Apple's backtracking on plans to kill iPhone home screen web apps in the EU — here's why

Apple iPhone 15 held in the hand.
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has released a new statement reversing its decision to cancel the planned removal of home screen web apps in the iOS 17.4 update. 

According to Apple's original plan, home screen web apps would be removed from any Apple device running iOS 17.4 in Europe. Apple said this was to comply with the EU's new Digital Markets Act (DMA), but it appears the company has backtracked and will “continue to offer the existing Home Screen web apps capability in the EU.” 

Apple's statement claims this is because the company has “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.” Apple then goes on to explain that the original need to remove home screen web apps was because of both security and privacy concerns about web apps.

However, Apple claims it will continue to support the feature and that "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."

Apple iPhone 15 Plus review.

(Image credit: Future)

When Apple initially made its plan to stop supporting Home Screen web apps public there was an outcry from developers and other groups, with The Open Web Advocacy group stating that "entire categories of apps will no longer be viable on the web as a result” in an open letter to Tim Cook. This isn’t the first time that Apple’s plans for compliance with the DMA have drawn complaints, as Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney recently stated that Apple's plans were a "devious new instance of Malicious Compliance".

While Apple has seemingly been working to make sure its devices comply with the EU’s DMA, its solutions often seem to draw more ire than praise. This might not be entirely fair, as Apple is a business that's intended to make money. However, the fact that it is willing to walk back its decision seems to be a good thing for European customers. 

Apple is set to release iOS 17.4 this month so keep an eye out for our coverage of it, as it risks getting lost in the shuffle now that Apple's set to announce new iPads and M3 MacBook Airs this week

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Staff Writer

Josh is a staff writer for Tom's Guide and is based in the UK. He has worked for several publications but now works primarily on mobile phones. Outside of phones, he has a passion for video games, novels, and Warhammer.