Tim Cook: Users Who Want to Sideload Apps Can Use Android, While the iPhone Experience Maximizes 'Security and Privacy'

Apple CEO Tim Cook stated today that sideloading apps is possible amid increased scrutiny and tension around the App Store. He said that the Android experience offers the best security and privacy.

Cook spoke at The New York Times DealBook summit and stated that customers have the choice of a secure platform or one that allows sideloading. Andrew, I believe that people today have that choice. Sideloading is possible with an Android phone. Cook said sideloading was like selling a car without seatbelts or airbags.

Andrew, I believe that today's consumers have the option to choose. If you wish to sideload, an Android phone can be purchased. This option is available when you visit a carrier shop. You should consider buying an Android phone if this is something that is important to your needs. It would be as if an automobile manufacturer were telling a customer not to install seat belts or airbags in their car. He wouldn't think of doing it in the present day. This is too risky. It wouldn't be an iPhone if it didn’t maximize privacy and security.

Sideloading allows users to download and install apps directly from their iPhones via the internet. Cook is now speaking out on this topic. Craig Federighi (Apple's senior vice-president of software engineering), stated earlier this week that sideloading was a "cybercriminal’s best friend" and highlighted the dangers customers could face if they were allowed to install apps from any location on the internet.

Apple published some facts in October about the security and privacy features of the iPhone and the Android ecosystem. Apple stated in the paper that mobile malware has been found to attack Android smartphones between 15 and 47 times greater than the malware that targets the iPhone. The paper also stated that this is closely related to sideloading.

Cook was asked about privacy issues. He was questioned by Cook on recent reports that revealed that Snapchat, Google and Facebook lost nearly $10 billion in revenue due to Apple's App tracking transparency prompt. This prompt requires developers to get consent from users before they track them. Cook declined to comment on specific numbers but reiterated that Apple views privacy as a fundamental human rights.

Andrew, I don't have any information about these estimates so I cannot testify to them. However, I believe privacy is a fundamental human right. The person should decide whether or not to share data. We have been putting the power in the hands of the user. We don't make the decision. Instead, we simply ask them if they would like to be tracked across different apps. Many of them will say no, but they didn't have the option before. So I feel great and get great feedback from users about the freedom to choose.

Apple is involved in numerous investigations and disputes around the globe regarding the App Store. The country most likely to bring about significant change is South Korea. The country adopted new rules last month that prohibit platform owners from limiting developers' access to one payment method for in-app purchase.

Apple receives a 15%-30% commission for all digital purchases made through the App Store's in app purchase method. Developers are required to use this method to make digital purchases within their apps. Cook stated today that Apple has never increased its commission and has only ever decreased it. If fully implemented, however, the new South Korean law would be a major turning point in the App Store's history. App Store operates within a single global set rules. Any changes in any one jurisdiction are applied globally to all developers.