I won’t link to the original person who wrote this, because it’s clearly engagement bait. But let’s break down falsehoods about the world outside of the App Store, because you’ll be seeing a lot more FUD about sideloading as the deadline nears for Apple to comply with the EU DMA:
(TL;DR at the bottom)
👉 “When developers sideload their apps, they don’t have access to Apple’s tools and resources to optimize their apps for iOS. This can lead to apps that are slower, less responsive, and have less polished animations.”
I develop the https://newterm.app command line terminal and @zebra app store for jailbroken iPhones. Both are developed using Xcode and Apple’s current frameworks. NewTerm extensively uses SwiftUI. Neither app has performance issues.
👉 “Apple releases new APIs with each new version of iOS. Sideloaded apps may not be updated to support the latest APIs, which means that they may not be able to take advantage of new features and functionality.”
The latest SDK always works fine. The limiting factor is often rather that the app’s codebase isn’t ready for a newer SDK, due to new breaking behavior Apple introduced. This is an issue as old as time itself, and affects any platform including iOS, macOS, Android, Windows, and Linux, whether App Store or not. It’s just necessary for platforms to break compatibility sometimes. That said, even if you use an old SDK, you can still define and use functions from newer SDKs.
👉 “Sideloaded apps may not have the same level of quality control as App Store apps. App Store apps are reviewed by Apple before they are made available to users.”
This is a very common misconception. Apple doesn’t review apps for quality, they review them for violations of their rules. Even then, they miss many clear scams. There are replies in the original thread from app devs who had experience releasing a broken build that App Review completely missed.
👉 “Sideloaded apps are not subject to this same level of review, which means that they may be more likely to contain bugs, security vulnerabilities, or other problems.”
As with the last one, App Review isn’t a security audit. If you’ve had an app rejected before, you’ll know the reviewers aren’t technical people. The security of your code is your responsibility, and companies who can afford it do regularly get their code professionally tested for security issues. I would also point out that full jailbreak apps were approved on the App Store multiple times in the past. The apps were pulled only after they got media attention.
👉 “A sideloaded app may not be able to take advantage of the new Metal 3 graphics API in iOS 17, resulting in less impressive graphics and performance.”
You would be surprised to peek under the hood and find that plenty of apps you use every day, ones that feel current and do everything in ways you expect, in fact use old APIs in some cases. Being approved on the App Store has nothing to do with how “current” your codebase is. Apps are even still allowed to use OpenGL, which was deprecated by Apple in 2018, and was clearly on its way out since 2014.
👉 “A sideloaded app may not be as well-designed as an App Store app, making it more difficult to use and navigate.”
There are absolutely terrible apps on the App Store, including from companies that have plenty of money to hire a UI/UX design firm. You’ve definitely used at least a few apps like this and know what I’m talking about. Conversely, there are some incredibly polished apps/tweaks released in the jailbreak community, or even just outside of the App Store on macOS. Would you consider Chrome, Discord, Visual Studio Code, VLC, etc etc. poorly designed and hard to use because they’re not in the App Store? How you install an app has no bearing on its quality.
👉 “A sideloaded app may contain more bugs than an App Store app, leading to crashes and other unexpected behavior.”
Like I said earlier, App Review aren’t QA testers for every app to ever exist. It’s always been the developer’s responsibility to write high quality code and catch any bugs in it. You also really don’t want to waste time waiting hours or days for Apple to reject your app, when you can pass a build over to your QA testers (or perhaps friends, family, and TestFlight for indie devs) and get far higher quality feedback from people who actually use your app and know what to expect.