This was the reason I was an android guy until my wife told me to just get a phone that works.
And you know what? Not letting you side load is a feature. When you see it like that, you care a lot less about your phone, and just appreciate that it works and that you can trust it as your more intimate possessions .
I see a phone as a tool to do what the user needs. Not the user doing what the phone will allow.
There's a bunch of apps that let you load pretty much arbitrary code onto the platform - Pythonista and Scriptable are two of the top ones (Python and JS interpreters respectively), and with those you can do quite a lot.
It's not the same experience - that I'll grant you - but if you're moderately a power user iOS gives you enough to work with.
You need to install YouTube-DL via Pip, but happily the StaSh shell for Pythonista already includes Pip. If you're not using StaSh yet, give it a whirl - it includes a huge number of handy tools like SSH, Git, Pip, etc. Pythonista is awesome!
I'm a heavy YouTube user and would be happy to pay for it. Yet, I can't do so without agreeing to their insane "privacy" policy and providing personal details to a company that has proven its bad faith countless times with all the dark patterns & invasive tracking.
Downloading files for later has been a basic feature of computers since decades. If Google is now giving us defective-by-design tools it shouldn't be considered stealing to fix them or replace them with something non-defective.
However, I would rather characterise it as misleading Google into sending data they didn't really mean to send given the exact ways in which the data is used (i.e. watched without ads and stored locally).
So this is "effectively" giving Google some of its own medicine. Misleading people into sending them data they might not have sent given full knowledge of the facts is at the core of personalised advertising.
So is this the ad industry stealing people's data, bandwidth, CPU time and battery capacity? No, not legally speaking. Is it ethically questionable? Definitely.
So is it OK to turn the tables on them? Stealing from thiefs if you like the stealing metaphor. I think it depends, but I see it mostly as a pragmatic issue, not so much an ethical one.
I don't personally use ad blockers, because paying for everything directly is an even greater threat to privacy than advertising. It doesn't even stop tracking - on the contrary. I don't currently see a viable alternative to some form of advertising (not necessarily personalised).
But because I'm accepting ads, I'm getting to feel the full brunt of the industry's deceptive efforts to prevent me from exercising my legal rights. They are using every imaginable technical and legal trick in the book to avoid compliance with lawmakers' stated intentions.
Given this context and considering Google's oligopoly sized margins, I feel that it is disproportionate to use "stealing" as a metaphor for the comparably tiny ethics issues related to ad blocking or youtube downloaders.
We need to nudge or coerce advertising back to using context and content for ad targeting instead of running deceptive spy organisations. That would also result in more money ending up in the pockets of content producers instead of middlemen.
This also allows you to subscribe to channels without having a Google account and agreeing to their "privacy" policy.
It's called YouTube Premium. It's funny how we Hacker News users complain about services like YouTube and say we'd pay, but very few do.
Potentially more on topic though, Apple gives significantly more functionality to the Apple Watch that third-party devices will simply never have access to. That’s the kind of lock-in I am annoyed about when it comes to iOS. Google play music will always be a second-class citizen compared to Apple Music, as is Google maps compared to Apple Maps. OneDrive and Fropbox will never be allowed to match the built-in functionality of iTunes back up. Flux can’t work on iOS, you’re stuck with the built-in Night Shift. Third-party keyboards are finally allowed, but they’re definitely second-class citizens and tend to not work very well due to operating system limitations.
What now? Safari + an ad blocker work just fine.
Explain to me why the use case of using youtube without adverts or connecting my phone to my smartwartch is invalid.
* First I got too busy to build custom ROMs, so I switched to ClockworkMod
* Then I didn't have time to load ClockworkMod on a new phone, so I just stuck with regular Android
* Then I gradually didn't bother to keep up to speed on new, better versions of the software I was using. Over the course of a few years apps kept breaking due to SDK changes
* This whole time, Google was steadily updating the Android UX and making obnoxious changes in an attempt to beat out Apple. So the OS was getting worse and worse every year
Finally, I switched to an iPhone due to some unrelated circumstances, and I was shocked to find that I barely miss Android at all. It sucks as a computer and a cool hackable platform, but it works great as a dumb device for a few basic use cases
I don’t care if you switch, but figure you may want to know.
I've chosen not to "see" my phone as a computer, you as well. I treat mine as an appliance - not even as a phone really, it's significantly more a Messenger (Signal mostly), a music player, a web browser, and RSS reader, a camera, and a book. I hardly ever make/receive calls on mine.
But you can't argue that his choice isn't valid for him.
If I spend more than 20 mins a month "managing" my phone, I'm irritated.
There was a time when I actively enjoyed sysadminning and updating and securing all my personal computers. But many of "computers" are now closer to "appliances" and the last thing I want to spend time on weekends/evening these days is poking at the OS on my phone (or my book or my coffee machine or or or)
I'm happy to have "let go" and chosen "I'll do things with my phone Steve's way, or I won't do them. I'm happy to 'hold it right', and not be able to install aircrack-ng or crypto miners or whatever, so long as Apple keep it updated and secure and private to an acceptable level."
When I want to geek out, I have a drawer full of Raspberry Pis, various linux and bsd boxes, and an AWS account. (I do also have a Apple Dev account, so I can "side load" weird shit if I choose. I have not done that on my everyday iPhone since about my 4GS...)
I need my phone to work properly at 7:30am Monday morning... It's an appliance to me, not a general purpose computing device.
If I can fuck with it easily, sooner or later I'll get tempted into doing so.
I appreciate having a choice that lets me force myself to say "Nope, not on the iPhone. If I want to try out $shinyThing I can do it on the older Android device, or on a spare RaspberryPi or any of the spare laptop/pcs in the workshop."
There's nothing from Apple that forces you to buy an iPhone, you're allowed to buy an Android if you choose.
Interestingly, it's _much_ harder to customise a Tesla than, say, a Mustang. I wonder which side of the "but you're taking away my rights!" argument most of the people disagreeing here fall on whether to buy a Tesla or not? (For the record, I'd like to own a Tesla and I'd happily enough "use it Elon's way", but I also like owning ~20 year old motorcycles that I can tinker with to my heart's content...)
I have not heard anything that suggests Android phones work less than iPhones. That's certainly not been my experience, anyway. I've been using Android phones for 10 years now and they've always worked just fine. And I can sideload things, which I still do, and wouldn't want to give up.
> Not letting you side load is a feature.
I absolutely do not see it that way.
> > Not letting you side load is a feature.
> I absolutely do not see it that way.
This is the key. Not having this option frees me from having to worry about the whole issue which is liberating. Either it's in the AppStore or it's not and I move on. With Android I spent days/weeks following whispers/rumors of such an app and trying different alternatives, rooting, etc.
It depends on how much patience and control you want. I had time for that years ago, but not now. iPhone gives you a lot less customization and control, but I spend a lot less time managing the phone and one-off issues, weird needs-fixing cases, phone-vendor specific things.
Not trying to sell you on iPhone, just saying I thought the same as you, but understand both sides of it now.
Obviously I'm being facetious, but only to illustrate that there of course is a balance between features and mind liberating. There's nothing inherent to the device, or removing functionality that liberates you. You can do that regardless of device.
I like the app store model of having a 3rd party do quality control. I just want the option to select the 3rd party which is best aligned with my interests. Google and Apple do not have my best interests in mind.
they banned all vaping-related software, but this also included apps to control folks' medical dosages of cannabis. while it was (kinda) laudible they didn't want to expose kids to smoking propaganda, I would have about 500 bucks in near-bricked devices just for switching to iOS.
Its also really bad for small business when they are forced to depend on apple for profits and literally get destroyed when apple decides their app is no longer suitable.
I don't go sideloading every random app I dig up from freeappzlol.ru or whatever, but I also don't need to be restricted to a single software repo when I want something like systemwide ad blocking or a youtube app that plays with the screen off (two things Google would prefer to restrict).
And when the device gets old and slow and stops getting official support, I can flash a slimmed down ROM that allows me to use it as a basic streaming source or fancy remote control or whatever because it's possible to install another OS or build on deprecated hardware much as I would on an old laptop or desktop that gets turned into a Linux box for web browsing or network storage.
I only speak for myself and definitely see your angle, but to me, taking away options doesn't really lead to increased peace of mind. Having the ability to do something doesn't equal having to do something...but in the event that I want to do something, I like knowing I'm able.
No. It's not. Stop, seriously.
"Not letting you vote is a feature."
"Not letting you complain is a feature."
"Not letting you speak is a feature."
"Not letting you have free will is a feature."
"Not letting you use your body as you wish is a feature."
This is how we lose our digital rights. Stop buying into this utter horse shit.
We have the right to repair our devices, run whatever code we want on them, the right to sell them, and not be spied upon by them.
But being absolutist about it is just foolish.
It doesn't surprise me that a significant portion of HN readers want to use their pocket computer as a general purpose computer, capable of having anything the user chooses installed on it. I'm one of the HN readers who prefers _not_ to have that temptation (although I do have an Android phone for "playing with" and an Apple dev account and my previous few iPhones which I can run whatever code I choose).
On the other hand, my mom's "right to repair her device, run whatever code she wants on it" is a _way way_ lower priority for her than "Is reasonably safe downloading anything from the AppStore and running it, and has (arguably) industry best security and privacy while doing so".
(And comparing that iOS/Android choice to "Not letting you vote" is unhelpful hyperbole. You are likely to get taken way less seriously than you intend if you're using reality-defying comparisons like that...)
Android already provides plenty of warnings and confirmations before allowing you to sideload. But in the end if you go through all of that you agree to take up the responsibility.
Since getting iPads, they have been able to do whatever they want. That’s worth something.
Apps released under the GPL are banned from the App Store.
VLC for iOS is bi-licensed under MPLv2 and GPL .
I fail to see it as a feature.
This is definitely the major pain point. For device owner controlled root software cert (and independently device owner controlled hardware cert too) I'd certainly like it to be an option of some kind, because there are real tradeoffs between security and configurability here. It could for example be restricted to an order-time config, or maybe a one-time significant charge. I could even accept certain kinds of measures by Apple to combat piracy and cheating, with owner signed apps segregated somewhat say or some low level signing merely to indicate that it wasn't a restricted device. But it's definitely objectively proved to cause real problems to have Apple be the sole legitimate gatekeeper. A single central point can be an advantage in resisting certain kinds of attacks, but simultaneously a disadvantage in being subject to other kinds of social and economic pressure. Jailbreaking has also demonstrated lots of extremely useful functionality and apps that aren't allowed vanilla.
Unfortunately I doubt it gets resolved without legislation mandating that hardware owners should have the option to load root level signing certs, which leaves everyone forced to make some hard tradeoffs. Hopefully society eventually catches up with that, but in the mean time one ameliorating factor is its becoming ever more feasible to just own a couple of devices for specific purposes thanks to the improvement curve flattening out. Particularly with Apple, they've got long enough support cycles now that getting a 2-3 year old phone still leaves at least a few years of support but the discount vs new hardware is high too.
The downside is that self-signed certificates only last seven days unless you have a paid developer account, but if you're comfortable with jailbreaking (which is even easier than sideloading since you can do it just by tapping a link in Safari on iOS) then you can install Reprovision which automatically renews certificates for you every few days.
> which is even easier than sideloading since you can do it just by tapping a link in Safari on iOS
Jailbreaking is not "easy" (a number of devices today have no public jailbreaks) and web-based jailbreaks are quite rare.