Is Sideloading Coming with iOS 17? Potential Opportunities AND Challenges for Companies

Will Apple allow sideloading with iOS 17? We give an outlook at the potential opportunities and challenges that would arise for businesses and what to look out for.

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A possible sideloading feature in iOS 17 could allow apps to be downloaded from alternative sources, bringing with it some opportunities but also risks.

The rumour of a possible EU-exclusive sideloading feature for iOS 17 has the Apple community in uproar. This supposed feature would allow apps from alternative sources to be installed on iOS devices without having to rely on the Apple App Store. In this blog post, we would like to discuss the potential benefits and challenges for businesses.

iOS 17 Sideloading: Opportunities for Business (if confirmed)

Let’s first look at the potential benefits for businesses should Apple’s new sideloading feature be confirmed.

  • Independence from Apple’s policies: If the introduction of sideloading in iOS 17 is confirmed, companies could gain more flexibility in the selection of apps for their employees. It would be possible to use apps that do not follow Apple’s strict guidelines. This could open new possibilities for the use of specialized or company-specific apps that make everyday work more efficient.
  • Faster app deployment and updates: Should app sideloading be introduced in iOS 17, companies would be able to deploy and update their apps faster and independently of Apple’s approval process. This would allow them to react more flexibly to market demands and internal developments and thus ensure best app usage.
  • Cost savings: The use of sideloading, if confirmed, could also lead to cost savings as companies might have to pay fewer levies to Apple. Normally, Apple charges a commission on all app purchases, in-app purchases and subscriptions made through the App Store. If companies could sideload their own apps onto their devices, they would not have to pay these fees to Apple. This would allow them to better target resources and provide their employees with better tools.

iOS 17 Sideloading: Challenges for Business (if confirmed)

However, the benefits are offset by several challenges that organizations face when iOS 17 sideloading is confirmed and the associated risks and difficulties come into focus.

  • One of these challenges concerns the security of corporate data. Without the App Store’s security checks, malicious apps could get onto corporate devices, creating security vulnerabilities.
  • Another challenge lies in the management of apps that are not distributed through the official app store. IT departments would need to ensure that they have effective management and control mechanisms in place to monitor the installation and update of apps and ensure that only authorized apps are used on devices.
  • In addition, it could become more difficult for companies to sell their own apps in the App Store, as users may find alternative methods to install the apps on their devices.

We have compiled more information for you in the article Sideloading apps & security risks.

Effectively control sideloading of iOS apps via MDM

By using mobile device management (MDM), companies can minimize the security challenges associated with sideloading. MDM solutions allow companies to control the installation, distribution and updating of apps on their employees’ devices and to implement and enforce security policies and configurations for the apps.

As an EU manufacturer with extensive know-how and experience in the secure management of mobile devices, Cortado offers its customers a secure and reliable MDM solution to responsibly handle the use of sideloading in iOS 17, should the feature come. Already today, it is possible for organizations to easily and securely add self-developed iOS apps to iPhones and iPads.

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