How to Sideload Apps on iPhone (2024)

How to Sideload Apps on iPhone (2024)

Ever wanted to install an app that isn’t available on the App Store? Maybe it’s a cool emulator to play retro games, a productivity tool not yet approved by Apple, or even a custom app built by a friend.

This is where sideloading comes in – a process that lets you install apps directly onto your iPhone without relying on the official App Store.

While Apple has traditionally maintained a closed ecosystem for security reasons, things are changing. With iOS 17, sideloading apps on iPhones became a reality (albeit with limitations) in the European Union (EU) due to the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

This guide will delve into the current state of sideloading on iPhones, explain different methods, and highlight the key considerations involved.

What is Sideloading Apps on iOS/iPhone?

Imagine having a library with only books approved by a single librarian. That’s essentially how the App Store works. Sideloading, on the other hand, allows you to “borrow” apps from other sources, like alternative app stores or directly from developers, and install them on your iPhone.

Important Note: Sideloading with Caution

Before diving in, it’s crucial to understand that sideloading comes with inherent risks. Apps downloaded from outside the App Store haven’t undergone Apple’s rigorous security checks, increasing the chance of malware or data breaches.

Therefore, it’s essential to sideload apps with extreme caution and only from trusted sources. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

  • Only download apps from developers you trust. Research the app and its developer before proceeding.
  • Beware of phishing scams. Apps disguised as legitimate ones might try to steal your personal information.
  • Understand the potential consequences. Sideloading could violate Apple’s terms of service, potentially leading to account suspension.

Here’s How to Sideload Apps on iPhone in 2024

Traditionally, Apple has maintained a strict policy against sideloading iPhones, prioritizing security and a controlled app ecosystem. However, things are starting to change. With the recent introduction of the Digital Markets Act in the European Union (EU), Apple has been forced to loosen its grip on app distribution.

This means that iPhones in the EU can now officially sideload apps, marking a significant shift in the iOS landscape.

However, for users outside the EU, sideloading remains a bit of a workaround, requiring alternative methods that we’ll discuss here.

Method 1: Sideloading with iOS 17.4 (EU Only)

This method is the simplest and most secure for EU users. Here’s how it works:

Step 1: Download the app: Find the desired app from a trusted source (e.g., an alternative app store or the developer’s website). Ensure the app is compatible with your iPhone and comes in the .ipa format (the installation package for iOS apps).

Step 2: Install the app: Open the downloaded .ipa file. Your iPhone will prompt you to install the app, similar to how you install apps from the App Store.

Step 3: Trust the developer (if needed): If the app isn’t signed by a developer Apple recognizes, you might need to trust the developer profile before installation. This step ensures the app hasn’t been tampered with.

Read Also: How To Install APK Files On iOS | Get Your Favorite Apps On iPhone

Method 2: Use Altstore to Sideload Apps

This popular tool lets you install and manage sideloaded apps on your iPhone without jailbreaking. It requires a computer (Windows or Mac) to run iOS apps and involves signing apps with a free developer account. You are also required to  download iCloud and iTunes from Apple’s website, as they cannot be obtained from the Windows Store.

Download iCloud

Download iTunes

Additionally, if you are on iOS 16 or above on your iPhone, you will have to activate Developer Mode in your iPhone settings. To do this follow the steps below:

Image Credit: XDA Developers
  • Open your iPhone Settings > Privacy & Security > Developer Mode.
  • Turn On the toggle switch.

Now follow the steps below: –

Step 1: Go to the official Altstore website and download the AltServer.

Step 2: Connect the iPhone to your Mac using lighting or Type-C cable.

Step 3: Once you’ve connected your device to the computer, indicate that you Trust the computer.

Step 4: Then, proceed to open AltServer and keep it running in the background.

Step 5: Now open iTunes.

Step 6: Activate the “Sync with this iPhone over Wi-Fi” option in the iPhone’s settings.

iPhone over Wi-Fi
Image Credit: XDA Developers

Step 7: Unplug the iPhone from your Mac.

Step 8: In the notification section, tap on the AltServer icon.

Step 9: Click on Install Altstore and choose your iPhone model.

Install Altstore
Image Credit: XDA Developers

 Step 10: After that, a popup asking for your password and Apple ID will appear. Enter your credentials. After a little while, AltStore ought to get downloaded on the iPhone.

To install applications, you must ensure that your Mac running AltServer is connected to the same wireless network as your iPhone.

  • To sideload apps, Launch Altstore, then select My Apps. To install an app, click the Plus button at the top and choose the desired app.
Launch Altstore
Image Credit: TechPP

Read Also: 10 Best Sites For Safe Android APK Downloads

Final Words on How to Sideload Apps on iPhone

Sideloading apps on iPhone offers a way to access apps outside the App Store’s limitations. However, it’s crucial to proceed with caution and only sideload apps from trusted sources.

While methods like AltStore provide a relatively safe and user-friendly experience, always remember the potential risks involved.

If you’re unsure about the safety of an app or the sideloading process, it’s always best to stick to the official App Store and its curated selection of apps.


  • Sideloading is currently officially available only in the EU.
  • Always prioritize security and only sideload apps from trusted sources.
  • Be aware of the technical steps involved in each method.
  • Enjoy the freedom and flexibility that sideloading offers while using your iPhone responsibly.

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