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Apple could be forced to allow app sideloading under new EU law

Could Fortnite be back on Apple devices?

A new EU law could be passed that would force Apple to allow users to install third-party apps on their devices, a process known as sideloading.

The law, known as the Digital Markets Act (DMA), has yet to be passed by the European Parliament but if accepted could be enforced as early as October.

It would mean Apple would be forced to allow users to access both third-party stores and third-party apps - something the company is vehemently opposed to as it could compromise security.

"Allowing sideloading would degrade the security of the iOS platform and expose users to serious security risks not only on third-party app stores, but also on the App Store," states a report by Apple from last year.

The law would mean users could download, for instance, Fortnite through a third-party store, despite a legal battle between Apple and Epic Games in which Fortnite was removed from the iOS app store.

"We believe that the owner of a smartphone should have the freedom to choose how to use it," European Commission spokesperson Johannes Bahrke said in a statement to The Verge.

"This freedom includes being able to opt for alternative sources of apps on your smartphone. With the DMA, a smartphone owner would still be able to enjoy safe and secure services of the default app store on their smart phones. On top of that, if a user so chooses, the DMA would allow a smartphone owner to also opt for other safe app stores."

Apple spokesperson Emma Wilson responded to The Verge, stating concerns that "some provisions of the DMA will create unnecessary privacy and security vulnerabilities for our users while others will prohibit us from charging for intellectual property in which we invest a great deal."

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Ed Nightingale

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Ed has an interest in streaming, people and communities, and giving a voice to marginalised people.