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Mitchell Mutandah
Mitchell Mutandah

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Apple's PWA Bombshell: The story behind

Apple has recently made changes to the functionality of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) for users in the EU with the second beta of iOS 17.4. These changes involve disabling much of the functionality of PWAs on the Home Screen.

Hello and welcome! 🤗
Today I'm going to share some interesting insights about PWAs on iOS 17.4. Let's dive into the topic together!

dive into

For those that don't know PWA is a "Progressive Web App" Basically an app that runs as a website and can be installed to do many things on-device.

In an update on the Developer website, Apple explained that this decision was made due to concerns about security risks associated with supporting alternative browser engines. According to Apple, PWAs built on WebKit's security architecture align with the privacy and security model for native apps on iOS. However, without proper isolation, malicious web apps could potentially access sensitive user data without consent.

To address these security concerns, Apple would need to build a new integration architecture, which the company deemed impractical given other requirements and low user adoption of Home Screen web apps.

As a result, iPhone users in the EU will still be able to access websites from the Home Screen through bookmarks, but PWA features such as dedicated windows, long-term local storage, and notifications won't be available. Instead, web apps will open in Safari or another default browser.

Apple emphasized that these changes are necessary for compliance with regulations and regretted any inconvenience caused to developers and users. These updates come alongside other changes to the App Store in the EU, including allowing alternative app marketplaces and payment methods.

So much to talk about from a developer and user perspective right? Let me know in the comment section what you think about this change.

Until next time!!!


Top comments (4)

judelawrence profile image

There is some legitimacy in Apple's statement, but it's hard to give them the benefit of the doubt when you see what they have done with regards to being able to run third party app stores in iOS.

mitchiemt11 profile image
Mitchell Mutandah

Hey Jude, I appreciate your input! It's worth considering the various factors at play here. Apple's stance on third-party app stores does invite discussion.

miguelqueiroz profile image
Miguel Queiroz

There is another post about this. They never invested in PWA, even before the DMA or EU thing! This is they way to close the apps to being only Apple Store installed, so they control the revenue and comissions, because if an app that would "works as an app" which is what a PWA is, could seel things inside that "web app" like any other public website ( since they are the same source code) then apple could not control its comissions. Thats the big flag here...

Also check:

tbroyer profile image
Thomas Broyer

Do you sincerely buy their arguments? After all the dubious ways they tried to escape the DMA, and the various other similar regulations or investigations over the world? (in the UK, Australia, etc.)
The company that just revealed Vision Pro would have had 3 years to prepare for this, and we're "only" talking about allowing other browser engines to install apps to the home screen. We don't even ask them to make it possible today, only just have multi-month plan to add it eventually.
BTW how much different is it from allowing third-party app stores? How much different is it from allowing third-party password/passkey managers?

C'mon this is one of the biggest middle-finger to everyone since Microsoft's stance about Internet Explorer 25 years ago, and it forces many to create native apps (that drive revenue to Apple, contrary to web apps, even if distributed in third-party stores!) knowing that the AppStore's rules are fucked up and Apple basically decides which products/companies live or die.