Apple seemingly kills web apps and website push alerts for some users in iOS 17.4 beta

Again another headache is in store for iPhone app developers, courtesy of Apple.

Over the past few weeks, reports spread of the iOS 17.4 beta removing Progressive Web Apps (PWA) and the ability for these web apps to send push notifications much like mobile apps.

An example of a popular PWA is the Starbucks web app, which works as an app on all mobile platforms, can be saved to desktop, and allows users to place orders and receive special offers in the form of push notifications , all without the user needing to download. An application.

Until iOS 17.2 beta, iPhones allowed users to save specific websites to their iPhone's home screen in this way, and the sites could be opened as standalone apps. Apple first released web app features in the early days of the iPhone, in 2008. Showing its continued commitment to web apps, Apple announced in 2022 that web apps would be able to generate push notifications . This commitment now seems to be faltering.

Initially thought by some to be just a bug, the latest version, iOS 17.2 beta 2, includes new language when trying to open a web app that clearly indicates that there is something more in the works here.

As 9to5Mac Reports, some EU-based users are receiving a prompt when trying to open a web app under the new iOS beta, stating that web apps will now “open from your default browser.” This would obviously defeat the whole purpose of a PWA, which the user is supposed to treat like an app rather than a website.

Additionally, with this change, these websites lose web app features like push notifications, a feature that only recently launched on iOS. Additionally, data stored in PWAs is erased because the web application no longer opens and pushes users to the web browser.


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However, some app developers find that the situation is not so simple. Developers who spoke to AppleInsider claimed that some PWAs worked, although features like push notifications were no longer available.

What is Apple doing?

The majority of developers reporting these web app changes in iOS 17.2 beta are based in the European Union. This is probably because Apple's decision coincides with the new European Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Under the DMA, Apple can no longer require web browser developers to use Apple's WebKit. Since these web apps are all based on these policies, requiring Safari and WebKit, these could be temporary changes in order to comply with the DMA. After all, this is a beta version of iOS.

But that may not be the case either. Apple was accused of “malicious compliance” just a few weeks ago regarding changing certain rules due to the DMA.

The DMA legislation is intended in part to be a consumer protection law, encouraging competition by requiring Apple to allow developers to distribute their apps in alternative markets and circumventing the strict terms of Apple's App Store and model of sharing of company revenue. When Apple deployed a set of new App Store policies in the EU, they have been heavily criticized in the industry by company executives like MetaSpotify, Xbox and Epic Games to try to take advantage of the changes required by the DMA, creating avenues for developers to make alternative markets cost more than if they just followed the App Store guidelines. 'Apple.

Apple could now face similar accusations regarding this web app issue, namely that it is using its old WebKit requirement as a way to make developers feel punished by the new EU laws.

Apple has yet to comment on the situation with web apps in iOS 17.2 beta, so for now, it's unclear what the future holds for PWAs and website push notifications on iPhone. We'll just have to wait and see.

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