When you ask Android fans what it is about the operating system that makes it better (in their opinion) than iOS, one of the more cited reasons is that Android allows users to sideload apps.
Sideloading refers to the practice of downloading and installing an app on your phone that you didn’t get from an official app store, like the Google Play Store, Samsung’s Galaxy Store or Xiaomi’s Mi App Store. You can’t do this on an iPhone. If you can’t find an app you’re looking for on the App Store, then you’re outta luck.
Be careful what you sideload
Sideloading apps is a double-edged sword. While it does afford Android users the ability to install custom apps that cater to any niche use case they might have, it also has some downsides.
Apps uploaded to official app stores go through a rigorous screening process to make sure they behave appropriately and don’t install malware or spyware on your device. Which works, most of the time.
When you download an app outside of those channels, you open yourself up to the possibility that what you’re downloading doesn’t do what you think it does.
Xiaomi thinks it has come up with a plan to stop that. According to Android Authority, which translated this ITHome post, Xiaomi wants to recruit beta testers for MIUI’s new ‘pure mode’. When enabled, users will only be able to install apps from official sources. That also means you’ll be safe from malware already on your device from installing other malware.
Before the Android users start to froth at the mouth, Xiaomi will make this feature optional. You can enable and disable it at your discretion. That means the users who frequently sideload apps can turn it off when they need to, those who never sideload apps will be none the wiser.
The feature aims to give you more control over your device, which is what Android is all about, right? There’s no telling when Pure Mode will be available on Xiaomi devices. It is still looking for testers so shouldn’t be too long then.