Apple Explains The Breakage Of IPhone Web Apps In The EU


Apple has recently confirmed that the malfunctioning of iPhone web apps in the EU is not a result of a bug, but a deliberate action. This move has sparked controversy and concerns among developers and users alike. The tech giant attributes this change to the new EU regulation, the Digital Markets Act (DMA), which mandates the allowance of different browser engines.

Key Takeaway

Apple has attributed the breakage of iPhone web apps in the EU to the complexities arising from the DMA’s requirement to allow different browser engines, leading to the removal of Home Screen web apps feature in the region.

Unintended Consequences

Initially, the issue was brought to light by security researcher Tommy Mysk and Open Web Advocacy, who observed that Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) were being downgraded to mere website shortcuts following the installation of the latest iOS betas. This change significantly impacted the functionality of PWAs in the EU, where Apple is now compelled to permit alternative app stores, third-party payments, and alternative browser engines.

Technical Impact

Developers noted that PWAs were no longer operating as intended, lacking features such as dedicated windowing, notifications, and long-term local storage. Additionally, users reported encountering problems with data loss and non-functioning notifications when attempting to open web apps while running the iOS beta.

Apple’s Response

Following inquiries from various sources, Apple has updated its website to address the matter. The company explained that the changes required to comply with the EU guidelines made continued support for PWAs unfeasible. Apple emphasized the security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines, stating that addressing these issues would necessitate building an entirely new integration architecture that is currently non-existent in iOS.

Implications and Reactions

Apple’s decision has sparked debates, with critics suggesting that the company’s actions prioritize its control over the iOS app ecosystem, potentially at the expense of user experience. On the other hand, defenders argue that Apple’s explanation aligns with its commitment to maintaining user safety. Despite this, Apple has yet to respond to requests for further comment.

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