Apple reverses decision to disable home screen web apps in EU

  • Apple initially planned to remove web apps from the home screen in the EU due to compliance with the Digital Markets Act but has now reversed its decision following user requests.
  • Progressive web app features were removed for European users during iOS 17.4 beta testing, but the final version will restore these functionalities.
  • The EU has expressed concern and initiated an investigation into Apple’s decision, suggesting potential regulatory scrutiny.

It is reported that Apple has withdrawn its decision to remove web apps from the home screen in the European Union (EU). Initially attributed to compliance with the Digital Markets Act (DMA) requiring support for non-WebKit browsers, Apple now states that European users will continue to enjoy the same web app experience as before when iOS 17.4 is released earlier this month.

“We have received requests to continue supporting iOS home screen web apps, so we will continue to provide existing home screen web app capabilities in the EU,” Apple wrote in updated developer support documents on Friday. “This support means that home screen web apps will continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, consistent with the security and privacy models of native apps on iOS.”

Progressive web apps (PWAs) behave very similarly to native apps, with features such as dedicated windows, notifications, and local storage. Apple removed these features for European customers in the second iOS 17.4 beta, instead asking users if they would like to open the website in Safari.

Also read: Apple seeks dismissal of $1 billion App Store lawsuit in the UK

Web app support might compromise security

At the time, the company claimed that web app support might compromise security, given the DMA’s requirement to support non-WebKit browser engines. “Addressing the complex security and privacy issues associated with web apps using alternative browser engines requires building a completely new integrated architecture, which does not currently exist in iOS, and given other requirements of the DMA and the very low adoption rate of home screen web apps, this work is impractical,” the company wrote in February.

However, the Open Web Advocacy Organisation quickly criticised Apple’s now-reversed move. “Apple has had 15 years to promote true browser competition globally, and nearly two years have passed since the final text of the DMA was published,” the organisation wrote in February. “It could have used this time to share its historically Safari-favoured features with other browsers. Inaction and silence speak volumes.”

The EU did not take kindly to the removal of web apps

European Commission officials stated in late February that they were investigating Apple’s decision, which sounded like preparation for a formal investigation. The Financial Times reported that regulators sent developers questions about the impact of Apple’s removal of PWAs.

Whatever happened during this period to change Apple’s mind, the company remains silent. Instead, Apple describes its reversal of the decision as a simple response to “requests” to continue providing home screen web apps. Perhaps EU officials assured the iPhone maker that the company does not need to support PWAs from other browser engines, or the company simply wanted to prevent a formal investigation (and potential negative PR). Either way, only European iOS 17.4 beta users were unable to use web apps, and once the final version of the software is released, they will be able to use these features again.


Chloe Chen

Chloe Chen is a junior writer at BTW Media. She graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and had various working experiences in the finance and fintech industry. Send tips to

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