Apple Will Not Support These 16 Web APIs That Allow Developers To Create Powerful Web Applications / Digital Information World

Apple is known for discouraging web applications to promote Apple App Store. Progressive Web Apps are becoming increasingly popular among developers, however, it is challenging to provide a high-quality PWA for iPhones because of the Operating System level restrictions.

During the WWDC 2020, the company announced that it will not support various Web APIs (Application Programming Interface) that allow app developers to create powerful web applications. Apple will not allow web applications to use NFC, the proximity sensor, and Bluetooth.

Apple provided a list of several web APIs that will not be supported by Safari. The following is the list of those web APIs.

Web Bluetooth

Web MIDI API

Magnetometer API

Web NFC API

Device memory API

Network Information API

Battery Status API

Web Bluetooth Scanning

Ambient Light Sensor

HDCP Policy Check extension for EME

Proximity Sensor

WebHID

Serial API

Web USB

Geolocation Sensor

User Idle Detection

Some of the above-mentioned web APIs allows sites to access information such as when a user is idle, geolocation data of users, data related to locally connected HID devices, information about the distance between the device and an object measured by a proximity sensor, battery status of the device, and the storage space of a device, etc. The Web Bluetooth API enables sites to connect to nearby Bluetooth LE smartphones, while the Web NFC API enables sites to communicate with NFC tags via the NFC reader of a device.



The company made this decision to protect the privacy of people. Apple claims that Safari will not support these web APIs because of the privacy concerns of users. The company states that these web APIs enable advertisers as well as data analytics companies to develop scripts that fingerprint people as well as their devices.

User fingerprints are small scripts that execute various standard operations and measure the response. Marketers load and run these small scripts inside the browsers of each user. As all the users have different web browsers and OS configurations, the responses measured by these scripts are distinct as per the device of a user. Marketers can use these unique responses to develop distinct identifiers for every user.

The company also announced new technologies to help developers to create the applications of tomorrow. The new tools will enable developers to design and create more powerful apps. Apple has also been working on limiting the fingerprint-ability vector of those web APIs that were already implemented in Safari.


Photo: AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Read next: Apple may achieve “the next big thing” in security that Microsoft is still struggling with – a password-less web

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