Apple has turned off users’ ability to unofficially install iOS apps onto their M1 Macs (via 9to5Mac). While iOS apps are still available in the Mac App Store, many apps, such as Dark Sky and Netflix, don’t have their developer’s approval to be run on macOS. Up until now, there was a workaround that allowed the use of third-party software to install the apps without having to use the Mac App Store, but it seems like Apple has remotely disabled it.
When we tried to install an unsupported app on an M1 Mac running macOS 11.1, we got an error message saying that we couldn’t install it and should “try again later”. You can see a screenshot at the top of this article.
Mac users have been used to having more freedom in what programs they’re able to run
According to 9to5Mac, the message on the most recent macOS 11.2 beta is more specific: “the application cannot be installed because the developer did not intend for it to run on this platform.”
Apple moving to block the unauthorized app installs isn’t necessarily surprising. Code was found in the beta indicating a ban would be coming, and Apple has given developers power to block their apps from running on the Mac — a power that is undermined by sideloading. It is, however, sad to see the feature go, as Mac users have been used to having more freedom in what programs they’re able to run than they do on iOS (though Apple’s control on the Mac has been tightening over the years).
We were able to run an app that we had already installed, but Apple is clearly cracking down on this behavior, so there's no guarantees that our already-sideloaded apps will work in the future either.