NIX Solutions: Apple Decides Home Screen Web Apps to Remain in EU

Last month, Apple confirmed that iOS 17.4 would eliminate support for web apps on the Home screen in the European Union, citing compliance with Digital Markets Act requirements for alternative browser engines on iPhones.

Apple is now reversing this decision, asserting that it will “continue to offer existing web app experiences for the Home screen in the EU.”

NIX Solutions

Criticism and Investigation

The removal of home screen web apps, also known as progressive web apps or PWAs, has faced criticism. Open Web Advocacy expressed concern that this change could render “entire categories of applications no longer viable on the Internet.” Reports suggest the EU is contemplating an investigation into Apple’s decision.

Technical Challenges Explained

Initially, Apple clarified that creating a new integration architecture to address security and privacy issues associated with web apps using alternative browser engines was not practical given other DMA requirements and the low usage of web apps on the home screen.

Reaffirmation and Clarification

In today’s announcement, Apple reversed course, ensuring that web apps will persist in the European Union as they did before iOS 17.4. “This support means that Home Screen web apps will continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, following the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.”

This implies that all web applications will still run on WebKit, regardless of whether added using Safari or not, maintaining the existing functionality, adds NIX Solutions.

Developers and users affected by the removal of Home screen web apps in the iOS beta in the EU can expect the return of existing web app functionality with the release of iOS 17.4 in early March.