. Apple gets serious next spring.
Epic Games CEO is optimistic that Fortnite will once again be available for iPhone by the end of the year.
Graphic: Cult of Mac

The CEO of Epic Games teased Fortnite fans that the game will once again be playable on iPhone in 2023.

That would be quite a turnaround, as Apple blocked Epic from the App Store back in 2020 during a lengthy court battle. But new EU regulations likely will allow the game developer to do an end run around the block.

EU forces Apple to rip huge hole in iPhone security


Apple being forced to a rip huge hole in iPhone security
The EU is making it easy for hackers to get malware onto iPhones.
Graphic: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Criminals around the world are surely celebrating news that Apple is being forced by the European Union to enable iPhone to install applications from outside the App Store. The move will allow hackers to release a fresh tidal wave of malware, hoping to slip it onto iOS handsets. iPhone users will be forced to fend off attempts to trick them into installing this malware virtually every day.

And well-known, unscrupulous companies will take advantage of the new security hole, too.

Apple gears up for alternative app stores on iPhone and iPad


No, the App Store isn't closed. But big changes are taking place behind the scenes.
No, the App Store isn't closed. But big changes are taking place behind the scenes.
Photo: Apple

Apple has launched a major project to allow alternative app stores on iPhones and iPads by 2024. The effort is meant to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act, which comes fully into force then, and other possible national or regional laws that will make Apple allow sideloading of apps, according to new report Tuesday.

The end result should see Apple allowing people to download third-party software to iPhones and iPads from somewhere other than the App Store for the first time.

EU’s Digital Markets Act takes step toward forcing huge changes to iPhone


European Union
The European Union takes another step toward tough regulations on tech giants like Apple.

The European Parliament passed the landmark Digital Markets Act on Tuesday. The legislation aims to outlaw many common practices of Big Tech companies, especially Apple, Google and Amazon.

For iPhone users, the DMA would force Apple to allow rival app stores and sideloaded applications. And these are only two of many significant changes in the act.

There are still further steps the the EU government must go through before the DMA goes into effect, but that’s expected to happen before the end of 2022.

Tim Cook’s privacy summit keynote condemns app sideloading


Tim Cook delivered a keynote address at the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit on Tuesday.
Tim Cook delivered a keynote address at the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit on Tuesday.
Photo: IAPP

Apple CEO Tim Cook called privacy a key battle of our time during a speech Tuesday. He extolled Apple’s commitment to protecting its users’ data and condemned regulations that would force Cupertino to accept app sideloading on iPhones.

“We are deeply concerned about regulations that would undermine privacy and security in service of some other aim,” he said, referring to legislation that would force Apple to allow apps for its devices to bypass the App Store.

Cook made the comments during a wide-ranging keynote address at the International Association of Privacy Professionals Global Privacy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Read more about what he said and watch video of his speech below.

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 thinks antitrust reform could create ‘race to the bottom’ for security


Apple says proposed antitrust regulation would endanger consumer privacy.
Photo: Apple

Apple thinks five pieces of antitrust reform legislation could undermine innovation and competition in tech, as well as creating a “race to the bottom” for security and privacy. Apple laid out its concerns in a letter sent ahead of Wednesday’s meeting of the House Judiciary Committee to discuss the proposed laws.

The letter — sent to chairmen Jerrold Nadler and David Cicilline, and ranking members Jim Jordan and Ken Buck — lays out Apple’s arguments for why the government needs to reconsider the five bills.

Apple says allowing sideloading iPhone apps would ‘actually eliminate choice’


App Store
Stick to the App Store, Apple says.
Photo: Ed Hardy/Cult of Mac

Apple’s none too keen on sideloading, the process of allowing apps to be installed on iPhones and iPads from outside of the App Store. While some critics take issue with this as an example of Cupertino’s uncompromising monopolistic tendencies, Apple — unsurprisingly — has a different take.

In an interview with Fast Company, timed to coincide with publication of a white paper on the subject, Apple’s head of user privacy, Erik Neuenschwander, explains the company’s take.

Spoiler alert: It’s all about security.