For the last two years— Apple has given PWAs enough capabilities to compete against Google and Microsoft's version of PWAs.
But having done all that— the PWAs based on iOS still lags certain essences of the PWAs available in the market.
It will be interesting to see how Apple overcomes these limitations in the upcoming updates.
For the time being— let's check out these significant limitations of PWA in iOS that's stopping it from going big in the market.
Limitations of PWA in iOS:
- Web apps by iOS can't access the native components of phones like ARkit, Face ID, or Bluetooth. It limits the apps from being dynamic.
- Generally, PWA beacons are proven-strategies for maximizing the results of mobile marketing. However, iOS PWAs are not allowed to read from Beacons, altimeters, or the phone battery. BLE Beacons are used to notify people of PWAs when they stand close to the Beacon marketing device.
- iOS backed PWAs fail to present homogenous and consistent behaviour across multiple platforms. For each platform— PWA may have a different vocabulary, presentation and most importantly— the icon.
- PWA has a tough time syncing in the background. As native apps sync in the background and give users the seamless experience— an iOS PWA can't be enough of the native app until it allows easy syncing.
- iOS PWAs have a particular problem in accessing phone's data. Whether it's your contact book or the current location— or any sensitive data that native apps can access is a real pain in the neck in web apps on Safari.
- No matter how much Apple insists you shift to PWA rather than having an app for your business when it comes to allocating phone storage to it— iOS sucks big time. PWAs are not entitled to store as much data as they want on the phone. 50 MB is what they have allotted for PWAs. That's the reason why developers are asked to make supercompact PWA stores.
- If iOS PWA has the most noticeable shortcoming— it has to be web push notification. We can't imagine a native app without push notifications. That's the same case for PWA if we are thriving to make them as our "next big thing" in the industry. As iOS PWA doesn't support web push notifications and user installation banners— it will be difficult for your business to make personalized and timely-targeting.
- PWAs that allow access to native social apps are desirable web apps. Unfortunately, so far, iOS PWAs don't let users access native social apps and establish interaction with them. For example— you want to access FaceTime or messages through PWA. All the best for finding it out.
- In the mobile world when search technology is getting smarter and easier with the likes of voice searches— PWA in iOS pulls you back to the "old technical civilization" where you can only input strings by typing them out. As PWAs don't support speech recognition— input searches will become manual and prone to more errors.
- Last but not least, the web app experience on iOS Safari is quite different from the experience in Google Chrome or Edge. For general websites, the web-experience is consistent irrespective of the web browser. However, having PWA itself means that you are letting the creative differences manifest on its own, and that's visible on all the web-platforms. You may call it inconsistent UIs across different browsers, but it isn't necessarily a bad thing if the designed-PWA is user-friendly.
There are a few more PWA limitations in IOS which are subduing Apple to set its foot straight in the web-world, but going by the last two updates— we are pretty sure that Apple will cover major demerits of its PWA.
We think it's listening to us and that's why it's consistently working on service workers, and the web app manifests. It's that time of a web app history when Apple has finally decided to lock its horns with Google and Microsoft at least when it comes to PWA.
Limitations are there in every technology we have, PWA-iOS is no different.
The gap between pwa and ios is getting narrowed down, sooner than later we will have fully functional PWA for IOS with lesser limitations. Till than we can build and enjoy what we have at present.
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See you soon on our next post, till then take care.