Apple software engineering chief Craig Federighi is testifying in the ongoing Apple v. Epic games trial this afternoon, providing details about iPhone security to convince the judge that any change to the App Store policies would be detrimental to iPhone users.
Epic Games wants the judge to force Apple to allow multiple app stores on iOS, similar to how it works on Mac, which would allow users to install apps that have not been reviewed by Apple. During questioning, Federighi was asked why app stores on iOS shouldn’t work like the Mac, where apps can be installed via the Mac App Store or from third-party sources.
In response, Federighi said third-party app installation is often exploited on the Mac. “iOS has established a dramatically higher bar for customer protection,” he said. “The Mac is not meeting that bar today.”
He went on to explain that the level of malware on the Mac is not something that Apple finds acceptable, and if iOS worked similarly, it would be overrun with malware, a particular danger because there are far more iOS devices.
Sideloading apps on iOS would “dramatically” change security on iOS, according to Federighi. “No human policy review could be enforced because software could be downloaded directly.” People could put an unsafe app up for sale and “no one would check that policy.”
Federighi was also asked about earlier testimony that said iOS and Android have no significant security differences, leading him to point out a report from Nokia that said Android devices have 30 times more malware infections than iOS devices. “It’s well understood in the security community that Android has a malware problem that iOS has succeeded in staying ahead of,” he said.
Later this week, Apple CEO Tim Cook will also be testifying in the trial. Yesterday, we heard lengthy testimony from Apple Fellow Phil Schiller, who is in charge of the App Store. Schiller focused on the inner workings of the App Store, the App Store’s value, and the value of Apple’s SDKs for developers.