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Apple could help avoid some these problems if they would just let people side load apps without Appple's blessing or root your device without having to jailbreak it.





The trick is how to provide a feature like that which cannot be used as a vector for malicious hacks, and which can't be used by the authorities to compromise citizen's privacy against their wishes.

If you are side loading yourself you should be allowed to accept that risk.

If your worried about someone else side-loading make it easy to restore the device to factory defaults.

Blocking side loading or rooting by the owner is not a security feature.


Apple's side-loading ban creates ideal conditions for authorities to compromise citizen's privacy via censorship, VPN bans, etc.

Ultimately, having one all powerful gatekeeper is not secure, because that gatekeeper can get compromised or impose arbitrary restrictions for commercial/ideological reasons (such as Apples anti-sex policies)


>Apple's side-loading ban creates ideal conditions for authorities to compromise citizen's privacy via censorship, VPN bans, etc.

I can't really parse that. iOS being locked down and having strong system security prevents censorship because it prevents authorities getting access to your data. How on earth can opening that up and providing backdoors to the system prevent censorship?

The whole reason for the VPN ban is precisely because Apple's system security is so tight that eavesdropping on the wire is the only way the authorities can get at user communications. This criticism makes no sense.

Ultimately, your expectations of how gate keeping should pan out fail to match actual reality. iOS is vastly more secure that it's open competitors, so much so that it isn't even remotely close. I don't know how you can post that with a straight face, but I suppose ideology is a powerful force.


>iOS being locked down and having strong system security prevents censorship because it prevents authorities getting access to your data.

This is completely false. Owning a secure device does not help you get around censorship at all unless you can also install a good VPN (or similar).

>I don't know how you can post that with a straight face, but I suppose ideology is a powerful force.

What ideology would that be? I am an iOS user myself and superior security and privacy is one of the reasons for it. But that doesn't make me blind to the negative side-effects of Apple's approach.

Being easily co-opted by governments for censorship purposes is undeniably one of those negative side-effects.


You don’t really need a good vpn though. Any communications app with end to end encryption such as Signal also works fine. Except if you can’t trust the platform, because then your data can be accessed anyway. You have to be able to trust both the system and the application, either one on its own isn’t good enough.

As for VPNs, those are banned in China for all phones, not just iOS. If a government bans this or requires that, it’s really game over for device or application vendors. They really don’t have any choice but to obey the law, or walk away. Having a closed or open architecture doesn’t make much difference to that. However it still makes a difference in other aspects of security so it’s still a differentiator.

Ok maybe I’m wrong about ideology. But you seem to be arguing that closed systems like iOS lead to worse security, but then say you prefer iOS because of it’s superior security? I’m sorry, I really must be missing something.


>You don’t really need a good vpn though.

You do need a VPN for access to a lot of things in countries like China, but that's beside the point because governments can order Apple to take down any app, including end-to-end encrypted messaging apps.

>As for VPNs, those are banned in China for all phones, not just iOS

But what makes the ban effective on iOS as opposed to Android is Apple's side-loading ban. That's my point.

>But you seem to be arguing that closed systems like iOS lead to worse security, but then say you prefer iOS because of it’s superior security? I’m sorry, I really must be missing something

What you may be missing is that I don't live in a country that blocks wikipedia or porn sites and tells Apple to take down VPNs and end-to-end encrypted messaging apps (yet). That could change though.


Google Play has not been immune to antitrust scrutiny because Android permits sideloading. Just because you can sideload, doesn't mean you can compete with the Play Store on even ground. Sideloading has generally required selecting a scary checkbox to permit "unknown sources", it's not like just double-clicking an EXE you downloaded off the Internet.

I remember app developers getting kicked out of the Android Market back in the day (emulators for consoles, specifically) and saying they'd still work on their app as a sideloaded thing, but only a month or too later, they'd abandon it since nobody was really following them anymore.

There's a certain amount of openness on some platforms I like to call "just enough rope to hang yourself with", where they say it's an open platform that anyone can build on top of, but they control enough of the business-side aspects of to ensure you can never successfully compete on.

Legal entities are less concerned with the technical status of openness than the business reality of openness, and I doubt allowing sideloading would actually exempt them from much attention.


I said "Apple could help avoid some these problems". Keyword is some. You can still be anti-competitive despite being technically open.

Look at what happened with Microsoft and IE. You could still at least install an other browser, but that did not stop the authorities.

It's even worse IOS because you can't side load and you can't even install a competing browser engine. You also can't publish one via the app store.


Well considering even Macs are moving to a more and more controlled and restricted ecosystem / use of apps, I don't see iOS going the opposite direction

Unless required to.

If you want to side-load apps, use Android.

Completely serious here. The degree to which iOS is locked down is absolutely a feature for the overwhelming majority of users. If you don't like it, don't use it. Not all computing platforms need to offer the same functionality. Not all computing platforms need to be "open". If you want an open platform, then use one.


You can side load on iOS all you want -- just get your developer tools installed and build and compile your own code.

No problem!


You don't even need to compile the code; signing the app binary with your development certificate is enough.

Wouldn't count on that happening. They don't want their phone turning into malware central. I bet they probably already did the projections and have figured out exactly how much each type of bad pr costs. They probably already have the data to know that it's better to take the bad pr with developers than to take that pr hit with actual customers.

We all know that the reason Apple devices, Sony,Microsoft and others consoles don't let you side load apps is financial.



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