A week ago, Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke about iPhone security in an interview. He deemed the practice of side-loading apps as a major security flaw on Android phones. He said that allowing iOS devices to side-load apps would destroy the security of iPhones as well as the privacy initiatives built into the App Store. Cook even claimed that Android has 47 times more malware than iOS because of the side-loading.
However, the ability to side-load apps on Android phones or other devices like Android TVs is one of the best things about the platform. It gives users control over the apps they want to use on their devices even if they are not available on the Google Play Store.
With both arguments for and against side-loading, we thought of asking you if the ability to side-load apps on your phone is important to you. Here’s how you voted in our poll.
Do you care whether your phone has the ability to easily side-load apps?
Our poll got a total of 1,779 votes and most of you (49%) said that the ability to side-load third-party apps on your phone is a must-have for you. This isn’t all that surprising since the feature is one of the biggest draws of Android phones and other devices.
Meanwhile, 30% of you were of the opinion that side-loading capabilities are nice to have but not essential. Some of you (22%) even voted to say you don’t care about side-loading apps at all.
EasyCare: These malware excuses are getting lame. I have a Windows laptop and Android phone, both have been virus-free for years. Both have adequate safeguards to protect against malware. The rest depends on your common sense. Obviously, that’s your own fault if you download pirated software and get malware. I have apps from my company that I need to get from their marketplace, that’s why I sideload. Malware does not come in unless you allow them – Android disables and warns you of sideloading by default.
MatteBlack: I think the majority of things have decent safeguards in place–the product isn’t the problem, it’s people. I remember hearing about how a Flashlight app with millions of downloads was malware on the Play Store. When did people buy these phones? Or do they not know that almost every phone has had a native way to turn on the flash for a Flashlight for eons now? Also, it’s 2021, do people really bother with side-loading a bunch of stuff now? The only thing I side-load is the freaking Peacock app on my Firestick because the “big boys” are always having some sort of pissing match.
Nazo: I have two apps sideloaded personally. F-Droid and AdAway. Three if you count that I’ve sideloaded an old APK for an app that has problems in newer versions (ok, theoretically I suppose there could be security issues in this conceptually, but it is a music file player app, so not exactly an easy venue for exploits — especially since I’d have to actually manually put the file on there since it only accesses specific directories on my SD card which normal apps would have to request access for anyway.) That third is actually available on the Play Store, I just use an older version for now. For everything else, the Play Store has sufficiently met my needs.
Jason: I really loathe this. The lack of side-loading is the single most important reason why I never even consider an iOS device. I don’t want some company to be able to dictate what software I’m allowed to install on MY device.
Rui Rego: Apple has a jailed system, I’ll prefer the freedom of choice vs the security of a jail! And another thing, Apple doesn’t respect the users.
MKN: He is lying, Tim knows whenever they allow side-loading of apps their app store revenue will decrease.
Sklosss: Nobody forces you to sideload an app, it’s optional. Don’t see the problem here
Homer: As a developer, it is very simple. The App store does a good job of weeding out bad programs while Google Play does not. The only thing I’ve ever been rejected for from the Play store was trying to play a youtube video directly… I find it ridiculous that people would care so much about the side-loading of apps, there isn’t even a reason to do it in Android, zero. It’s $25 to be a developer and it goes on the Play store instantly.
What I really find interesting is that you would make side-loading a priority and not performance. Android is a POS operating system and runs horribly. When testing identical code on Android and iOS there is a significant performance difference from Android devices. It’s like running Python vs C++… just no comparison.
Justin: Personally I believe that Android’s side loading feature encourages enhanced on-device security and privacy. I don’t believe that Apple’s store does a great job at weeding out potential threats. It’s pretty clear that Apple knows it as well.