Apple is making big changes to web apps on iPhone, and it's blaming the Digital Markets Act

A person holds an iPhone in a white case.
(Image credit: Malte Helmhold on Unsplash)

European Union iOS users have been wondering what the future of web apps on iPhone was after they were completely unusable in iOS 17.4 betas, and it's not good news.

As spotted by 9to5Mac, Apple's latest iOS version will remove support for Home Screen web apps, and it's blaming the Digital Markets Act for doing so.

Web apps are a way to add web-based applications accessed through Safari to the iPhone home screen, complete with login functionality and even push notifications, but with the Digital Markets Act requiring Apple to build an "entirely new integration architecture that does not currently exist in iOS" it doesn't look like the option will be returning anytime soon.

That "was not practical to undertake given the other demands of the DMA and the very low user adoption of Home Screen web apps,” the update to Apple's developer website explains.

The parity between browsers mandated by the DMA also means the same must apply to third-party browsers.

macOS Sonoma

The move comes shortly after Apple added web app functionality to macOS Sonoma (Image credit: Future / Apple)

To web app or not to web app?

While Apple has given its reasoning for removing the Home Screen functionality of web apps, it's worth noting that you'll still be able to access web apps on your browser of choice — you'll just need to navigate to them within the browser.

"EU users will be able to continue accessing websites directly from their Home Screen through a bookmark with minimal impact to their functionality. We expect this change to affect a small number of users," Apple's developer site post explains.

There is another side of this, which is developers using web apps to circumnavigate App Store fees. That puts Apple in a difficult decision that it appears to be reckoning with in real-time.

Progressive web apps aren't supported on Apple Vision Pro, at least at launch, but Apple made a big deal with macOS Sonoma about rolling out support for web apps in the dock.

It'll be interesting to see how many web app developers pivot to traditional apps accessed by a third-party App Store, but it'll be fascinating to find out.

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.