Apple backtracks iOS 17.4 web app changes in EU just weeks after citing "security and privacy concerns"

iPhone 14 Pro Dynamic Island on home screen
(Image credit: iMore)

Remember last month when Apple said it'd remove support for web apps on the Home Screen from iOS 17.4 onwards? Apple appears to have changed its trajectory ahead of the next OS update.

Apple had said replicating web-based applications through Safari on the Home Screen, complete with push notifications and logins, would require an "entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS", also suggesting the feature had a low adoption rate and wasn't used enough to make that viable.

However, the company has changed its tune with an updated section on its 'DMA and Apps in the EU' developer page. As part of the Q&A section, Apple's page now reads:

"UPDATE: Previously, Apple announced plans to remove the Home Screen web apps capability in the EU as part of our efforts to comply with the DMA.

"The need to remove the capability was informed by the complex security and privacy concerns associated with web apps to support alternative browser engines that would require building a new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS.

"We have received requests to continue to offer support for Home Screen web apps in iOS, therefore we will continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU. This support means Home Screen web apps continue to be built directly on WebKit and its security architecture, and align with the security and privacy model for native apps on iOS.

"Developers and users who may have been impacted by the removal of Home Screen web apps in the beta release of iOS in the EU can expect the return of the existing functionality for Home Screen web apps with the availability of iOS 17.4 in early March."

That means that iOS users can expect progressive web apps to stay how they are, barring any further turnarounds.

Why did Apple change its tune?

In the aftermath of Apple's announcement a few weeks ago, the European Commission began asking developers and Apple about the statement (thanks, Ars Technica).

"We are indeed looking at the compliance packages of all gatekeepers, including Apple," a European Commission statement told the site.

"In that context, we're in particular looking into the issue of Progressive Web Apps, and can confirm sending the requests for information to Apple and to app developers, who can provide useful information for our assessment."

That suggests that app developers may have been contradictory to Apple's initial claims that it would be a lot of work for a relatively unpopular feature, or that Apple wanted to avoid the possibility of a formal investigation.

iOS 17.4 is likely to be a big one for the company, adding new third-party App Store alternatives like the Setapp store in the EU, and the rollout of some upgraded 'next-gen' CarPlay features.

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Lloyd Coombes

Lloyd Coombes is a freelance writer with a specialism in Apple tech. From his first, hand-me-down iMac, he’s been working with Apple products for over a decade, and while he loves his iPhone and Mac, the iPad will always have his heart for reasons he still can’t quite fathom.

Since moving from blogging to writing professionally, Lloyd’s work can be found at TechRadar, Macworld, TechAdvisor and plenty more.

He’s also the Editor in Chief at, and on the rare occasion he’s not writing you’ll find him spending time with his son, or working hard at the gym (while wearing an Apple Watch, naturally). You can find him on Twitter @lloydcoombes.