Friday, May 13, 2022

Sideloading via AltStore

Jared Newman:

AltStore has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times since its launch in 2019, and the service has more than 300,000 monthly active users.


As Apple faces more political pressure to let users install apps from outside the App Store, AltStore is preparing for its biggest updates yet. Users will soon be able to discover new apps to sideload directly through AltStore, so they don’t have to wade through questionable download sites.


The goal, Testut says, is to turn AltStore into a haven for independent apps that clash with Apple’s App Store policies.


To enable sideloading, users must install a companion app called AltServer on a Mac or Windows PC. This program then logs users in with their Apple ID, prepares their account for development, and signs the AltStore app so that it looks like the user created it. AltServer then uses the iTunes sync protocol to send AltStore to the user’s iPhone or iPad.


As for the kind of apps that AltStore plans to curate, Testut points to UTM, an app for running virtualized versions of other operating systems, such as Windows and Linux, on an iPhone or iPad. […] “You would think that allowing high performance apps would be to Apple’s benefit as they keep making more and more powerful iPads, but the state of (allowed) iPad software has been stagnant,” says UTM’s developer, who goes by the pseudonym Osy.

As previously discussed, there are Apple-imposed limits to the number of apps that can be installed, and apps must be refreshed weekly by AltServer in order to keep working.

See also: Matt Birchler.


3 Comments RSS · Twitter

Why is an AppleID required? For me, that defeats the purpose of keeping Apple out of the loop.

@bob Because they need to resign IPAs before they attempt installing them on a device.

AltServer/AltStore is a pretty fantastic service for what it is. I recently came back to using it, as I have a Backbone controller attachment for my phone, and the devs behind AltServer also maintain the Delta emulator app. The combination of Delta and the Backbone has been one of the best portable emulation experiences I've had as of late, and having to refresh the install of the Apps via ALtServer has been a lot less of a headache than I even anticipated.

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