Thomas Fuchs
Hi, I'm Thomas Fuchs. I'm the author of Zepto.js, of script.aculo.us, and I'm a Ruby on Rails core alumnus. With Amy Hoy I'm building cheerful software, like Freckle Time Tracking and Every Time Zone and write books like Retinafy.me.
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Homescreen Web Apps on iOS 7.0.3

October 24th, 2013

The launch of iOS 7 a month ago, like it or not, has been quite successful with apparently about 2/3 of iOS users now on the latest operating system from Apple.

As you might have heard, web apps were severely broken on iOS 7—a huge step backwards over the stability and feature support in iOS 6. A few of the more grave bugs have now been fixed in 7.0.3.

Note that these bugs only affected saved-to-homescreen web sites that have the “apple-mobile-web-app-capable” meta tag enabled.

  • alert() and confirm() now work again
  • External URLs work (target="xxx")
  • mailto:, tel: and other special URL schemes work*. You can now open a Mail.app compose window from within your web.

Some issues remain and hopefully get fixed in a future release, such as a problem that overwrites existing home screen web apps (until a Spingboard restart), bad performance on initially load, and disappearing screens from the task manager.

I haven’t tested startup images, which where also quite broken. If I get around to that, I’ll do that as well.

*Note that you can’t test mailto: with the iOS Simulator, as there’s no Mail.app installed on it. You’ll need to use a real device.

A special note to Apple: please, for the love of science, include a changelog for Mobile Safari and Mobile Web Apps in your release notes, or have it around somewhere else. It’s horrible to have to guess and being not sure about what’s actually being fixed or not. Why not share bug reports publicly for this, at least for registered developers? We’re not in the dark ages of software development anymore. Thanks for listening!