Apple has reversed its plans to restrict access to certain web apps in the EU

A few days after the EU announced it would investigate Apple’s plans to restrict access to certain web apps that circumvent its App Store, the tech company is now reversing that course of action. In an update to a developer support page, as reported by 9to5Mac, Apple says it will “continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU” in iOS 17.4.

Apple maintains that home screen apps will still need to be used by its own Safari engine, WebKit. Any apps downloaded from third-party browsers will likely not appear on the home screen and may not be supported by their own engines. According to Apple, functionality should return when users update to iOS 17.4 in early March.

Apple claimed that the decision to restrict access to web apps (also known as PWAs) was in response to the Digital Markets Act (DMA). PWAs allow companies to develop apps accessible as webpages, appearing as an icon on a mobile user’s home screen. Therefore, These can be downloaded without accessing traditional app stores, which Apple reasoned that non-Safari browsers could pose unacceptable security and privacy risks under the DMA.

Apple vs the EU

This isn’t the first time that Apple has gone up against the EU. In the past, the company has resisted regulations such as universal chargers and other digital market regulations.

In this case, Apple has stated that it’s reversing the decision after it “received requests” to continue supporting the feature, reports the Verge. While it’s unclear where these requests came from, Apple’s statement that it would drop web apps drew criticism from developers and users alike. For example, the nonprofit organization Open Web Advocacy wrote an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook in regard to the move.

Featured image: Unsplash

Rachael Davis

Freelance Journalist

Rachael Davies
has spent six years reporting on tech and entertainment, writing for publications like the Evening Standard, Huffington Post, Dazed, and more. From niche topics like the latest gaming mods to consumer-faced guides on the latest tech, she puts her MA in Convergent Journalism to work, following avenues guided by a variety of interests. As well as writing, she also has experience in editing as the UK Editor of The Mary Sue , as well as speaking on the important of SEO in journalism at the Student Press Association National Conference. You can find her full portfolio over on Muck Rack or follow her on social media on X.

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