Testing of iOS Browsers With Third-Party Engines Geofenced to EU

Developers who want to develop browsers for iOS with third-party engines can only test their apps on devices physically located in the EU, according to The Register.

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This rule introduces a considerable barrier for developers outside the EU, who are now limited to using simulators instead of actual devices for testing their browsers. This restriction complicates the process of developing and supporting browsers with alternative engines, as on-device testing is essential to accurate performance assessment and troubleshooting. Apple's previous policy, which remains in place in other regions around the world, demands the use of WebKit for all iOS and iPadOS browsers, effectively making every browser on these platforms a variant of Safari.

Under the Digital Markets Act (DMA), Apple was designated as a gatekeeper in the European Union, compelling the company to make changes to its policies. With the release of iOS 17.4, Apple began allowing the use of alternative browser engines within the EU. However, it has now emerged that testing of browsers with third-party engines is strictly geofenced to the EU, potentially hindering the ability of developers around the world to address security issues or implement updates efficiently.

The requirements raise some practical concerns about the feasibility of supporting a separate EU browser. Some developers have pointed out that Apple's extensive list of conditions makes it challenging to comply while also ensuring that the browser remains competitive and secure.

The European Commission has launched an investigation into Apple's compliance with the DMA, focusing on the restrictive nature of its latest changes. The investigation seeks to determine whether Apple's requirements are designed to circumvent the spirit of the DMA by making it difficult for competitors to operate on a level playing field.

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Top Rated Comments

1Michael23 Avatar
5 weeks ago
Wow, Malicious compliance at its finest, Apple is willing to let their consumers hurt to prevent people outside the EU from what? 7 day developer signing a browser that doesn't run webkit? Why would they block this.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
c84216 Avatar
5 weeks ago
I've been a fierce defender of the way Apple has done business. There's a reason iOS has been a secure (mostly) and malware-free platform.

But man. The petty decisions there's making around the EU regulations sort of have soured me on that idea. Hard to defend these juvenile actions.
Score: 26 Votes (Like | Disagree)
robvalentine Avatar
5 weeks ago
Stuff like this is why I switched to android. Not only is it more usable, they don't try and stiffle oposition, and customer experience like apple does.
Score: 15 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Unregistered 4U Avatar
5 weeks ago

Good, if the EU wants to force this gatekeeper crap then development and testing should happen in the EU. Play stupid games....
I mean, this is literally what the EU has asked for. “Give us special treatment” Ok, you’ve got the specialest treatment of all :)
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
hans1972 Avatar
5 weeks ago

I've been a fierce defender of the way Apple has done business. There's a reason iOS has been a secure (mostly) and malware-free platform.

But man. The petty decisions there's making around the EU regulations sort of have soured me on that idea. Hard to defend these juvenile actions.
I think it's great. Apple does the same thing I do with taxes, reluctantly comply.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rp100 Avatar
5 weeks ago
It must be exhausting to constantly prevent users from doing what they want with their device.

Imagine if they spent those resources on R&D instead of fences and walls…
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)