What Progressive Web App features will Apple support?

Written by Jason Grigsby on

Making predictions is a foolhardy business—especially when it comes to predicting what a tight-lipped organization like Apple will do. I’ve been burned before.

But I was recently asked what Progressive Web Apps features I thought Apple would support. On this topic, I have a little insight, but nothing that I would consider concrete enough to say something like “sources say.” In fact, it is likely that this is all wrong!

With that caveat out of the way, my slightly informed speculation is that…

Apple will support:

Service workers.

Apple may support:

Manifest files — Makes sense as an alternative to the numerous meta tags for icons and other apple-mobile-web-app features. It would clean up that clutter and could be an easy win.

Apple will wait on:

Push notifications — They worry that people already hate native app notifications and don’t know that people will want them on the web. If they do decide to support them, it will happen quickly because notifications already work, in a non-standard way, on desktop Safari.

Apple may never do:

Add to home screen prompts — This only happens if the industry as a whole takes to PWAs in a big way. People will still be able to manually add to home screen.

Apple is very unlikely to ever do:

PWAs in the App Store — Not necessarily to protect their native app revenue as people often suggest, but because why incur the expense of manually reviewing PWAs?

Caveat emptor

Again, take this all with a huge grain of salt. I don’t work for Apple.

The best way to make Apple support PWA features is to build PWAs that are compelling and make Safari users feel like they are missing out.

Let’s get to work!

Jason Grigsby

Jason Grigsby is one of the co-founders of Cloud Four, Mobile Portland and Responsive Field Day. He spends far too much time obsessing over mobile and the web. Follow him at @grigs.

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