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PWA iOS— catching up the native app race with iOS 13

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PWA iOS— catching up the native app race with iOS 13


Piyush Lathiya

April 20, 2020

Apple doesn’t seem to take lessons from the past...

iOS 13 beta 1 version has resolved many annoying bugs of iOS 12 and onwards. But it didn’t release the document, which describes the bug fixes. Call it another PWA marketing failure or whatever you like— it’s difficult to comprehend why a technological giant of Apple’s stature would take these changes so lightly. Anyway, we have tested the latest version of PWA support from iOS, and it seems fantastic and close to catching up the native app race with Chrome and Edge.

Don’t worry— unlike Apple— we’ll tell you about these changes.

Guide: PWA for eCommerce


Here’s how web app in iOS 13 is by far the most advanced version of PWA:

A much better user experience.

  • They have changed the sharing sheet. The sharing option has an “add to the home button” below the fold, which looks much more practical than the previous version
  • The last execution of the users on the app is captured by auto-screen click in the app switcher
  • The page load time of web apps has improved significantly
  • The users can return to the page with a quick startup
  • There are no static white blinks in the app switcher
  • Users can easily terminate the web app from the app switcher by dragging it out from the switcher pile

Bugs are resolved

  • In-app browsers showed a done button on the top corner of the page. That seems resolved now
  • The in-app browser is richer by the in-app setting menu that will increase the web app control directly through the web app page

Split-screen milestone

  • Users can use one web app on the other PWA space. It means that they can split screen between two PWAs or a PWA and a native app too
  • The facility is available only on iPads, and only one instance is allowed

Web Apps are quickly inspected.

  • iOS 12.2 barred developers from inspecting the codes of web apps in Safari
  • Adding the web app tile to the home screen and clicking on the debug option displayed “No Inspectable Application.” There was no menu that would allow the inspection
  • The latest iOS version permits code inspection, thereby making developers really happy about it

Bug reporting app

  • iOS has come up with a create-react App that allows the developers to report the bugs in web apps
  • It’s a feedback assistant for developers that collects on-device diagnostics

Compatibility with Apple Pay

  • Standalone PWA iOS finally supports Apple Pay
  • Developers will need to use ApplePay JS API so that users can access Apple Pay through web apps and conduct transactions easily.

Remote scrutinization

  • Pre-iOS 13, the remote scrutinization of the web apps were quite difficult. The current version allows remote evaluation and bug reports in Safari

Dark Mode

  • Before iOS 13, the smart screen inverts in iOS inverted the design into dark-black color but had certain glitches in altering the colors of native and web apps. That killed the purpose of inversion
  • However, the dark mode accessibility on the latest Apple iOS has created a massive buzz
  • To our surprise— iOS 13 permits dark mode PWA operation to maintain the visual consistency on the devices

Better cache storage

  • The previous iOS versions only supported one service worker. That forced Safari and Standalone PWA to share the same cache storage
  • The latest iOS version allows browser and PWA to use separate cache storage. That means that service workers have to register at least twice in the background
  • There has been a much-improved performance, especially with the PWA map feature, and we are expecting more changes in the coming years. Apple has given developers the free hand to report bugs and bring errors in their eyes

I have already published a more detailed post on this topic i.e., PWA-iOS. You can read that blogpost here iOS Getting Into The PWA Space Faster Than Ever .

For the last couple of years, I have been doing regular research and experiments on PWAs and its implementations with other platforms. I will keep updating the outcomes on my twitter handle @piyush_lathiya , so you can follow me there as well. Thanks for reading this post...



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