iOS 7 Safari: Features and bugs HTML5 developers need to be aware of

Safari, Apple's web browser on both Mac and mobile, got a substantial update with iOS 7, including a new interface, new features, and for developers, new API. The latter brings with it some benefits, but apparently a bunch of bugs that need to be avoided, worked around, or otherwise dealt with. From Max Firtman on MobileXWeb:

Apple has rolled out iOS 7 and in a few days the new devices iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C . As expected Apple has publish just 10% of the necessary information for web developers and I can say without fear of mistake that this is the buggiest Safari version since 1.0. In this post I’ll show you the new APIs and abilities and most of the problems that you will need to deal with right now if you have a website or a webapp.

And from Michael Mullany on Sencha:

[There] are two very big bugs in iOS 7. First, WebSQL permissions to increase the default 5MB of space for an app to the previously permitted 50MB limit no longer work correctly, and require a workaround. Second, “Save to Home Screen” apps are basically broken. Once more than four apps are saved to home screen, the save slots are recycled and sometimes duplicated, and the phone has to be rebooted in order to clear itself. Further, any external URI no longer opens correctly and all JavaScript modal dialogs (alert, prompt etc.) are disabled. Finally, If your app uses AppCache and you are managing state via hash or other mechanisms, the history object will never update, disabling history.back.

This stuff is way above my brain grade, so if you're a developer working on HTML5 apps that depend on Safari, give the full articles a read and let me know what you think. Either way, iOS 7.1 is already being tested at Apple, let's hope a lot of fixes are already being tested with it.

Source: MobileXWeb, Sencha, thanks Dev!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.

  • Windows authentication doesnt work either, i've raised a thread on apple discussions about it, with nobody answering yet - how can I make apple aware?
  • Apple Bug Reporter is your best bet.
  • I really hope that the update comes out soon but knowing Apple this may take a while :( Sent from the iMore App
  • As an ex webOS (hardcore) user, I was very pleased to see the multitasking elements that influenced iOS 7. They need to embrace another element that we (webOS users) enjoyed, which was frequent OTA updates. I know, for a fact, that many of these bugs have been reported to the Bug Reporter well before the GM release, and people deserve to have these bugs squashed rapidly. Throw the update timeline out the window, and keep the OTA updates coming fast a furious.
  • "this stuff is way above my brain grade".... same here!!! :D
  • The flat out bugs Apple will get to, no doubt. The design choices are the more interesting (and problematic one). For example, if you have a webapp that listens for swipes near about 10% the edge of the screen, those swipes are intercepted by iOS7 Safari and taken as forward/back commands, so your app never sees the command, fundamentally breaking it. (It also plays havoc with html5 apps relying on certain types of history events.) This was not a bug, but a deliberate UI feature Apple added. The Sencha article notes that Chrome on Android had this swipe behavior for a while, but removed it after community feedback. For good or for ill, Apple tends to be far more opinionated than Google, so it is by no means guaranteed that Apple will similarly revert this intentional design choice. If they don't (or, simply in the meantime), a not insignificant class of webapps are broken unless they redesign, either totally or with iOS7-specific workarounds.