Currently, the standard web browser opens when the iOS system calls an HTTP or HTTPS link, with a mailto link the standard iOS e-mail client opens. These call parameters can now be configured with iOS 14. However, as the new guidelines for app developers show, future standard web browsers and email apps must meet certain criteria in order to protect the privacy of users and ensure proper access to Internet resources.
The respective app developers now have to contact Apple by email in order to obtain permission from Apple to use the managed authorization “com.apple.developer.web-browser”. This means that the app can be used as the default web browser – provided the user has configured this in this way.
In addition, Apple requires that the browser navigates the user directly to the specified destination via URL when it starts and displays the web content offered there. Apps that redirect to unexpected places or play content that is not specified in the target’s source code do not meet the requirements of a standard web browser and are not permitted by Apple. Exceptions are browsers that contain a parental control or lock mode, but these must display the message “Safe Browsing”. The same applies to warnings about content that is suspected of phishing or other problems. To apply for entitlement, app developers need to contact Apple at “email@example.com”.
Individual requirements also apply to registering an app as a standard e-mail client, as e-mails are a critical communication channel. The requirements for the “com.apple.developer.mail-client” entitlement also include the ability to send a message to “any valid e-mail recipient” and to “receive a message from any e-mail sender” can”. To apply for the entitlement, app developers must contact the addressee firstname.lastname@example.org.
Companies are currently still looking into the tube when it comes to the new feature: Neither for manually rolled out, classic MDM devices, nor for devices in supervised mode (support mode with more detailed configurations) is there a reference to configurability in the current beta versions by company. Since the documentation is also silent on this, it is to be expected that iOS / iPadOS 14 will not allow this.
Administrators are not able to set the configuration themselves. Imagine company devices where the users define the email client themselves and thus take care of support cases. Or the question of management to the administrator, why something can be done “privately” that the company “cannot handle”. It will be exciting to see how the whole thing develops. (mb)