More users opt for alternative web browsers on iPhone

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The European Union’s Digital Markets Act (DMA) is actively reshaping how iPhone users access the web. In effect since March 2024, the DMA mandates Apple to offer users alternative web browsers during iPhone setup within the EU. This move decisively ends Apple’s practice of automatically steering users toward its Safari browser.

Before the DMA, iPhone users in the EU defaulted to Safari upon setting up their devices. Apple now presents up to 11 alternative browser options alongside Safari in curated choice screens for each EU country. These screens will be updated annually to ensure users have continuous choice in their browsing experience.

The DMA is transforming the browser landscape

While the DMA has only been in effect for a month, its impact is undeniable. According to Reuters, smaller browser companies are experiencing a surge in market share, a trend directly attributed to the new EU regulations. Aloha Browser, for instance, boasts a substantial user increase in the EU in March, while the established Opera browser sees record user numbers in the EU.

This upswing stems from multiple factors. The “choice screen” not only alerts users to alternatives beyond Safari but also allows smaller browsers to compete by highlighting their unique features and privacy-focused designs.

Will this transformation be a long-term trend?

While the initial user numbers favor alternative browsers, the long-term outlook remains uncertain. Some believe Safari’s brand recognition and user familiarity could help it retain a dominant market share despite the increased choice.

Another factor to consider is discoverability within the choice screen itself. With numerous browser options vying for attention, users might simply pick the first or most recognizable option, potentially limiting the visibility of smaller players.

The DMA’s impact on iPhone browsing habits is still unfolding. However, one thing is clear: the EU regulation is shaking up the mobile browser market, potentially creating a more diverse browsing experience for iPhone users.