large image

Trusted Reviews is supported by its audience. If you purchase through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

The new Apple TV doesn’t support webviews

Apple kept quiet about one rather glaring omission from the new Apple TV: you can’t use it to surf the web. At least, not as you’d expect to.

That’s because while the new streaming box supports third-party apps, it doesn’t support webviews, which let you leave the app content and view a web page when you click a link.

As Daniel Pasco notes (via TheNextWeb), none of the mechanics for doing this are present in tvOS, the version of iOS 9 that powers the new Apple TV.

So if you’re scrolling through the Twitter app on Apple TV, and you click a link someone’s posted, you won’t be able to see the web page in a webview.

Presumably you can work around this using AirPlay with your iPhone. And developers will find other ways to take you to external sites. But it’s a hassle nonetheless.

Why would Apple do this? It’s notoriously pernickety about wanting to control the user experience, and some gestures like pinch to zoom aren’t supported in webviews. It’s also likely it wants to stamp out shoddy apps that basically serve as a wrapper for web content, and encourage apps that are in keeping with the ecosystem.

The last reason is security. Locking it down with no webviews makes the streaming box less likely to encounter any nasty viruses.

Read more: 10 Apple TV apps you will want to download first

The result should be a great user experience. Though developers will have a lot of work to do.

As Pasco notes, “For a lot of companies, the absence of webview support on tvOS is going to be painful. It’s going to require custom rewrites of those web-based widgets and views in either native code of TVML, just to support the Apple TV.”

Nobody said it would be easy. But as long as it makes for a slicker experience, we’re not complaining.

Why trust our journalism?

Founded in 2004, Trusted Reviews exists to give our readers thorough, unbiased and independent advice on what to buy.

Today, we have millions of users a month from around the world, and assess more than 1,000 products a year.

author icon

Editorial independence

Editorial independence means being able to give an unbiased verdict about a product or company, with the avoidance of conflicts of interest. To ensure this is possible, every member of the editorial staff follows a clear code of conduct.

author icon

Professional conduct

We also expect our journalists to follow clear ethical standards in their work. Our staff members must strive for honesty and accuracy in everything they do. We follow the IPSO Editors’ code of practice to underpin these standards.