In response to upcoming regulations in the European Union, Apple is reportedly working on fundamental changes to the way iOS and App Store work. By BloombergThe company is even considering allowing alternative app stores on its devices. Riley Testut, the developer who created AltStore, shared his thoughts on iOS having official support for third-party app stores.
For those who don’t know, AltStore is an alternative app store for iOS that can be installed without jailbreak using some developer tools. If Apple finally allows third-party app stores for iOS, users can install AltStore on their iPhones and iPads without any system changes or tricks.
But How does Testut see this situation?? Although the developer has created the AltStore, he believes that opening iOS to any alternative of the App Store can be harmful to users. And here’s why.
Alternative app stores can ‘break’ the user experience
According to Testut, the App Store “plays an important role” in ensuring the integrity and security of iOS because every app available there must follow Apple’s guidelines and go through a review process. The developer describes the App Store as “the only place users trust”, although it claims it has “flaws”.
The developer believes that having alternative app stores on iOS will likely “break” the whole experience for both users and developers. Aside from security concerns, there’s also the fact that App Store developers don’t have to worry about payment and distribution.
And for developers, it’s GREAT not to have to handle the payments ourselves or solve the distribution.
Testut also thinks that some big companies like Meta may want to create their own stores to avoid App Store guidelines. This forces users to have multiple app stores installed on their device to find all the apps they need. At the same time, these companies can pay other developers to migrate their apps from the official App Store to their own app stores.
Now you MUST use 3 different app stores otherwise you will lose access to the apps you are already using! So yes, it’s a choice – but the choice is NOT “do I use 3rd party stores to get new great apps” Instead: do I use 3rd party stores only to keep using my existing apps?
The creator of AltStore sees sideloading as the best alternative for Apple to comply with the new law in the European Union and at the same time protect the App Store and its developers.
For Testut, forcing users to sideload apps using a Mac reduces the number of companies interested in distributing apps outside of the App Store, while developers like him can distribute their projects to users without any gimmicks.
In this scenario, there is little incentive for successful apps to leave the App Store; The process of sideloading apps deters less tech savvy and reduces their potential user base. But for apps that are not allowed in the App Store, like my own app Delta? They can finally exist!
For now, any guesses as to how Apple will open iOS to third-party app stores are purely speculative because we’re still talking about a rumor.
While Testut has some strong points about how important the App Store is to the security of iOS and its users, allowing alternative app stores or even sideloading directly on iPhone and iPad probably won’t change much for the vast majority of users.
Take a look at how Android works. There you can have alternative app stores and install apps from other sources. But still, apps from all major players are available on the Google Play Store. Because most regular users have no idea what sideloading is and the first place they go to download a new app is still the Play Store.
If something like this happens on iOS, Apple’s App Store will continue to be the place most users (and developers) rely on to download and distribute their apps. And even Mark Zuckerberg can’t be crazy enough to buy his apps from one of the world’s most profitable online stores.
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