Apple software engineering head Craig Federighi testified in the ongoing Apple v. Epic Games trial on Wednesday, and during his testimony tried to explain why loosening up iOS App Store policies would be a bad move for the security of iPhone and iPad users.
Epic Games is looking to convince a judge the there should be multiple app stores available, much like the situation is on the Mac, that would allow iOS users to install apps that have not been reviewed by Apple. During questioning, Federighi was asked to explain why iOS app installation shouldn’t work like the Mac, where apps can be installed from sources other than the Mac App Store.
Federighi responded, saying 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.”
Federighi continued, saying that the level of malware on the Mac is not something Apple finds to be acceptable, and if a similar situation existed on iOS, where software could be easily downloaded from outside of the App Store, the platform would be overrun with malware.
Apps sideloading on iOS would “dramatically” change security on iOS, said 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.”
When Federighi was asked about earlier testimony that claimed that the Android and iOS platforms have no significant security differences, he brought up a Nokia report that claimed Android devices are hit with 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.
Apple CEO Tim Cook is expected to also testify this week. Apple fellow Phil Schiller, who oversees the App Store, testified on Tuesday, and his testimony focused on the App Store, its value, and also the value of the company’s SDK’s for developers.