Apple has always been consistent with its policy on apps. Ordinarily, iOS owners could only download and install apps through the official app store.
But everything is changing, as new European legislation is coming into force in 2024, which challenges Apple’s ‘restrictive’ app policy. Experts predict Apple will begin to allow users to download and install third-party apps on Apple devices.
In this article, you’ll learn what this new law means for you and your iPhone. You’ll also learn some essential cybersecurity advice to help protect yourself in this turbulent, changing app market.
What does the new Digital Markets Act mean?
These enormous changes have been brought about by the new European legislation titled The Digital Markets Act. This law aims to prevent ‘gatekeepers’ in digital markets and create a fairer, more open competition.
Despite Apple’s continued resistance, it will likely allow third-party apps to be installed on devices, allowing users to bypass the App Store to avoid sanctions by the European Union.
Until now, the only way to install third-party apps on iPhones was through a technique known as jailbreaking, a practice that altered a device’s firmware and settings. Apple took a tough stance against jailbreaking, stating that doing so would void the device’s warranty and lead to instability and potential vulnerabilities.
Because of the Digital Markets Act, Apple will have to forgo these reservations and allow users the ability and freedom to choose other apps for their devices.
Protecting your iPhone from hacks
However, it must be said that Apple has valid concerns over how these changes will impact their customer’s cybersecurity. That’s because the App Store, while restrictive, did serve as an excellent quality control to limit suspicious apps from being downloaded.
Third-party apps can contain malicious coding that users fail to realize. Once downloaded, they can infect the device and steal personal information.
Some experts fear that once the app store changes arrive, there will be a surge of opportunistic hackers waiting to target iOS owners via third-party apps.
So, how do you protect yourself?
- Use a fast and secure virtual private network (VPN)
A VPN is an essential cybersecurity tool that protects you from a cyberattack. It encrypts your internet connection, making tracking and monitoring your online activity and data sent and received impossible.
Many VPNs have built-in threat protection features that can flag suspicious third-party websites known to distribute malware and prevent you from downloading malicious apps. This alone can significantly reduce the risk of any future cyberattacks.
VPNs come with different protocols, which can prioritize speed, performance, security, and more. Depending on your internet usage, you might be inclined to faster VPN protocols or more encryption if you often deal with sensitive information.
Arguably, the best protocol to look for is a Wireguard VPN, which perfectly balances speed and performance. Not only will you enjoy a high level of security, but you’ll also enjoy lightning-fast speeds on your Apple devices.
- Download and use antivirus protection
Because the App Store strictly monitored apps, antivirus protection wasn’t as big a concern for iOS users. But, with the introduction of third-party apps, it should now become a priority.
By downloading antivirus protection, you’re equipping your iPhone with the best security information possible to protect itself.
Features of an excellent antivirus for iOS include the ability to:
- Scan specific folders, including downloads, for suspicious activity
- Detect, quarantine, and remove infected files
- Offer web protection, which blocks malicious websites
- Provide 24/7 real-time protection for your device
- Monitor unusual app activity, including requested permissions
- Receive regular updates and can download and install these automatically
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