Apple M1 Macs can no longer sideload iPhone, iPad apps

Ewdison Then - Jan 17, 2021, 9:34pm CST
Apple M1 Macs can no longer sideload iPhone, iPad apps

Apple’s M1 Silicon opened the doors for more iOS and iPadOS apps to run on macOS beyond the very few supported by Mac Catalyst on Intel-based Macs. Unsurprisingly, some consider the doors still not opened wide enough as some apps are still unavailable from the Mac App Store. That has pushed some to look for a workaround that allowed them to install almost any iPhone or iPad app on M1 Macs. Unfortunately for them, Apple has now closed that window, perhaps for good.

It might boggle the mind why some M1 Mac owners would want to sideload iOS apps when iOS apps are supported on the new ARM-based computers. The reason pretty much boils down to why Mac users also “sideload” apps outside of the Mac App Store, at least for apps that are not available from Apple’s sanctioned store in the first place. That is to say, not all iOS and iPadOS apps are available for installation on M1 Macs.

Although M1 Macs are technically capable of running them, Apple gave developers the option not to have their iPhone apps listed on the Mac App Store for one reason or another. Perhaps they have a dedicated Mac app already or simply don’t want to support that use case and the potential headaches it may bring. Unsurprisingly, a few enterprising power users have found ways to work around that, using unsanctioned tools to sideload those apps.

Apple was, of course, unamused and has now pushed a server-side update that effectively blocks that possibility. Users who try to sideload unsupported iOS apps on M1 Macs will be met with a failure message if they’re on macOS 11.1 Big Sur. Those running the beta version of macOS 11.2 will be shown a more descriptive explanation.

That said, if you were lucky enough to have installed such unsupported iPhone apps before this, those will still work as long as the app remains installed. Given how the change was implemented, 9to5Mac believes that there will be no way to work around this safeguard, at least not without some serious hacking.


Must Read Bits & Bytes