Apple might finally address one of the most longstanding complaints about iOS and all it took was the threat of a little government regulation.
The iPhone maker might allow users to change some of the default apps, like Mail and Safari, on its devices, Bloomberg reports. The change, reportedly prompted by fears of antitrust regulation, could arrive as soon as iOS 14, which Apple is expected to show off in June.
Notably, Bloomberg only mentions a couple of Apple’s pre-installed apps that would be affected by the change: Safari and Mail. And it’s not clear if such a change would extend to other core services like Maps or Messages. Bloomberg also reports the company may loosen restrictions on music apps, allowing third-party streaming services to play as the default through Siri or on its HomePod speaker.
Such a change would be a major reversal for the company.
Apple’s reliance on its own apps for core services like maps, email, messages, and browsing, has long been one of the biggest criticisms of iOS. While Android phones let you set up third-party apps as defaults, Apple hasn’t allowed its users to do the same. The company has argued that this approach helps keep iOS secure, but developers have argued the policy makes it harder for their services to compete with Apple’s. It’s also an annoyance for iOS users who prefer services like Google Maps or Microsoft Outlook over Apple’s own offerings.
Bloomberg reports that these changes “are still under discussion or early development.” But if Apple were to loosen its rules on default apps, it could help bolster the company’s arguments that its App Store isn’t actually a monopoly.