Apple's decision to disable web apps attracts EU attention

By Hartley Charlton

The European Commission is considering investigating Apple's move to disable Home screen web apps in the EU, the Financial Times reports.

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 can 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 ability to open in Safari. Critics say the move undermines the role of web apps as a viable alternative to native iOS apps.

Last week, EU competition regulators sent questions to developers to determine the impact of the changes in what is apparently seen as a harbinger deeper research. The European Commission confirmed its review to the Financial Times:

We do check the compliance packages of all regulatory authorities, including Apple. In this context, we are particularly looking into the issue of Progressive Web Apps and can confirm making requests for information to Apple and app developers who may be able to provide useful information for our evaluation.

Apple states that that it had to make changes to how web apps work on iOS to make them compliant with the EU Digital Markets Act (DMA), arguing that third-party browsers used with web apps in Europe could expose users to illegal security and privacy risks. He believes the changes will affect only a small number of users.

A potential investigation into web apps could begin after Apple's March 6 deadline for DMA compliance, but a formal investigation could be prevented if Apple makes further concessions.

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Tags: Apple Antitrust, European Union[ 167 comments ]

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