Japan may soon force Apple to allow sideloading on iOS
Japan’s Fair Trade Commission is reportedly working on new regulations that would require Apple to allow sideloading on its iOS platform. Sideloading would permit users to download and install apps from sources other than Apple’s App Store, such as third-party app stores or the web.
This move comes after the EU ruled that Apple must allow sideloading by March 2024, and evidence of Apple working on enabling this feature has been found in iOS 17 beta versions.
However, it appears that Apple may geo-target this feature, enabling it only in regions where it is required to do so.
In addition to sideloading, Japan’s new regulations cover areas such as app stores, payment systems, and search engines. It is expected that third-party payment systems will also be allowed, potentially reducing Apple’s share of sales and in-app purchases.
These regulations will affect both Apple and Google, with the potential to impact Google’s in-app purchase revenue as well.
Sideloading is common on other major platforms such as Windows, MacOS, and Android, but iOS has historically remained a tightly integrated platform. Despite this potential change, it is unlikely to have a catastrophic impact on Apple’s business, and could be viewed as a natural evolution of the iOS platform.
This shift may lead to enhanced user experience and potentially cheaper in-app purchases for users. It remains to be seen if US regulators will take similar action in the future.