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Latest macOS Big Sur beta hints Apple may prevent users from sideloading unsupported iOS apps on M1 Macs

One of the strengths of the M1-equipped Mac models out there (which are a MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, and the Mac mini) is the ability to run iOS apps. However, a change in the latest beta suggests there may be a limitation on the way.

Earlier today, Apple seeded the latest beta of macOS 11.2 Big Sur to developers. Now that the prerelease software is out there in the wild, an interesting element has been discovered. As reported today by 9to5Mac, Apple may be working to prevent owners of M1 Macs from sideloading unsupported iOS apps onto their machine(s).

The discovery comes from internal code shared between the latest betas of iOS 14.4 and macOS 11.2 Big Sur. The new system discovered in these latest betas will stop users from installing some iOS apps altogether. Specifically, this will stop users from downloading iOS apps that the developer hasn’t made available through the Mac App Store for M1 Macs.

Technically speaking, it’s possible to manually install iOS apps like Netflix and others directly onto an M1 Mac thanks to the IPA files, which can be downloaded via a registered Apple ID.

Tutorial: How to run any iPhone app on M1 Macs

The code found by 9to5Mac is related to the APIs that manage the DRM (Digital Rights Management) protections of the operating system. We can’t confirm if this lock is already working on macOS Big Sur 11.2 beta 2, but it may also be something that Apple will enable remotely once the update is available for users.

If this does go into effect for the end user, this will be the pop-up they see if they try to install an unsupported app:

This application cannot be installed because the developer did not intend for it to run on this platform.

As it stands right now, Apple has not confirmed any such change just yet, whether to the public or to developers. However, that may change in the near future. It’s worth noting that, right now, the ability to sideload unsupported iOS apps is still available in the latest beta.

What do you think of this potential change?

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