Sideloading apps for iOS and potential risks explained

When users sideload apps, they invariably risk exposing their device to malware – or worse. In this article we explain how sideloading works and why companies can benefit from MDM.

sideload apps and its prevention
Your employees can easily sideload apps and you might want to protect your business against this. (Photo by rawpixel on Unsplash)

Just how easy it is to sideload apps on your iOS device – that means downloading apps outside of the official App Store from an unknown installer – can be seen in step-by-step guides found online.

For Android users, it has been possible to sideload apps for a while and it is particularly useful if apps are unavailable through the standard providers. It might come to a surprise to more people though, that with relatively simple workarounds you can also get third party apps running on Apple devices.

What are the safety concerns with sideloaded apps?

It goes without saying that the safest way to download apps is via the official App Store for your device, as downloading sideloaded apps can risk compromising your device with malware.
Apple’s iOS Security Guide, published in November 2018, shows the different security measures Apple takes to prevent malicious apps from appearing on the App Store. This includes conducting regular reviews of apps and ensuring that each developer is verified with a real-life identity.

Third party app stores do not carry out the same level of tests, leaving them open to hackers looking to exploit such weaknesses. So users who sideload apps on their iPhone, for example, pose a risk to organizations that use BYOD (Bring Your Own Device).

Cortado MDM application management

When integrated with Cortado’s MDM solutions, sideloaded apps on corporate iOS devices are not a widespread problem. It is easy to prevent applications that have not been signed by trusted parties from being installed at all. Likewise, it is possible to maintain a whitelist, meaning that only apps on the whitelist can be used. You can learn more about recommend iPhone device management here and in the following white paper.

Mobile Device Management for Beginners

This free white paper provides a beginner’s overview to MDM and explains how to improve mobile security.

Download Free Whitepaper »