iOS 17.4: Apple pledges web app support in the EU after scrutiny

Apple has decided to backtrack on its earlier decision to remove support for Home Screen web apps in the European Union (EU) with the upcoming iOS 17.4 update. This reversal comes after significant backlash from users and developers alike, as well as scrutiny from EU regulators regarding compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

iOS 17.4 beta

Home Screen web apps, also known as progressive web apps (PWAs), allow users to add shortcuts to websites directly onto their iOS Home Screen. These apps can send notifications and display badges, mimicking the functionality of native apps.

Apple finds DMA-compliant solution for web apps, availability of functionality to return with iOS 17.4

Last month, Apple sparked controversy when it announced plans to discontinue support for Home Screen web apps in the EU, citing complex security and privacy concerns. This decision, influenced by the requirements of the DMA, was met with criticism from various quarters, including advocacy groups and the European Commission.

Despite initial assertions that the removal of Home Screen web apps was necessary to comply with regulatory standards and address security issues, Apple has now announced a reversal of this decision. In a statement posted on its developer page, the tech giant confirmed that it would continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS 17.4 for EU users.

Previously, Apple announced plans to remove the Home Screen web apps capability in the EU as part of our efforts to comply with the DMA. The need to remove the capability was informed by the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps to support alternative browser engines that would require building a new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS.

We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.

Developers and users who may have been impacted by the removal of Home Screen web apps in the beta release of iOS in the EU can expect the return of the existing functionality for Home Screen web apps with the availability of iOS 17.4 in early March.

Developers and users affected by the removal of Home Screen web apps during the iOS 17.4 beta phase can expect the reinstatement of this functionality with the official release of iOS 17.4 in early March.

The reversal of Apple’s decision has been met with relief and appreciation from developers and users who rely on Home Screen web apps for various purposes. The move underscores the importance of user feedback and highlights Apple’s responsiveness to community concerns.

About the Author

Asma is an editor at iThinkDifferent with a strong focus on social media, Apple news, streaming services, guides, mobile gaming, app reviews, and more. When not blogging, Asma loves to play with her cat, draw, and binge on Netflix shows.

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