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Apple Confirms Removal Of Home Screen Web Apps In IOS 17.4 In The EU, Know Why

Following Apple’s compliance with the European Union’s DMA, iOS 17.4 has introduced a number of changes for the App Store and iPhone. The changes include things like third-party app marketplaces and support for alternative browser engines. One of the byproducts of the changes brought by Apple is the removal of support for Home Screen web apps in the EU for iOS 17.4 version users. The iPhone maker has now offered an explanation for this decision, confirming that the omission was not a bug.

The brand informed its users that it was because of requirements under the Digital Markets Act and not a bug.

Web Apps On iOS 17.4 In EU

Earlier last week, iPhone users in the European Union noticed that they were not able to install and run web apps on their iPhone’s Home Screen in iOS 17.4. The iPhone maker added a number of features in the past few years to improve support for progressive web apps on the iPhone. One of the examples of this was that iOS 16.4 allowed PWAs to deliver push notifications with icon badges.

Now, one of the changes brought in iOS 17.4 is that the iPhone now supports alternative browser engines in the EU. It enables companies to build browsers that don’t use Apple’s WebKit engine for the first time. Apple said it was forced to remove the Home Screen web app support in the EU due to the requirement by the Digital Markets Act.

Apple said that it will have a build an “entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS” in order to address the “complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines.”

The company said, this work “was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps. And so, to comply with the DMA’s requirements, we had to remove the Home Screen web apps feature in the EU. EU users will be able to continue accessing websites directly from their Home Screen through a bookmark with minimal impact to their functionality.”

Apple not offering support for Home Screen web apps for third-party browsers makes sense but why did it also remove support for Home Screen web apps for Safari? Unfortunately, that change is also a byproduct of the Digital Markets Act. According to the DMA, all browsers should have equality, meaning that Apple can’t favour Safari and WebKit over third-party browser engines. Hence, it can’t offer Home Screen web app support for third-party browsers, it also can’t offer support via Safari.

At the moment, iOS 17.4 is available to developers and public beta testers. It is slated for a release in early March.