Alex Russell, who worked as a software engineer on the Google Chrome team, described iOS browsers with insufficient interaction with PWA applications as weak and lacking in functionality.

Alex Russell, who works as a software engineer on the Google Chrome development team, said that the browsers on the iOS platform are weak and not functional. The experienced engineer thinks these browsers, lacking computational skills, do not allow advanced web applications to demonstrate their full potential.

According to Russell, the main problem with browsers available for the iOS platform is that they are all based on the WebKit engine. Even Chromium-based Google Chrome is forced to use WebKit on iOS devices. The company from Cupertino leaves the developers no choice but to build their browsers on the basis of WebKit.

Why is WebKit behind Chromium?

The WebKit engine severely limits the development of browsers while not allowing them to keep up with the times. We can list some of the problems with WebKit as follows:

First of all, let’s say that WebKit is connected to iOS. Apple only updates this engine as part of regular updates. This means that browsers cannot get the necessary innovations in time.

Apple checks WebKit, and therefore all browsers on iOS, to decide which features it will support and which will not. This was also the case with the Gamepad API, so support for cloud gaming services in browsers was delayed.

WebKit is far behind Chromium in terms of functionality. Because this engine does not allow strong interaction with PWA (Progressive Web Apps), ie advanced web applications.
Shortcomings of iOS browsers

Russell also talked about what iOS browsers fall short of compared to their competitors. These items are listed as follows:

No push notification support

Lack of standard PWA setup keys like on Android
Problems with background synchronization of PWA data
Bluetooth, NFC, USB etc. limited access to components such as
Doesn’t support free AV1 video standard
Limited tools for creating PWA applications

The Google engineer argues that Apple deliberately limits the web platform that developers can return to if they are not satisfied with the App Store policies. Almost all of Russell’s claims about PWA and WebKit-iOS compatibility show that there is a high degree of accuracy in this view.


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