Beta users of the upcoming iOS 16 are reporting a long-awaited change to Apple Pay: The payment service is finally available to use from non-Safari browers including Google Chrome, Firefox, and Microsoft Edge.
In iOS 15, the only browser that supports Apple Pay is Apple's own platform.
Why is Apple finally opening up its payments system? It might be part of a push to grow Apple Pay amid a rise in fintech popularity. It might also be a response to the European Union's crackdown on anticompetitive tech giants.
Which Browsers Will Apple Pay Be Available On?
iOS developer Steve Moser has the most recent beta release of iOS 16, which will see a public release in September 2022.
Moser noted on Twitter that two browsers, Edge and Chrome, appeared to work with Apple Pay in the beta:
On the latest iOS 16 beta Apple Pay works in Edge, Chrome and I assume any third party browser. On iOS 15 Apple Pay only works in Safari. pic.twitter.com/x7zV5xCuiC
— Steve Moser (@SteveMoser) July 30, 2022
In a follow-up tweet, he indicates that the macOS will likely not enable Apple Pay to work with the two browsers as iOS has, saying:
“This doesn't work in Edge or Chrome on that latest macOS beta because I assume it requires the third party render engines to be updated where as Edge and Chrome on iOS use Safari's render engine.”
Firefox is very likely also among the browsers that can handle Apple Pay now, too — The Verge notes that multiple reports have claimed to access Pay while in Firefox.
Third-party browers are likely to also included, although between Chrome, Firefox, and Edge, the large majority of browser users are already accounted for.
Why Did Apple Make the Change Now?
The technology barrier likely wasn't the reason Apple waited until 2022 to let Chrome users buy things with their payment service. After all, the “walled garden” approach is one that Apple has enjoyed for many years in other aspects of its software, like the iron-clad rules surrounding allowed content in its App Store, or the Store's hefty fee on in-app purchases.
Keeping Google's browser from accessing Pay may not be a fully customer-friendly decision, given the massive audience that prefers Chrome in particular above other browsers. However, it is one that helps Apple keep its customers returning to its ecosystem of products.
But the European Union's Digital Markets Act will take effect in Spring 2023, calling attention to anticompetitive practices from tech giants like Apple.
Apple doesn't need that heat: It's already weathering a proposed class-action suit arguing that it barred “all rival digital payment apps to Apple Pay from its iOS devices,” as Tech.co Content Manager Jade Artry covered last month. This tweak to their iOS will roll out just in time to show that Apple is willing to take at least a few steps towards opening services up to its competitors' benefit.
The new update from iOS 16 is good for consumers, and that means it's good for business owners as well — provided they support Apple Pay, that is.
Currently, just 6% of iPhone users bother using Apple Pay in physical locations. Yet top POS systems like Square, Lightspeed, Shopify, and even the QuickBooks POS all support Apple Pay. And when September arrives, Apple Pay will be easier than ever to use.