Are PWA's a good choice for iPhone users?

By Tobin Harris, June 20, 2020

Managing Director at Pocketworks, app development specialists.

Mobile Technologies & Practices 


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Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are essentially web sites that meet the high quality bar set by many native mobile apps. The idea is that your customers should feel like they're using a really slick "app", even though it's a website.

The thing is, PWAs work really well for Android users and not so well for iPhone users. So let's look at why, which may help you decide if they are the right choice for your needs. 

A few reasons you might chose to build a PWA instead of a native mobile app:

  • Developing a PWA should cost less.
  • If you already invested in web tech, you might get a PWA to market faster.
  • If you have a web team already, they should be able to build your PWA.
  • Your customers won't have to go through the barrier of finding and downloading your app. You can simply link to it like any other web site.
  • No 30% app store fees or strict rules to follow.

So, there are some great reasons to create a PWA.

There is a slight snag though.

Right now, PWAs might not be the right choice if you have a lot of customers using iPhones or iPads. This is because Apple devices don't support PWAs as well as Android ones.

Have a look at the limitations of PWAs on iPhones and see if this is a deal-breaker for your app.

  • You cannot send customers push notifications
  • If your app needs to store data offline, you might run into issues
  • Customers are likely to see the app freeze when launched 
  • Users might struggle to add your app to their home screen
  • You might not end up showing your customers a nice branded splash screen
  • You can't change the app icon after a customer has added your app to their home screen
  • You might have issues with the keyboard showing where you don't want it
  • Audio playback over the web doesn't work very well

For most businesses, the first item on this list is the biggest issue. Not being able to send push notifications can often be a show-stopper.

As for the other items, many of these are mostly "detail". But often the detail is what makes for a good vs great customer experience. 

If you need any help making the decision, feel free to get in touch with me. I love talking about this stuff.

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About Pocketworks

Pocketworks is a mobile-first software company that helps organisations improve their customer experience with mobile technology. We enable our clients use research and data to find the right solution and deliver apps and digital products that increase customer satisfaction and retention.
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