Apple warns of the dangers of installing unapproved apps

Apple has argued that allowing iPhone users to install software from outside its App Store opens the door to ransomware, pirated software, and apps that steal user data.

The warning comes as lawmakers debate a series of antitrust laws aimed at curbing the power of big tech companies.

Two projects aim to prevent owners of tech platforms from favoring their own services, and could be interpreted as forcing Apple to allow apps to be downloaded from outside its App Store.

In a 16-page paper published on its website, Apple said allowing sideloading would encourage hackers and scammers to target iPhone users by helping them lure victims to download apps outside the App Store.

Apple also warned that allowing sideloading could put children at risk. This is done by allowing apps to bypass parental controls or by collecting sensitive user data.

“Given the large iPhone user base and sensitive data stored on their phones, allowing sideloading would motivate attacks against the platform,” Apple said.

Apple warns of unapproved apps:

Apple currently prohibits sideloading on the iPhone. Accordingly, the only way for consumers to install apps on iPhones is through the Apple App Store.

Currently, suspicious apps must go through an app review process, which aims to reject scams.

Apple referred to the apps via Android, a rival smartphone operating system that was created and loosely overseen by Google. But it does allow companies more freedom to modify it and use only certain parts.

Android devices can download software from a variety of sources, not just the Google Play Store.

Apple said Android apps can lock data and as a result force users to pay to restore it.

It cited a side-loaded Android app that was presented as an official coronavirus app from Health Canada. But it encrypted the user’s data, who had to send an email to the attacker for decryption.

In addition, Apple laptops and desktops allow sideloading. But the company argues that the larger number of iPhones makes securing its App Store more important and justifies its control over iPhone software.

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