Apple released the first developer beta of iOS 15.4 early last week. A few days later, the Cupertino-based company rolled out iOS 15.4 Public Beta 1. After digging into the changes, it looks like a new feature will be web app notifications.
What are PWAs and why are they important
Advances in web development make it possible to run complex applications directly from your browser on iPhone and iPad. These are known as Progressive Web Apps or PWAs. This is how gaming services like Microsoft’s Xbox Cloud Gaming, Facebook games and others can work on iOS devices without having to comply with Apple’s App Store requirements.
One thing that mobile web apps lacked was push notifications. On desktop, websites can request individual permission to send you notifications, but WebKit has never allowed this.
These notifications can be used to let you know when a new game is available, when someone has added you as a friend, and more. Developers have been calling for it on iOS and iPadOS, and it might finally be here.
A new experimental setting in Safari could allow notifications from web apps
From the presence of a new toggle setting deep in Safari’s preferences, it looks like web app notifications might come with iOS 15.4. You can find it in Settings > Safari > Advanced > Experimental Features > Push API. You can even enable it now in iOS 15.4, but don’t expect anything to change yet.
While Apple included the WebKit setting in this first beta, the developers say the API itself hasn’t made its way into WebKit yet. Even with the option enabled, the developers don’t yet have a way to use it. Maybe it will happen in the second beta.