NIX Solutions: Apple Disables Progressive Web App Support in EU with iOS 17.4 Update

Apple has recently taken a strategic step by discontinuing support for Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) on iPhones within the European Union. This decision is reflected in the beta versions of iOS 17.4, where PWAs have ceased to function, and Apple has officially acknowledged this intentional move. As of the steel version’s release, users across the EU will no longer receive application support.

NIX Solutions

Challenges in Compliance with Digital Markets Act (DMA)

In a statement on its developer website, Apple clarified that it disabled “Home Screen web apps” for EU users due to the impracticality of integrating them into compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DMA mandates Apple to open its platform to browsers using alternative engines, necessitating a complex and entirely new integration architecture, according to Apple.

Security Concerns Surrounding PWA Format

PWAs, running directly on Safari’s WebKit engine, offered a seamless experience with the security and privacy model of native iOS apps. However, with the iOS 17.4 update, Home screen shortcuts now open as tabs in the browser, losing features like push notifications and icon presence. Apple raised concerns about the security risks posed by alternative browser engines, citing potential data breaches and unauthorized access to users’ camera, microphone, or location.

Progressive web applications, while useful for quick access and bypassing the Apple App Store fees, have been deemed a security risk. Apple acknowledged the potential for malicious web applications to compromise user data and emphasized their low popularity as an additional reason for disabling support, notes NIX Solutions.

Impact on Users and Developers

Apple anticipates a minimal impact on users, attributing the move to DMA compliance and the feature’s low popularity. The company expressed regret for any inconvenience caused to Home screen web app developers and users.