Apple provides rules for standard browsers and email apps in iOS 14

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Apple does want to be in control

In iOS 14, it becomes possible to set third-party apps as your new default browser or mail program. Apple has now drawn up a list of requirements for apps that want to be eligible for this.

Requirements for new standard browsers

It is not that you can just set Chrome as the default browser in iOS. The makers of external apps have to do something for it. A support document states which guidelines are set. It only concerns apps that can replace the standard Safari and Mail apps. To be eligible, a browser must provide access to information on the Internet and display a text field at startup, where you can enter a URL. This should prevent games and other types of apps from posing as an alternative browser. An app must also offer sufficient privacy.

If you open a URL, the app should immediately take you to the destination. There are a few exceptions. For example, a browser may notify you when a security vulnerability is suspected, such as phishing. The same goes for parental controls, or if access to certain websites is blocked.

Add Chrome Reading List Articles
The Chrome browser may get involved.

To protect users, Apple will reject browsers that attempt to gain unauthorized access to photos, location, HomeKit data or HealthKit data. Also, the app should not continuously scan for nearby Bluetooth devices.

Less requirements for email apps

For email apps, the list is a bit shorter. Among other things, the app is expected to send and receive messages via a valid email address. However, a provider may perform certain screening, as is the case with the Hey app.

Gmail Split View
Gmail is one of the potential standard email apps.

Developers have until September to prepare their apps, if they want to join the release of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 right away.

iOS 14

iOS 14 is the upcoming major software update for the iPhone, which will be available in the fall of 2020. Apple announced the update during WWDC 2020. The main iOS 14 features are a new home screen, interactive widgets, improvements for HomeKit and the new App clips (also called App Clips).

iOS 14

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