In the latest release of iOS 17.4, Apple seems to have chosen to significantly limit home screen web apps (or PWAs if you’d like). In this release, if you choose to use a third-party browser (any other browser that doesn’t use WebKit under the hood) and try to save a web app to the home screen, iOS will now open that web app in your browser, instead of a home screen app shell. 

Why the change?

Apple claims that this update was made to comply with EU’s orders for allowing alternative browsers on iOS. To comply with this order, they have done significant work to allow for an alternative browser choice, but in doing so, they’ve essentially removed the ability for a headless app shell for any home screen web app. Their claim is that because users could be using an alternative browser, there’s no way to guarantee security and privacy when saving a web app. This has led them to essentially remove the experience altogether for users in the EU.

What This Means for Ionic Apps

We at Ionic want to reassure our community of developers that we have their back. We’re following upcoming iOS releases in hopes that this move from Apple will be reversed at some point. For developers in the EU that are worried about their projects, fear not. 

Ionic’s bet on web technologies allows us to not worry about any potential hurdles that Apple may try to enforce. With our native runtime Capacitor, the same web app that you were hoping to ship as a PWA can ship as a native iOS app with no changes needed from you. By simply adding Capacitor to your project, you now have full access to any native capabilities while still being able to utilize your web development skills. 

Future-proofing Your App

While PWAs have mostly been used in the indie developer community, many large enterprises we talk with have been hoping to take advantage of a PWA in order to get their app to market quicker. If you’re an enterprise development team that still wants to work within the realms of PWAs and ship a native app for iOS (or Android), Ionic can help you make sure your apps are ready when Apple stops limiting their browser and mobile devices.  

The post A note on iOS 17.4 and PWAs appeared first on Ionic Blog.

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