Apple iOS chief Craig Federighi on Wednesday said that forcing the company to allow the sideloading of apps would make users vulnerable to malware, data theft and privacy violations from the likes of Facebook.
During a speech at a European tech conference, Federighi compared the European Commission's proposed digital competition rules, which would put in place some requirements to allow users to download apps from the internet or third-party app stores, to a town mandating easy entry into homes during an uptick in burglaries.
"In the noble pursuit of, say, more optimized package delivery, your town requires everyone to build an always-unlocked side door on the ground floor of their homes," he said. "The safe house that you chose now has a fatal flaw."
The company has previously pushed back on the proposed rules, which would require sideloading while making exceptions for "proportionate measures" to preserve hardware and operating systems, even as the company faces a series of international proposals and lawsuits, some of which seek sideloading for Apple's App Store.
Yet Federighi went further on Wednesday: He said "attackers are virtually dressing up as mailmen, building tunnels underground and trying to scale your backyard walls with grappling hooks." He also suggested Google's Android, which allows some sideloading, is vastly less safe than iOS, and warned about phony app stores and the unscrupulous data practices of "a social networking app that your friends are all on."
Apple has spent recent years in a feud with Facebook, the world's largest social networking site, and the conflict got particularly hot earlier this year when Apple allowed users to opt out when Facebook and other apps want to track them across the iPhone.
Without naming the company, Federighi suggested the tension between the two companies could become a core of Apple's defense against a range of potential competition measures. He said that allowing sideloading would mean this hypothetical app would lower its privacy standards and risk getting booted out of the App Store because it knows users could still download the social media company's mobile software.
"Some social networking apps will probably try to avoid the pesky privacy protections of the App Store," he said. "Privacy features that go beyond the bare minimum legal standards — the ones that users truly rely on to keep their information safe — well, these would no longer exist for these apps."