Apple to let iPhone users delete Safari, easily transition to Android

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Apple will soon be making significant changes to its mobile platforms in response to new regulations in the EU called the Digital Markets Act (DMA).

Thanks to the DMA, Big Tech companies identified as "gatekeepers" must open up their core platforms to competition or third-party alternatives. Case in point: Apple can no longer monopolize app distribution on iOS in the EU with the App Store. This means, for example, that developers can distribute their apps through alternative application marketplaces on iOS, allowing them to dodge Apple's App Store content policies. 

Apple unveils its first changes under the DMA

By now, you've likely heard about Apple allowing App Store competition in Europe. Apple has been criticized by Microsoft, Meta, Epic Games, and Spotify for rules and policies pertaining to these  "alternative marketplaces." (Apple has instituted new, controversial DMA-related policies regarding Apple's revenue share models, which has been the focus of its peers' criticisms.)

However, Apple is being compelled to make other lesser-known changes to iOS that you may not have yet been aware of.

On Thursday, the day the DMA officially went into effect in the EU, Apple published a compliance report detailing some of the upcoming changes it's making to its platforms due to these new regulations.

Here are some of the most notable changes iPhone users in the EU can look forward to, brought to you by the DMA:

Browser choice

After EU users update to iOS 17.4, they will be presented with numerous web browser options available in their market. 

As it stands previously, the iPhone just automatically defaulted to Apple's own Safari web browser. To swap the default to another option like Firefox, Google Chrome, or Opera, you'd have to navigate to Settings to change it. Now, due to the DMA mandate, Apple will now prompt EU users to make a choice.

Developers will also have a choice, too. Previously, developers were only allowed to use Apple's WebKit for browser apps and in-app browser experiences. Now, they can use alternative web browser engines as well.

Delete the iPhone's Safari app

Speaking of Safari, have you ever tried to delete the app from your iOS device? You can't.

Well, that will soon change – if you're an EU user.

Apple announced in its DMA compliance report that it plans to let users completely delete the Safari app from their iPhone. Users were previously prohibited to do so because Apple's web browser is so deeply integrated with iOS. Apple is preparing to make that change now though.

Interoperability: First up, Payments

Using Apple Pay is easy. Users can just scan their iPhone at a register and pay for their item with any number of payment options in their Apple Wallet.

Now, Apple will let developers of third-party payment apps access the NFC chip inside the iPhone, which makes it all possible. Soon, users will be able to use their iPhone to pay for products and services through a third-party payment app as well.

Apple says it will also consider other interoperability requests from developers on a case-by-case basis.

Easier transfers to Android and other mobile operating systems

Looking to leave your iPhone behind for an alternative, but feel stuck due to all the data you have tied up with Apple?

The DMA has pushed Apple to change this as well.

According to Apple, it's working on giving providers of mobile operating systems like Android "more user-friendly solutions" for users seeking to transfer data from the iPhone to a non-Apple device.

Most of these DMA-influenced Apple changes are on the way later this year or early next year, according to Apple. The latest scheduled feature – easier transferring process from an iPhone – is currently scheduled for fall 2025.

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