Is Apple set to allow app sideloading in iOS 17?

Predicting the future of Apple after changes to European law

Is Apple set to allow app sideloading in iOS 17?

In June of this year, the next of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference events is taking place in what could reportedly be a return to the lengthy pre-pandemic presentation format.

According to Mark Gurman, one of the industry’s highly trusted sources, this has ruled out the prospect of other launch events prior to June. He also believes that iOS 17 has some big changes in store - most markedly the ability to sideload iPhones bypassing Apple's App Store in a move to appease European regulators.

Change is brewing

In recent years, Apple has had no shortage of drama as relates to its App Store, from the fiasco with Epic Games to broader monopoly cases. Now, as per the new European regulations, Apple intends to conform, tear down its safe garden wall, and enable apps to be downloaded outside of the App Store.

After all, compliance with the new Digital Markets Act means bolstering interoperability and keeping competition alive within the mobile industry. Apple’s history, and the fact that the company continues to take a 30 percent share of earnings from approved apps, has ultimately led – or at least massively contributed – to the new European law.

When said law was introduced last September, Apple made no comment. And in the past, though sideloading was technically possible, doing so meant breaking Apple's policies and such apps were removed when discovered. Developers could even be banned from future, legitimate App Store submissions as a consequence.

Now, if Gurman’s Bloomberg report is to be believed (which it probably should be), punitive measures won’t be taken against sideloaded apps and Apple is even "working to overhaul the software to open up the iPhone to sideloading". This would mean that, by next year, Apple will be in compliance with the new European regulations.

If true, games that have been aged out by the App Store – having not kept up to date with requirements for a presence there – may see a return to Apple devices before long, and alternative stores could be in for a boom in potential and popularity.

As well as iOS 17, Gurman expects Apple’s iPadOS 17 and an update to the company’s watchOS to be highlighted at the event.

Last month, Gossamer principal Eric Kress suggested that "Apple don't care about games".

News Editor

Aaron is the News Editor at and has an honours degree in Creative Writing.
Having spent far too many hours playing Pokémon, he's now on a quest to be the very best like no one ever putting words in the right order.