iOS 17.4 Public Beta Removes Support for Progressive Web Apps on iPhone in Europe: Report

The reported stopping of support for progressive web apps (PWA) has resulted in push notifications and in-app data being removed.

iOS 17.4 Public Beta Removes Support for Progressive Web Apps on iPhone in Europe: Report

Photo Credit: Lucas Hoang/Unsplash

The web app feature was first added to the iPhone in 2008

  • Web app support in iOS 17.4 beta could be removed to comply with DMA
  • Web apps are now reportedly opening in default browsers
  • Apple also released iOS 17.3.1 update with bug fixes

Apple rolled out the iOS 17.4 public beta to beta testers globally last month, and the update was particularly significant for European users. It brought support for third-party app stores on the iPhone in the region, while allowing third-party browsers like Firefox and Google to use their own engines instead of Apple's WebKit. However, some testers have now pointed out that the update has removed the support for progressive web apps (PWA) on their devices. A developer has claimed that this could be an intentional move to comply with the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Developer Maximiliano Firtman posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) highlighting the issue. He first posted about the removal of PWAs on his iPhone on February 2 after the first public beta of iOS 17.4 was released. At the time he called it a bug, but after the release of iOS 17.4 beta 2 earlier this week, Maximiliano now claims that web apps might have been intentionally removed in Europe as a system alert is notifying users that web apps “will open from your default browser from now on”.

The tipster said that the possible reason for this move could be the European Union's DMA. Apple added support for PWAs through WebKit, its browser engine for Safari. The company also made it a requirement for third-party browsers to use the same engine for their apps. However, with the DMA regulations that go into effect next month, the iPhone maker is now allowing browsers such as Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to run their browser engine, which will not support PWAs. The conflicting part behind this argument is that Safari should still be able to support these web apps.

If it is true, this means that users in Europe will no longer get the web push notifications from a PWA, a feature which was added with the iOS 16.4 update. Further, this would also result in users losing the data stored in these web apps. However, it is worth noting that the tipster highlighted that “nothing is mentioned on release notes about this change”. Additionally, another user has also reported that they are unaffected by the issue.

Apple also rolled out the iOS 17.3.1 update to all users on Thursday, ahead of the expected release of iOS 17.4 in March. It is a small update that focuses on bug fixes and addresses only one issue. As per the changelog, some users reported an issue where while typing, the text unexpectedly duplicated itself or overlapped in the text field. Users who faced the issue should find that it has been resolved, after updating to the latest version.

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Further reading: iOS 17, iOS 17 beta, iOS beta, Apple, DMA
Akash Dutta
Akash Dutta is a Senior Sub Editor at Gadgets 360. He is particularly interested in the social impact of technological developments and loves reading about emerging fields such as AI, metaverse, and fediverse. In his free time, he can be seen supporting his favourite football club - Chelsea, watching movies and anime, and sharing passionate opinions on food. More
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