Now Apple says it won’t disable iPhone web apps in the EU

A photo showing an iPhone 15 homescreen
Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Apple is reversing course on a plan to discontinue supporting the installation of progressive web apps in the European Union. In an update to a developer support page spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple says it will “continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU” in iOS 17.4.

However, Apple notes that homescreen apps will still “be built directly on WebKit,” the engine used by Safari. This means web apps downloaded from third-party browsers like Google Chrome or Firefox may not be powered by their own engines — despite Apple adding support for third-party browser engines in the EU in the same update.

“Developers and users who may have been impacted by the removal of Home Screen web apps in the beta release of iOS in the EU can expect the return of the existing functionality for Home Screen web apps with the availability of iOS 17.4 in early March,” Apple writes.

Apple confirmed its plans to drop iOS web apps in the EU in February, a move that would severely limit their functionality by preventing them from sending push notifications and storing data. At the time, Apple blamed the decision on the Digital Markets Act (DMA), as it would have to build “an entirely new integration architecture” that “was not practical to undertake” given the changes it’s had to make to comply with the DMA. But now, Apple says it’s reversing the decision after it “received requests” to continue supporting the feature.

Apple’s move to drop web apps drew criticism from both developers and users. The nonprofit organization Open Web Advocacy began conducting a survey to gauge how many developers would be affected by the discontinuation of iPhone web apps. Apple’s decision also came under scrutiny from the European Commission.