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One of Android’s best features just quietly arrived on iPhone and iPad

iPhone Sideload Apps

There were plenty of flashy reveals at the WWDC 2015 keynote on Monday, but one of the least heralded announcements could change the way we download apps forever. On Wednesday, Touch Arcade pointed out that iOS users no longer need to subscribe to Apple’s $99/year developer program to run apps with the newly released Xcode 7 beta.

This might not sound very exciting, but the implications are huge.

READ MORE: Regret installing iOS 9? Here’s how to downgrade to iOS 8.3

One of the best features of the open source Android platform is the ability to sideload apps on to a device without downloading directly from Google Play. With Xcode 7, this will finally be possible on iOS without having to jailbreak your phone. Here’s how Xcode explains the latest update on its website:

“Xcode 7 and Swift now make it easier for everyone to build apps and run them directly on their Apple devices. Simply sign in with your Apple ID, and turn your idea into an app that you can touch on your iPad, iPhone, or Apple Watch. Download Xcode 7 beta and try it yourself today. Program membership is not required.”

If you’re willing to go to the trouble of finding an app’s source code, building the app in Xcode and pushing it to your Apple device, you can have sideloaded apps on your phone by this afternoon. Developer Bouke van der Bijl even published a short tutorial using popular emulator GBA4iOS as an example.

It’s not an ideal solution, and certainly more involved than the one-step process on Android, but one way or another, jailbreak-free sideloading has finally arrived on iOS.

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.