Apple reverses course and will continue to support iPhone web apps in the EU

A few days before releasing iOS 17.4 to all users, Apple updated a support document addressing the removal of the iPhone Home Screen web apps feature for EU users.

Previously, Cupertino stated that “to comply with the Digital Markets Act, Apple has done an enormous amount of engineering work to add new functionality and capabilities for developers and users in the European Union,” and it would remove web app options for these users.

The company said back then: “Addressing the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines would require building an entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS and was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps.”

In a complete reversal, the company says it will keep supporting Home Screen web apps for EU iPhone users. “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 app 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.”

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Apple also addresses that developers 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 this functionality when iOS 17.4 becomes available next week.

iPhone web apps are here to stay – even for EU users

iOS-15-Safari-barImage source: Apple

Web app support was announced during WWDC 2022. Then, last year, Apple even promised to bring this future to macOS Sonoma so that you could use it independently of Safari. According to Apple, “Web apps offer a streamlined, app-like experience and easy access from the Dock.”

That said, whether Apple will address a new iOS 17.4 Release Candidate version ahead of the official release, or at least European users can rest assured that they won’t lose this feature once the final version is available to everyone.


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