Currently, anyone can create a new iPhone browser, but with one
huge restriction: Apple insists that it uses the same WebKit
rendering engine as Safari. [...] Apple is therefore expected to
drop the WebKit requirement sooner rather than later. In
particular, the European Digital Markets Act looks set to force
the hand of the iPhone maker, with reports that Apple will drop
the requirement as part of iOS 17 later this year.
Both Google and Mozilla are now working on new iOS browsers which
use the same rendering engines as their desktop browsers.
For Google’s Chrome, that’s Blink:
Google’s Chromium team has moved full steam ahead on porting
Blink to iOS, introducing dozens of related code changes in the
past week. At the pace things are progressing, we may have our
first look at the browser engine for Chrome — and Microsoft
Edge, Opera, and more — running on iOS in the coming weeks.
For Mozilla’s Firefox, it’s Gecko:
Mozilla is planning for the day when Apple will no longer require
its competitors to use the WebKit browser engine in iOS. Mozilla
conducted similar experiments that never went anywhere years ago
but in October 2022 posted an issue in the GitHub repository
housing the code for the iOS version of Firefox that includes a
reference to GeckoView, a wrapper for Firefox’s Gecko rendering
I also suspect, if it comes to pass that non-WebKit rendering engines are allowed on iOS, that it will be via an entitlement specifically for general-purpose web browsers like Chrome and Firefox. I would expect Apple to continue disallowing such engines for use in any and all apps — no Electron for iOS. I would also expect that browsers like Chrome and Firefox won’t be able to save web apps to the home screen as standalone web apps.