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Apple support staff warned to avoid side-loading speculation

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Apple has warned its support staff to avoid talking to customers about the possibility of side-loading and third-party app storefronts arriving in non-EU countries.

Apple is close to the release of iOS 17.4, which will introduce major changes to Apple's App Store policies within the European Union. However, while Apple does have to deal with Europe's Digital Markets Act, it doesn't particularly want the changes to roll out into other parts of the world.

In Sunday's "Power On" newsletter for Bloomberg, Mark Gurman writes that Apple is telling its support staff "not to speculate if side-loading and third-party app marketplaces will come to more regions."

The list of changes arriving in response to the EU's DMA includes supporting third-party app storefronts, side-loading apps, more browser engines, and developer access to Apple's NFC system.

While DMA comes into force from March 7, it will only apply to the 27 member states of the European Union. The features won't be available to other territories, including the U.S and United Kingdom, among others.

With expectations that consumers in other markets will want the same features, Apple has prepared for customer queries by informing customer service representatives to avoid talking about the topic.

As for the possibility of Apple doing so, it's extremely unlikely unless the company is legally compelled to make such changes, such as the EU's DMA coming into force. Even so, Apple has dragged its feet in complying with the DMA, and on Friday, released a whitepaper detailing its work to protect EU users, and emphasizing the risks of opening up iPhone to App Store rivals.