In anticipation of App Store policy changes, Mozilla is developing an iOS browser that would use its Gecko rendering engine instead of WebKit.
Firefox on iOS could have its own rendering engine
Mozilla is reportedly working on a non-WebKit iOS browser, according to a new report from The register. In October, Mozilla posted an issue to the GitHub repository hosting code for the iOS version of Firefox that includes a reference to GeckoView, a wrapper for Firefox’s Gecko rendering engine.
An open source contributor asked in December what the purpose of the release was. Laurie Marceau, senior software developer at Mozilla, said it was “for a side project that is not in this repository.”
Google’s Chromium team is also working on a new experimental browser for iOS based on Blink, instead of using Webkit as required by App Store policies, and now Mozilla is doing the same.
App Store Policy Changes
Apple’s rule requiring third-party browsers to use its WebKit engine could change. For example, the European Union comes after Apple with the Digital Markets Act which will be applicable on May 2, 2023.
This would force companies such as Apple to come up with alternatives to allow third-party app stores on its platforms and alternative payment systems. However, the WebKit-only requirement would not limit a third-party browser, as other stores may set their own policies regarding app content.
Apple is already preparing to support third-party app stores on its platform by 2024, but some changes may appear in 2023 with the release of iOS 17.
If third-party browsers on Apple’s mobile operating systems get permission to use their engines, it will give Apple better competition to improve WebKit and provide more features to keep developers and others in the loop. WebKit ecosystem.