Apple Publishes iOS 14 Requirements on Third-Party Browsers and Email Clients

Apple has published a public document, outlining the code configurations, restrictions, and pertinent setting developers must adhere to in order to their apps as alternative defaults to Safari and Mail in iOS 14 and beyond.

Spotted by Federico Viticci, Editor-in-Chief of MacStories, Apple’s document highlights the components needed in order for third-party developers to begin offering their apps as a default browser or email app for the first time.

When it comes to the browser requirements, Apple has stated that developers must ensure developers meet the criteria to maintain user privacy. When opening an HTTP or HTTPS URL, the app must navigate to the specified destination and render the expected web content for the user. Apps must offer a search bar, bookmarking tools, and other search tools.

Additionally, browsers may offer “Safe Browsing” or warn users for content that may be phishing data. Apple also says that the app can “offer native authentication UI for a site that also offers a native web sign-in flow”. Parental controls or locked down mode may comply with that goal to restrict access to certain domains.

Browsers will not be able to access user’s photos illicitly, enable always-on location access, or access the HomeKit database of users. Developers who fail to meet these criteria will not be approved.

Looking at the requirements email apps must implement, the list is comparably smaller. Developer requirements include correct specifications made to a plist file. Users must also be able to send emails to any valid email recipient. Finally, users must also be able to receive messages from any email sender. Though, apps that provide screening features to the user are still permitted.

These requirements must be in place in order for developers to begin taking advantage of iOS 14 later this year. They will then be able to offer themselves as an alternative to Apple’s in-house apps such as Safari and Mail.