Apple reverses course on plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ in EU

March 3, 2024 | by


Apple has announced that it is reversing its plan to cut off access to “progressive web apps” in the EU. The iPhone maker had initially argued that this move was necessary to comply with new EU regulations. However, the European Commission had been preparing to launch a formal investigation into Apple’s decision. The company’s change of course comes after receiving numerous requests to continue supporting web apps in the EU. Apple has now stated that the functionality for home screen web apps will be restored in an update expected to be released in early March. The European Commission has welcomed this decision, noting that it had received over 500 complaints about Apple’s original plan.

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Apple reverses course on plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ in EU

Background Information

In recent news, Apple’s plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ has made headlines, particularly in the European Union (EU). This decision has raised concerns among web app developers and prompted an investigation by the European Commission. However, Apple has since reversed its plan, announcing that it will continue to support web apps in the EU. This article will provide a comprehensive overview of the situation, including Apple’s initial plan, the EU investigation and backlash, Apple’s reversal, the response from the European Commission, the features and benefits of web apps, and the security and privacy concerns raised by Apple.

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Apple’s Initial Plan

Apple’s initial plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ was motivated by several factors. One of the main reasons cited by Apple was compliance with EU regulations. The company believed that by disabling web apps, it would be able to adhere to the new regulations imposed by the European Union. Additionally, Apple expressed concerns about security and privacy. The company argued that allowing alternative browser engines to offer web apps could potentially expose users to security risks that are not permitted under the law.

EU Investigation and Backlash

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm, took notice of Apple’s plan and decided to launch a formal investigation. This investigation was prompted by concerns raised by over 500 complaints received by the commission. Web app developers were particularly vocal in their backlash against Apple’s decision. Non-profit group Open Web Advocacy even organized an open letter to Apple CEO Tim Cook, urging him to reverse course. The letter garnered almost 5,000 signatures. EU lawmakers also expressed their concerns, stating that Apple’s plan would be in violation of the Digital Markets Act and reminding the company of the potential fines that could be imposed under the new rules.

Apple reverses course on plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ in EU

Apple’s Reversal

In response to the investigation and backlash, Apple announced that it would not remove support for web apps in the EU. The company released a statement, revealing that it had received requests to continue offering support for home screen web apps in iOS. As a result, Apple decided to restore the existing home screen web apps capability. Initially, the functionality was expected to be removed with an upcoming update to the operating system. However, Apple changed its course and announced that the functionality would be restored with the availability of iOS 17.4 in early March.

Response from European Commission

The European Commission welcomed Apple’s announcement, expressing satisfaction with the decision. The commission confirmed that it had received over 500 complaints about Apple’s original plan and stated that the removal of home screen web apps was neither required nor justified under the Digital Markets Act. However, some have pointed out a contradiction with the Digital Markets Act, which may require further clarification and resolution.

Features and Benefits of Web Apps

Web apps have gained popularity due to their similarities to native apps. They offer features such as push notifications, which can appear on a user’s lock screen, and the ability to run on a full screen without a web browser bar. One major advantage of web apps is their ability to avoid Apple’s commission on digital purchases. By functioning outside of the app store, web app developers bypass the 30% commission that Apple typically charges for digital transactions. This has attracted many developers to embrace web apps as a cost-effective alternative.


Apple’s Security and Privacy Concerns

One of the main concerns raised by Apple regarding web apps is the complexities associated with allowing alternative browser engines. Apple argues that permitting other browsers to offer web apps would introduce security and privacy risks. The company believes that its Safari software provides a secure environment for users, and alternative browsers may not meet the same rigorous standards. While the intention behind Apple’s security and privacy concerns is to protect users, it has been met with skepticism by critics who argue that competition and choice should be encouraged in the market.

Timeline of Events

To provide clarity on the events surrounding Apple’s plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’, it is important to lay out a timeline of significant dates and milestones in the case. This timeline will help readers understand the sequence of actions taken by Apple, the response from the EU, and the subsequent reversal of the original plan.

Implications for Apple and the EU

Apple’s decision to reverse its plan has several implications for both the company and the European Union. Firstly, it has an impact on Apple’s relationship with the EU, as the tech giant’s initially proposed action was met with significant backlash and an investigation. This incident may strain the trust between Apple and EU regulators. Secondly, there may be potential fines imposed on Apple under the new rules. The Digital Markets Act grants the EU the power to enforce fines of up to 10% of a company’s annual turnover. Although Apple has reversed its decision, there may still be consequences for its actions.


In conclusion, Apple’s initial plan to cut off ‘progressive web apps’ in the EU has generated controversy and prompted an investigation by the European Commission. However, Apple has since reversed its decision, announcing that it will continue to support web apps in the EU. This reversal comes as a result of the complaints and backlash received by Apple, as well as the concerns raised by EU lawmakers. The situation has shed light on the features and benefits of web apps, as well as the security and privacy concerns associated with them. Overall, Apple’s reversal holds significant significance and showcases the importance of public feedback and regulatory scrutiny in shaping the actions of major tech companies.

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