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Apple backs away from decision to disable web apps on Home screen in EU

By Hartley Charlton

After intense criticism, Apple today abandoned its plan to disable web apps on the Home screen in the European Union starting with iOS 17.4.


After the release of the second beta version of iOS 17.4, it turned out that Apple has limited the functionality of iOS web applications in the EU. Web applications could no longer be launched from the ‌Home screen‌ in their own top-level window that takes up the entire screen, giving them a simple shortcut with the option to open in Safari instead.

The move has been heavily criticized by groups like Open Web Advocacy, which started a petition with aimed at convincing Apple to reverse the changes, and it even attracted the attention of the European Commission. Now Apple has backed down and says ‌Home Screen‌ web apps using WebKit in the EU will continue to work as expected after iOS 17.4 is released. In an update posted on Apple's developer website, the company said:

Apple previously announced plans to remove home screen web app capabilities in the EU as part of our DMA compliance efforts. The need to remove this capability was driven by the complex security and privacy issues associated with web apps supporting alternative browser engines, which would require a new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS.

We have received requests to continue support for the web Home screen apps on iOS, so we will continue to offer the existing web Home screen experience in the EU. This support means that Home screen web apps are still built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and follow the security and privacy model for native iOS apps.

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

Apple previously said it had to make changes to how web apps work in iOS to comply with the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA), arguing that third-party browsers used with web applications in Europe may expose users to unlawful security and privacy risks. He believed that this adjustment would only affect a small number of users. Apple still needs to make a number of changes to its platforms in the European Union, such as allowing third-party app stores, by the DMA's March 6 deadline.

Tag: European Union[ 107 comments ]

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