Apple’s decision to drop iPhone web apps comes under scrutiny in the EU

Illustration depicting several Apple logos on a lime green background.
Illustration by Kristen Radtke / The Verge

Apple could soon face an investigation over its decision to discontinue iPhone web apps in the European Union, according to a report from the Financial Times. The European Commission has reportedly sent Apple and app developers requests for more information to assist in its evaluation.

“We are indeed looking at the compliance packages of all gatekeepers, including Apple,” the European Commission said in a statement to the Financial Times. “In that context, we’re in particular looking into the issue of progressive web apps, and can confirm sending the requests for information to Apple and to app developers, who can provide useful information for our assessment.”

The European Commission didn’t immediately respond to The Verge’s request for comment, while Apple pointed us to its support page about the change.

Earlier this month, Apple confirmed it will no longer support iPhone web apps in the EU in iOS 17.4. Instead of functioning as standalone apps with storage and the ability to send push notifications, web apps in the EU will work more like bookmarks. The company blames the EU’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) as the primary reason for the change, as it requires Apple to allow full support for third-party browser engines — not just Safari’s WebKit.

Introducing web app support for other browsers would require the company to build “an entirely new integration architecture” that it says “was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA.” The company also cites “very low user adoption” and potential security risks as reasons for the change.

App developers are pushing back on the discontinuation of web apps. Open Web Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the open web, is conducting a survey to see how the change will impact developers. It plans on sending the responses to the European Commission.