Apple backtracks on plans to get rid of web apps on iPhones in the EU

Apple retracted its decision Remove home screen web apps in the European Union (EU). After deciding to blame them first Digital Markets Act (DMA) with the requirement to support non-WebKit browsers, Apple now says that European users will return to enjoying the previous web app experience when iOS 17.4 arrives earlier this month.

“We’ve received requests to continue offering support for Home Screen web apps on iOS, so we’ll continue to offer existing Home Screen web apps capabilities in the EU,” Apple wrote in an update on Friday. developer support document. “This support means that Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and conform to the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.”

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) behave like native apps with features like custom windows, notifications, and local storage. Apple removed them for European customers in the second iOS 17.4 beta, instead asking users if they wanted to open a website in Safari.

At the time, the company argued that web application support could compromise security given the DMA’s requirement to support non-WebKit browser engines. “Solving the complex security and privacy issues associated with web applications using alternative browser engines will require the creation of an entirely new integration architecture that is not currently available on iOS and is impractical to implement given DMA’s other requirements and very low user adoption. Number of home screen web apps,” the company wrote in February.

Open Web Advocacy was quick to criticize Apple’s now-reversed move. “Apple has had 15 years to secure true browser competition worldwide, and nearly two years since the final text of the DMA,” the organization said. he wrote in February. “It could use that time to share with other browsers the functionality it has historically favored over Safari. Inaction and silence tell a lot.”

The EU didn’t seem too happy about the removal of the web app. European Commission officials he said In late February, they were looking into Apple’s decision, which sounded like setting up an official investigation. The Financial Times informed regulators sent questions to developers about the impact of Apple’s PWA removal.

Whatever happened between then and now to change Apple’s mind, it remains tight-lipped. Instead, the company is framing its comeback as a simple response to “requests” it has received to continue offering home screen web apps. Perhaps EU officials convinced the iPhone maker that the company wouldn’t need to support PWAs from other browser engines, or perhaps the company simply wanted to avoid official scrutiny (and the bad PR it might generate). Regardless, only European iOS 17.4 beta users do not have the web apps and will be reverted to them as soon as the final version of the software arrives.

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