Apple gives iOS a workable sideloading option through Xcode
There’s no shortage of reasons to choose one mobile operating system over another, and we could compare platform features or supported apps until the cows come home. But for some users, the choice of platform comes down to a matter of principle, and if you strongly feel that users should be able to run the software of their choice, it’s hard to recommend iOS. After all, while Google gives Android users the freedom to install third-party apps without any Play Store oversight, with Apple it’s the App Store or nothing – no sideloading (jailbreaking notwithstanding) to speak of. At least, that’s the way it’s been for years, but a policy change looks like it’s just opened the door for manual iOS sideloading – if you’re willing to jump through a few hoops.
The key is Apple’s Xcode IDE, and what you can do with the tool without needing to pay for a dev account: users are now free to build apps for their personal iOS devices.
That means that you could download the source code to an iOS project, compile it on your machine, and load it directly to your iPhone – no App Store involvement required. While that makes the process a bit more involved than simply downloading an APK like on Android, it allows for the distribution of open-source software that Apple might not otherwise permit in the App Store – stuff like console emulators. For a guide on how to install just such an app, check out the illustrated tutorial through the source link below.