iPhone users in the EU are faced with the removal of web applications in the iOS 17.4 beta
For years, iPhone users have taken advantage of the ability to add websites as icons to the home screen, essentially creating “web apps”. They provided shortcuts and even got some native app features, such as push notifications.
But things change dramatically in the iOS 17.4 beta. A discovery by developer Maximiliano Firtman revealed that PWAs simply disappeared for EU users. The update removes this feature, leaving behind the message that these apps “will henceforth open from your default browser.”
The move is not without its flaws. Data stored in web apps is erased, push notifications are a thing of the past, and the overall user experience suffers. While Apple has not officially commented, the timing and changes point to a connection to the DMA. This law requires Apple to open the door to alternative web browser engines. However, since existing web apps rely on Apple’s WebKit engine, removing them may be a way to avoid accusations of favouring its own technology.
It remains to be seen whether Apple plans to find a workaround or simply leave EU users without web apps. With the public release of iOS 17.4 expected in early March, this issue is sure to spark discussion and demand answers from Apple.