It's no secret that Apple isn't a fan of sideloading. Amid
several regulatory battles over Apple's locked-down App
Store-centric system, the company has defended the iPhone's
security as an advantage rather than a detriment.
At Web Summit 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal Wednesday, Apple VP of
software engineering Craig Federighi used his time to defend the
iPhone against sideloading. Framing around a defense against the
proposed Digital Markets Act legislation, which would
give developers new opportunities to compete and innovate in the
online platform environment without having to comply with unfair
terms and conditions limiting their development, aka force Apple to
Federighi started his talk by defending the iPhone's security.
While he admitted that there's no such thing as a perfect security
system, he quickly blasted sideloading as the single biggest reason
why other platforms have more malware. In a nutshell, he said,
Sideloading undermines security and puts data at risk.
He described the iPhone's closed system as a consumer choice of
a more secure platform, and painted a grim view of a world where
the sideloading is allowed on the iPhone:
In this world, some of your neighbors are suffering repeated
break-ins but your home has kept you safe. But then … your town
requires you to build an always unlocked side door on the ground
floor….It would open up a pandora's box of unreviewed,
Federighi also defended Apple's stance against people who
suggest sideloading is a choice. Even if you have no intention of
sideloading, people are routinely coerced or tricked into doing it,
he said. Even if you never sideload, your iPhone and data are less
safe in a world where Apple is forced to allow it.
He praised the DMA and European regulation as a whole, but had
no nice words to say about the effort to force Apple to allow
non-App Store apps on the iPhone: Sideloading is a cybercriminal's
best friend, and requiring it on the iPhone would be a gold rush
for the malware industry.
However, Federighi didn't address the Mac in the 10-minute
presentation, despite Apple having always allowed sideloading and
implementing numerous safeguards to protect against malware.