In a recent virtual interview at the VivaTech conference, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook claimed that security and privacy remains pivotal to the Cupertino giant. Indeed, he went on to say that Android operating system has 47 times the malware on it than the iOS platform.
According to Cook, this is because they’ve designed iOS so that there would only be one App Store, and all apps on that platform are reviewed before being allowed to be listed on the store. This is why Apple doesn’t let users sideload apps onto an iPhone, as part of their measures to keep malware out of their ecosystem. Android users on the other hand can install apps not available to them on the Play Store by simply downloading the relevant APK and OBB files needed to install them.
Cook also touched on the potential regulatory changes in Europe. Authorities in the EU have been looking at possibly approving the Digital Services Act, a legislative proposal that aims to ensure a safe time online for users. However, Cook claims that the way the Act is structured might force Apple to allow the sideloading of apps, which in turn could harm the iPhone’s security.
“Current Digital Services Act language that is being discussed would force sideloading on the iPhone. This would be an alternate way of getting apps onto the iPhone.
As we look at that, that would destroy the security of the iPhone and a lot of the privacy initiatives that we’ve built into the App Store, where we have privacy nutrition labels and App Tracking Transparency that forces people to get permission to track across apps,” – Tim Cook, in an interview from VivaTech
Cook then adds that the security of the iPhone wouldn’t exist anymore, except for those who stick with the Apple ecosystem. He does emphasise that he’s not against the DSA and that he does like parts of the current proposal. However, he wants to voice out against this as he has the responsibility to to voice out something that he feels is against the best interests of Apple’s users.
Of course, this isn’t the first time Apple’s control of what you can and cannot install on iPhones has come into the limelight. Just a few months back, the app developer Kosta Elefteriou made headlines by publicly calling out the lax enforcement of apps on the App Store. Elefteriou – who made the popular app FlickType – claims that the App Store is full of scam apps and cloned apps.
These fraudulent apps are then filled with fake five star reviews which push them to the top of the App Store page. His anger mostly stems from the apparent lack of action by Apple to remove these apps, even though they’ve been around for years. The ratings page would also show a high average, despite most of the real reviews being one-star. You can find his whole thread on his grievances below:
Going back to Tim Cook’s comments however, it’s certainly an interesting take on Apple’s long running feud with the European authorities. You can check out the full interview here, but do be warned that you’ll want to increase your volume to actually hear him.