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As Apple has been under pressure to open up the iPhone to third-party app store providers, a developer has helped users sideload apps since 2019 — and has issues with broad legislation that demands users the ability to sideload apps.
Apple has always been consistent and clear in its opinion that sideloading brings malware risks, and will take changes in the law to allow unapproved apps on the iPhone. However, developer Riley Testut uses one of Apple’s own tools to allow users to install apps from outside the Apple App Store.
to me fast companyAltStore has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its launch in 2019. It is said to have over 300,000 active monthly users, about 6,000 of whom contribute to Testut’s Patreon, and pay him over $14,500 to work on the service full time.
Once installed, AltStore allows users to add apps created by Testut. Users can also add any app they can find from anywhere, as long as it uses the .ipa format. Versions of social media apps that have had their ads removed are said to be popular, as are classic game emulators.
AltStore takes advantage of the fact that Apple’s Xcode development platform allows users to upload the apps they develop directly to their iPhone.
When Apple announced it [feature in 2015]Testut says, “Okay, there’s some way to install apps on iOS just with an Apple ID. From there I’ve expanded that into a complete solution.”
The complete solution is not straightforward. It requires the user to install a Mac or PC application called AltServer, then AltStore signs the security application so that it appears to be user-generated.
Apps can only be installed when your iPhone and Mac or PC are on the same Wi-Fi network and AltServer is running. Only three of these apps can be installed at any one time, and one of those apps is the mandatory AltStore.
It is possible to switch apps, but there are limits to that as well. Any single user can only download up to 10 apps per week, and more Fast Company It says that each installed app should be “updated” by calling AltServer once a week.
Camel Employees have used the AltStore periodically since release. We can confirm that it works, and does what it’s advertised to be. However, installing both AltServer and applications through it can be tricky.
Sideloading is dangerous
Testut may not be able to circumvent these and other Apple restrictions, but it plans to create a security system that ensures side apps aren’t malicious.
“There are significant risks involved in sideloading,” Testut continues. “Because we are the tool that people use, it is our responsibility to make sure that we do what we can to prevent people from accidentally spoiling themselves.”
So perhaps ironically, Testut agrees with Apple about sideloading, or at least does so when it’s likely to be at scale. He disagrees with the proposed legislation that would allow any consumer to download any app, without some protection.
He said, “We don’t like bills, actually.” fast company. “We really think it’s very broad, and it has serious implications for consumer privacy.”
However, Testut strongly believes that everyone should have the right to sideload if they want to. He believes that the application industry needs that freedom.
“Apple takes an approach in the App Store where they only agree to what they actually envision, so anything beyond that, Apple will just reject it,” he says.
“We need a way for apps that push boundaries into existence first, and then people will see that they exist and want them in the App Store,” he continues. “Beautiful, fun apps aren’t showing up. We want to see more fun, cute, and fun apps on the AltStore.”