Home » Your iPhone could soon get one of Android’s greatest features

Your iPhone could soon get one of Android’s greatest features

iPhone owners who feel like they’ve been missing out on a feature exclusive to Android are in luck. A major change has just been announced by Apple that’s finally making its smartphones a little less locked down. As most iPhone users will be well aware, right now the only way to add an app to the home screen is via Apple’s official App Store. Android users don’t have that same walled garden with Google-powered devices able to install software from anywhere on the web.

Now that same functionality is coming to iPhones in the EU and possibly the UK in the future. This update basically means developers can create applications and not have to submit them to Apple to be checked and verified which could mean more choice for consumers.

A good example of why this will favour both owners and creators is the popular game Fortnite which hasn’t been available on the App Store since 2020. This was due to arguments over in-app purchases with Apple saying that all payments must be made via its platform. Fortnite’s developers weren’t happy so pulled the game from the store.

With the new rules in place, it might soon be possible to sideload Fortnite onto iPhones via different marketplaces.

The radical move is part of the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) which is aimed at stopping big companies from gatekeeping their platforms.

When the changes kick in, anyone in the EU will find their devices become much less locked down when it comes to apps.

The changes won’t initially apply to the UK but that may change in the future due to the upcoming Digital Markets Bill which is currently being pushed through Parliament.

Although this might sound like a victory for Apple fans it does come with a word of warning.

One of the big bonuses of the App Store is that it protects users from bugs and viruses with Apple meticulously checking each piece of software before it’s allowed to be downloaded.

That won’t be the case when side loading. Android users have been plagued by rogue apps in the past that often contain dangerous malware that has ability to steal data and install annoying adware.

That’s something Apple is trying to avoid.

“The changes we’re announcing today comply with the Digital Markets Act’s requirements in the European Union, while helping to protect EU users from the unavoidable increased privacy and security threats this regulation brings. Our priority remains creating the best, most secure possible experience for our users in the EU and around the world,” said Phil Schiller, Apple Fellow.

Along with the change to apps, Apple has also confirmed that it will soon show a pop-up window when first using its Safari browser. This will give owners the option to pick rival software as the default such as Chrome or Firefox.

“Today, iOS users already have the ability to set a third-party web browser — other than Safari — as their default,” Apple explained.

“Reflecting the DMA’s requirements, Apple is also introducing a new choice screen that will surface when users first open Safari in iOS 17.4 or later. That screen will prompt EU users to choose a default browser from a list of options..”

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