iOS v17.4 Beta 2 Nerfs (Some) Progressive Web Apps for EU Users

"Apple has seemingly restricted the functionality of Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) in the latest beta of iOS 17.4, specifically targeting users within the European Union. The move appears to undermine the role of PWAs as viable alternatives to native apps in iOS," reported MacRumors.

iOS v17.4 Beta 2 Nerfs (Some) Progressive Web Apps for EU Users
Source: Mark Mathosian / Flickr.
  • "As first flagged by security researcher Tommy Mysk and Open Web Advocacy, the second beta release of iOS 17.4 seems to introduce changes that put web apps at a significant disadvantage in Europe."
"The new beta version of iOS prevents these apps from launching in their own top-level window that takes up the entire screen, relegating them instead to open within Safari, a change that significantly impacts their user experience and functionality. The move effectively demotes PWAs to mere website shortcuts."
  • "Now, when a user in Europe taps a web app icon, they will see a system message asking if they wish to open it in Safari or cancel. The message adds that the web app "will open in your default browser from now on."
"When opened in Safari, the web app opens like a bookmark, with no dedicated windowing, notifications, or long-term local storage. Users have seen issues with existing web apps such as data loss, since the Safari version can no longer access local data, as well as broken notifications."
  • Per AppleInsider, "Apple is being required to allow alternative browser engines beyond WebKit in iOS for EU users because of the Digital Markets Act, and iOS 17.4 is changing to accommodate it."
  • According to some developers, "as long as a Progressive Web App was properly configured, it would work fine on iOS 17.4."
"As of February 9 2024, many Progressive Web Apps as coded don't work right. Across the board, push notifications don't work when spawned by Progressive Web Apps. And, apps that were previously installed had storage wiped by the second beta of iOS 17.4," writes AppleInsider.
  • "While this is still early in the iOS 17.4 beta process, it's not clear how this will all shake out. Ultimately, EU users will have to see what plays out in the next month, as iOS 17.4 has to launch by March 8 to comply with the Digital Markets Act."
  • Starting with iOS v17.4, Apple will also be forced allow iOS users to download and install apps through alternative app marketplaces.
  • "According to the terms of the EU Digital Markets Act, Apple has to allow them to work if they work on Safari, but if they don't work on Safari, they don't have to allow them to work in any other browser."

MacRumors Article / Archive
AppleInsider Article / Archive