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iOS 16.4 to Add Push Notifications Support for Home Screen Web Apps

Posted February 17, 2023 | Apple | iOS | iOS 16 | iPadOS 16 | Mobile | Windows

Apple released yesterday the first developer previews of iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, and there are some pretty big changes regarding web apps that users can pin to their home screen. Starting with iOS 16.4, these home screen web apps now support push notifications, which will help to blur the lines with native apps.

“The notifications from web apps work exactly like notifications from other apps. They show on the Lock Screen, in Notification Center, and on a paired Apple Watch,” a new post on the WebKit blog reads.

Just like native apps, web apps on the Home screen will also be able to display notification badges. They will also integrate with the iOS Focus feature that lets users allow or silence notifications from specific people and apps.

Another big change regarding web apps on iOS 16.4 is that Safari will no longer be the only browser that allows users to add web apps to their home screen. Third-party web browsers like Chrome and Edge will also be able to offer the ability to pin web apps to the home screen from the Share sheet.

It took years for Apple to allow iOS users to choose another default browser than Safari, but there’s still a lot to do to open up the iOS walled garden. As of today, all third-party web browsers on iOS have to use Apple’s WebKit rendering engine, but Bloomberg recently reported that Apple could finally drop that requirement with iOS 17 later this year. Both Google and Mozilla have already started testing new iOS browsers that use their own Blink and Gecko rendering engines, respectively.

iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4 will also introduce 31 new emojis, improvements to the Podcasts app, and support for Mastodon posts previews in Messages. While these first previews are only available for developers, public betas should follow pretty soon.

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