Apple in EU is Blocking iPhone Online Apps

In the EU, Apple looks to be discontinuing the ability to utilize online apps directly from the iPhone homescreen. In the first two betas of iOS 17.4, support for progressive web applications seemed to be broken in the EU; nevertheless, developer Maximiliano Firtman stated in a post on X that web apps are still disabled in the third beta, which was released yesterday. Firtman stated, “At this time, it’s a feature disabled on purpose.”

Web apps now open in your web browser rather than a full-screen window, which makes them function more like shortcuts. Mysk, the developers, discovered that when you choose a web application for the first time, a pop-up window would appear asking you to launch the application on your preferred web browser. The web application’s address bar and toolbar stay at the bottom of the screen once it opens for use.

Web apps loaded in Safari no longer provide long-term local storage or alerts, as reported by MacRumors. As a result, some users may encounter data loss and malfunctioning notifications with the installed apps.

As part of Apple’s preparations to abide by the Digital Markets Act, iOS 17.4 contains significant improvements for customers in the EU. With this version, third-party browsers will be able to utilize their own engines and iOS will support sideloading and alternative app stores.

Even though online apps aren’t nearly as powerful as App Store programs, Apple had previously considered the ability to install them as an alternative to its App Store. It’s plausible that Apple is preventing users from using this other app-like experience, one that it doesn’t control and doesn’t generate revenue from, because there will suddenly be legitimate alternative app stores. Apple has not reacted to inquiries for comment from The Verge.

Earlier this month, online apps stopped functioning in the early iOS 17.4 beta builds, which was noticed by developers. At the time, the malfunctioning web apps seemed to be a glitch, but now that the broken feature has been introduced into the third beta of iOS 17.4, this appears less likely. The last build of iOS 17.4 is anticipated before to the DMA’s implementation on March 6.