Apple Confirms iOS 17.4 Disables Home Screen Web Apps in the European Union

With the second beta of iOS 17.4, Apple disabled much of the functionality of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in the European Union. There was some speculation that it could be a temporary change or a bug related to some of the updates to the app ecosystem in Europe, but Apple has confirmed that PWAs were intentionally removed and won't be returning.

iOS 17
In an update on the Developer website (via 9to5Mac), Apple explains that users in the EU will not have access to Home Screen web apps due to the support for alternative browser engines and the accompanying security risks and work required to implement a new solution.

According to Apple, ‌Home Screen‌ web apps are built on WebKit and its security architecture, and are designed to "align with the privacy and security model for native apps on iOS." Storage isolation and system prompts to access privacy functions on a per-site basis are crucial.

Without isolation, Apple claims that malicious web apps could read data from other web apps and gain access to a user's camera, microphone, and location without user consent. To fix these security issues, Apple would need to build a new integration architecture, which it says is not practical because of the other Digital Markets Act requirements and because ‌Home Screen‌ web apps aren't used by many people.

The iOS system has traditionally provided support for Home Screen web apps by building directly on WebKit and its security architecture. That integration means Home Screen web apps are managed to align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS, including isolation of storage and enforcement of system prompts to access privacy impacting capabilities on a per-site basis.

Without this type of isolation and enforcement, malicious web apps could read data from other web apps and recapture their permissions to gain access to a user's camera, microphone or location without a user's consent. Browsers also could install web apps on the system without a user's awareness and consent. Addressing the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps using alternative browser engines would require building an entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS and 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.

iPhone users in the European Union can access websites directly from the ‌Home Screen‌ through a bookmark, but PWA features won't be available. Web apps on the ‌Home Screen‌ will be forced to open in Safari (or another default browser) rather than in a dedicated window, there isn't support for long-term local storage, and notifications won't work.

Apple says that the changes are a direct result of DMA compliance, and will affect only a "small number of users." The company also says that it regrets the impact the change will have on developers of ‌Home Screen‌ web apps and ‌iPhone‌ users.

The update to ‌Home Screen‌ web apps comes alongside many other changes to the App Store in the European Union, with Apple allowing alternative app marketplaces, alternative payment methods, different browser engines, and more.

Popular Stories

iPhone 16 Pro Sizes Feature

iPhone 16 Series Is Just Two Months Away: Everything We Know

Monday July 15, 2024 4:44 am PDT by
Apple typically releases its new iPhone series around mid-September, which means we are about two months out from the launch of the iPhone 16. Like the iPhone 15 series, this year's lineup is expected to stick with four models – iPhone 16, iPhone 16 Plus, iPhone 16 Pro, and iPhone 16 Pro Max – although there are plenty of design differences and new features to take into account. To bring ...
maxresdefault

Apple's AirPods Pro 2 vs. Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro

Saturday July 13, 2024 8:00 am PDT by
Samsung this week introduced its latest earbuds, the Galaxy Buds3 Pro, which look quite a bit like Apple's AirPods Pro 2. Given the similarities, we thought we'd compare Samsung's new earbuds to the AirPods Pro. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Design wise, you could potentially mistake Samsung's Galaxy Buds3 Pro for the AirPods Pro. The Buds3 Pro have the same...
Beyond iPhone 13 Better Blue Face ID Single Camera Hole

10 Reasons to Wait for Next Year's iPhone 17

Monday July 8, 2024 5:00 am PDT by
Apple's iPhone development roadmap runs several years into the future and the company is continually working with suppliers on several successive iPhone models simultaneously, which is why we sometimes get rumored feature leaks so far ahead of launch. The iPhone 17 series is no different – already we have some idea of what to expect from Apple's 2025 smartphone lineup. If you plan to skip...
macbook pro january

Best Buy's Black Friday in July Sale Takes Up to $700 Off M3 MacBook Pro for Members

Monday July 15, 2024 11:05 am PDT by
Best Buy's "Black Friday in July" sale is in full swing today, and in addition to a few iPad Air discounts we shared earlier, there are also some steep markdowns on the M3 MacBook Pro. You will need a My Best Buy Plus or Total membership in order to get some of these deals. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with Best Buy. When you click a link and make a purchase, we may receive a small...
Generic iOS 18 Feature Real Mock

Apple Seeds Revised Third Betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to Developers

Monday July 15, 2024 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today seeded updated third betas iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to developers for testing purposes, with the software coming a week after Apple initially released the third betas. Registered developers are able to opt into the betas by opening up the Settings app, going to the Software Update section, tapping on the "Beta Updates" option, and toggling on the ‌iOS 18/iPadOS 18‌ Developer Beta ...
ipaos 18 image playground

Apple Releases First iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 Public Betas

Monday July 15, 2024 1:16 pm PDT by
Apple today provided the first betas of iOS 18 and iPadOS 18 to public beta testers, bringing the new software to the general public for the first time since the Worldwide Developers Conference in June. Apple has seeded three developer betas so far, and the first public beta includes the same content that's in the third developer beta. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. ...

Top Rated Comments

turbineseaplane Avatar
22 weeks ago
Petty and vindictive

Modern Apple in a nutshell
Score: 71 Votes (Like | Disagree)
nt5672 Avatar
22 weeks ago

Petty and vindictive

Modern Apple in a nutshell
Even if there is a little bit of truth in Apple's reasoning, it sure does not seem like Apple tried very hard and instead just opted for a slap in the face of users in the EU.
Score: 41 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Fan 2008 Avatar
22 weeks ago

Great move. Punish your customers for a legislation you don't agree with.

I don't use PWAs much. In fact I only had one installed for an web app from my home server. But I'm sure there are others who are going to be more disappointed. Possibly some SMB customers.
It's not them protesting legislation, it's them following legislation, this is what they had to do to comply with EU browser laws.
Score: 30 Votes (Like | Disagree)
3530025 Avatar
22 weeks ago

It's not them protesting legislation, it's them following legislation, this is what they had to do to comply with EU browser laws.
You can follow maliciously or you can follow while keeping the feature set full.

Apple could have easily implemented support for the PWAs capabilities for 3rd party browsers. They could have added additional API to have 3rd party browser display PWAs just like Safari/Webkit does now.

Apple choose not to. They intentionally choose to be anti-consumer.
Score: 29 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Klae17 Avatar
22 weeks ago
oh no, its the consequences of the EU's actions....
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MilaM Avatar
22 weeks ago
Great move. Punish your customers for a legislation you don't agree with.

I don't use PWAs much. In fact I only had one installed for a web app from my home server. But I'm sure there are others who are going to be more disappointed. Possibly some SMB customers.
Score: 25 Votes (Like | Disagree)