Changes in iOS 17.4: The End of Web Apps in the EU

With the arrival of the iOS 17.4 beta, Apple has made significant changes to comply with the European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) antitrust legislation, allowing alternative app stores on the iPhone. However, this update also brings with it changes related to web browsers and, unfortunately, bad news for EU users: the inability to install and run web applications on the iPhone.

This move appears to be in response to EU DMA legislation, forcing Apple to adapt but with significant consequences for users and web application developers.

Goodbye to Web Apps for iPhone Users in the EU

Since its inception, Apple has allowed users to add websites to the iPhone home screen so they can be used as web applications. In recent years, Apple has added many features to improve web application support. For example, iOS 16.4 allowed Progressive Web Apps to deliver push notifications with icon badges.

However, it seems that all those advances have disappeared, at least for those in Europe. According to developer Maximiliano Firtman, the iOS 17.4 beta removes support for PWAs from the system for users located in the EU.

Consequences for Users

This update has several consequences for users. For example, all data stored by these web applications is automatically deleted upon update. Additionally, websites can no longer send push notifications to users.

iOS 17.4 and DMA

Apple has not yet commented on these changes, but they appear to be related to the DMA. One of the requirements set by the new EU legislation is that Apple must allow developers to create web browsers with its own engine. Currently, all web browsers available on iOS must be based on Apple’s WebKit. It is not yet clear if Apple will find a workaround or if PWAs will become history for those living in the EU.

iOS 17.4 is expected to be released to the public in the first week of March.

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