'The risks will increase': Apple slams the EU for forcing it to allow sideloading on some iPhones

Young woman using smartphone in Sydney
(Image credit: Getty Images)

It seems that regulation woes continue to follow Apple (including a recent UK law conflict), but this time the tech giant is making sure not to take it lying down.

Apple has been strongly opposed to a recent regulatory ruling from the EU called the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which requires Apple to allow third-party app stores on the best iPhones. According to a whitepaper published by the corporation, it deeply criticized this sideloading as something that would be incredibly dangerous to consumers.

And though Apple is forced to comply, it’s stating that it’s working to protect EU consumers from any security risks as the result of this new regulation. According to Apple’s new whitepaper, it’s rolling out new protections to ensure the safety of third-party app stores while still complying with the DMA.

One such feature is called Notarization for iOS in which “Apple will electronically sign each app that is distributed on iOS in the EU… Before signing any app, Apple will analyze each one to check that it is free of known malware and other security threats, generally functions as advertised, and doesn’t expose users to egregious fraud.”

However, despite Apple’s criticism of the DMA not protecting its users, the tech giant specifically states in its whitepaper that Notarization Review Guidelines will not cover the content and commerce policies in the App Store Review Guidelines. 

This means that “apps that distribute pornography, apps that encourage consumption of tobacco or vape products, illegal drugs, or excessive amounts of alcohol, or apps that contain pirated content” will not be regulated on third-party app stores as they would be in the Apple Store.

Apple does raise valid concerns but… 

Normally, I’m for the regulation of corporate entities, as any decisions made by them will always benefit the company’s profit margin at the cost of the consumer. And while I’m generally supportive of the DMA and how it strives to maintain a competitive spirit in markets and prevent monopolies.

However, Apple does have a point about some of the blindspots in this regulation, namely that third-party apps can be difficult to regulate in terms of what security risks they bring in as they won’t be so tightly controlled as Apple’s first-party app store. However, even Apple doesn’t seem to be too concerned about those same risks as it won’t even bother with regulating those app stores for harmful content.

There’s also the fact that Apple’s nearly 14,000-word manifesto doesn’t mention that it greatly profited from its fees for sales through rival app stores, which is another reason why the tech giant is fighting so hard on this front.

In other words, Apple does make some solid points about the security issues behind its forced compliance with the DMA which need to be addressed. But, let's not go thinking that its arguments are entirely altruistic.

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Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.