iOS 16.4.1 Makes My Programs Visible Again - Why?

While I write programs for the PC, I have tried to make them also work on my iPhone.
Recently, I noticed that some of my programs were no longer working on the iPhone (just a black screen) However, with the latest iOS update, the programs appear to be working again.
Was this an intentional bug fix? Or just unintentional good luck? (Or perhaps my old iOS was somehow corrupted?)
Just curious.

UPDATE 5/31/2023
Today’s update, IOS 16.5, is no longer displaying my animated ocean waves. I guess it was too good to last. Until this update they were displaying perfectly at 60 fps, despite having to perform some fairly complex computations.

Are you talking about three.js/WebGL apps? If so, the WebGL support in Webkit could always be considered as fragile. When they migrated to ANGLE, WebGL 2 was finally supported but still feels not stable. The latest WebGL regressions clearly demonstrated that. It’s a shame that other vendors like Mozilla and Google are forced to built their browsers on top of Webkit. This kind of Apple policy should be forbidden by law, tbh.


The programs in question are just small and relatively simple three.js demos which use the latest three.js modules and which (I assume) comply with the WebGL2

To make the programs work with iOS, my CSS files generally included the following commands:

html {
-webkit-user-select: none;
-webkit-text-size-adjust: none;

Since it is my understanding that Apple is not following WebGL, I was not surprised when the programs stopped working on my iPhone. But I was surprised when they started working again.

Yes, I hope Apple comes to their senses. But I do not hold out much hope.

Back in 1984, I was looking forward to replacing my “old” Apple ][+ (a computer noted for it’s open architecture and color display) with a Macintosh, until I realized that the Macintosh display was black and white only. I wrote a letter to John Scully, the new CEO of Apple, expressing my disappointment and stating that I had been looking forward to “trading in my old Apple for a new Macintosh”. The reply I received was from his secretary, wherein she advised me that “Apple does not do trade-ins”.

As far as I can tell, they have been “going their own way” since then.

I just made an account on this forum just to upvote this. How Apple continues to get away with preventing any browser competition on iOS and iPad OS is beyond my comprehension. Dealing with the half assed implementation of WebGL in safari has not only cost me hours of development time, but I’ve basically had to totally scrap some projects because Safari’s crippled WebGL 2.0 capabilities and lack of meaningful error messages. It is pathetic. Here’s to hoping that the EU drops the hammer on them with regulations because the only thing these people care about is the bottom line. As soon as it starts to hurt their overall revenue, we’ll likely see a change. Until then, for anything other than basic WebGL stuff, it is not worth the effort. I’ll be looking forward to a half assed WebGPU implementation around 2029 LOL. :-1:


back when I first touched computers, most of mere mortals were using 14" crt vga monitors. these things looked like someone cut a glass ball into segments and packed into plastic boxes, and I really hated that. at the same time even those were out of my reach, we had no computer at home. one day, however, my dad brought home a pc station from work, and the monitor there was as flat as Earth. so I was very excited to have this brand new flat screen at my disposal, and then he turned it on and… it was black and white :open_mouth: I could not understand how apparently newer monitor than these 14" balloons was not able to do such a basic thing as color. to this day this remains a mystery to me. maybe they paid more money for the patents covering ray control for non-round surface, so they had to pay less for actual screen, Idk. but the fact I learned was, black and white screens could actually be better than color ones.

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As an ex flash dev this just feels like déjà vu



Apple’s ban of third party browsers on iOS is deeply anti-competitive, starves the Safari/WebKit team of funding and has stalled innovation for the past 10 years and prevented Web Apps from taking off on mobile.

So there is already an initiative to fight against the WebKit enforcement but it seems they need way more support.

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I don’t know why Apple has gotten into this mindset.

From the perspective of an interested outsider, it seemed that Apple (as designed by Wozniak) initially succeeded by embracing innovation with an open architecture. However, after Wozniak disappeared, the new owners decided to close the box and to differentiate themselves from the competition by tryin to create a superior product. This kind of differentiation made some sense in the Wild West of the 1980s and 1990s when IBM and Microsoft were threatening to crush them. But Dell has shown that this fortress mentality is no longer necessary. And Apple now has a large and loyal following that should stay with them through the hard times.

But, even if they want to control their hardware, there is no reason to isolate themselves from software innovations. While writing this, I had the brief thought that the emergence of AI might force them to join the rest of the world or get left behind. But a quick glance at the Apple website indicates otherwise:

“Because Apple fully integrates hardware and software across every device, these researchers and engineers collaborate more effectively to improve the user experience while protecting user data.”

Again, I am just an outsider, so I would appreciate hearing what others think - is there hope for Apple?

I mean so far apple does quite well in making the rest of the world to join them or get left behind :smiley: you expect the strongest player to weaken themselves for no reason other than that other players would welcome this development - and this is not much of an incentive, is it.

I’ve lived through the near demise of Apple in the late 90s before they rehired Steve Jobs, all the way through this recent renaissance of the company with it being valued at over 300 Billion USD. There are a lot of factors to their success in recent times, and one of the consistent aspects of the company over this time has been the idea of “isolation” not just in the software, but in the hardware as well. To me, Apple computers, devices, and software are the most incompatible computer systems in the market, and engineered purposely to that end. I mean incompatible as in incompatible with pretty much anything except another Apple product (if and only if they allow your device to be compatible with it! )They have almost always been like this with the exception of the brief appearance of licensed power-pc Macintosh clones in the early 1990s, but that new product strategy proved near fatal to the company.

By incompatibility, I mean not adopting standards, and/or creating in-house solutions for many hardware and software products, and furthermore deprecating industry standards prematurely or before others do. There are many examples like them using things like lightning cables for connectivity, dispensing with floppy drive, the CD drive, USB-A , etc. On the software side, deprecating things like 32-bit binary compatibility in MacOS, using proprietary file systems, proprietary BIOS/Firmware architecture, proprietary graphics stack (metal) and depreciating the most widely supported graphics API, openGL, etc Furthermore, the Proprietary browsers Safari in iOS and iPadOS and banning alternate browsers as well, are all a part of the larger strategy. There are a plethora of examples of all of this, but the main point is that this is how they do business. From using iMessage and refusing to even license it out to other manufacturers, to only allowing applications downloaded from the AppStore on iOS and iPad OS, these incompatibilities and restrictions are a core part of their business. The brilliant advertisement they are known for really sums it up: “think differently”. They purposely will do things different to not only make the user feel that they are in a special alternate universe when using their products, but also as a psychological que to condition the user to expect that things will not work as in any other hardware/software combination.

Having their hardware and software be purposely incompatible with existing and rival systems is a high level strategy that allows them to have enhanced user retention, as well as an extreme amount of control over their users behavior. By enhanced user retention, I mean the mac users that I have met throughout the years who as computer users have much less troubleshooting abilities or critical problem solving abilities in terms of general computer usage as a result of just using Apple products their whole lives. These people have grown up with working in MacOS or just even an iPhone, and so having “options” and “choices” are a foreign concept to them, and when faced with the prospect of using an alternate OS like Windows, or god-forbid Linux, they are physically revolted and frozen in fear and lack of understanding. I don’t mean to denigrate or stereotype Apple users, as I am one (although not until late in life lol!), but I’ve experienced this first hand and it is fascinating. Apple will totally retain those users, and indeed they have worked hard at it. Apple is excellent at using their incompatible software and hardware to lock the user into their ecosystem, as well as limiting the user choices which is ironically interpreted as “easy to use” by the public. We can certainly debate whether incompatibility and lack of choice makes a computer easier to use, but in any case the public accepts this trade off at least for the feeling of things being easier to use. (Try external monitor support on an M1,M2 and tell me it is easy to use LOL!! :rofl: whoops… better buy a $1600 fully compatible Studio Display to get my 5k no-subpixel-antialiasing crisp monitor LOL)

All of that said, it is obvious they are doing something right at least if raising the company valuation to 300 billion is any indication. What it comes down to, is that the super high level restrictions in compatibility and overall user choice does give Apple one huge advantage- their computers work more like appliances than general purpose computers as most people would use them. A large segment of the population loves this and does not really want to have to think about how to troubleshoot software or tinker with settings and so forth. Indeed, I’m a battle hardened veteran of using PCs, all the way back even earlier than Windows 3.11/Ms Dos 6.22, and have spent a lifetime more or less in front of a computer. In middle age, I am finding myself appreciating the fact that my M1 Max macbook is as almost consistent as some sort of home appliance. The OS never has to be restarted, which was a concept that was not a part of my life as a Windows user, or even a linux user previously. It wakes up from sleep consistently and overall I have to say that for the limited things it can do, it does them consistently. The touchPad is the most outstanding touchPad I’ve ever tried and the hardware is super high quality. Could those features be available with less restrictive and incompatible software and hardware? Likely yes, but for whatever reason, the competition can’t nail it down, and since they can’t, Apple wins my business for portable computing. I also have an M2 iPad, which is an ultra-appliance, and if I had an option for a tablet that was as well built, powerful, and as great a looking display as it has, I’d likely choose it but there really isn’t one that has the hardware plus the apps available to compete. The galaxy tab s8 ultra was tempting but the android app ecosystem is a little anemic at the moment.

So now back to our discussion- about Safari and WebKit. The App store is big, and I mean big, business. It is not just the 30% fee that they are getting per app, and the $100/per year developer subscription cost, but it is also the fact that they become the gatekeepers as to what software they allow on their platforms. This gives them the ability to not only look/lift of the source code of any software that touches their platform, but also especially in the case of iOS, collect much, much more data from users and their apps than would be possible if the App was a webApp. Apple’s main argument for limiting iOS and iPadOS to Safari is for security, but in my opinion this is nothing more than a mob-style protection racket sold to the users and explained to the regulators in creative ways, but if it walks like a duck, and talks like a duck, it likely is a duck LOL.That is what they are doing. The reality, is that because of the restrictions built into the web platform as a whole, it is arguably MORE secure than a native App, because the data is then brokered only between you and the webserver (or whoever your browser leaks data to), rather than being exposed deeply into the OS, and in this case, Apple.

So it is absolutely in Apple’s best interest to not allow other browsers on their platform, and for the browsers they do have, make sure they are limited in functionality enough to discourage the use of webapps. Furthermore, if I were Apple, and a huge new technology like WebGPU were on the horizon, I’d plan on making sure we are amongst the founding members of the W3C WebGPU group for Safari, and then we can delay the rollout of the spec by allocating as limited funds as possible to our engineering group, while also dropping several poison pills along the way(SPIRV) to slow the development further. Ultimately this gives us the ability to gaslight anyone who criticizes our slow rollout to Safari by saying “but we were founding members of the team… we wanted this the whole time”… /s. :innocent: That is a hypothetical scenario, but given what we know about Apple’s treatment of Flash and WebGL in Safari, I wouldn’t put it past them to get ahead of their biggest competitor to the App Store: the Web.

The force of Law and regulations are the only way they will open up for alternate browsers in iOS and iPadOS. Despite some rumours in the last year that alternate browsers are coming, I have my doubts, at least as far as iphones in the united states are concerned. Our weak regulatory framework as it pertains to technology basically means we have rely on the EU to make the push. Fingers crossed that they do. Because until then, Safari will be the platform that your WebGL 2.0/ WebGPU apps likely not work or be so buggy that it is not really worth the effort. Defective by design if I ever saw it!

Sorry for the rant. :sunglasses: I’m passionate about Apple and their business practices!

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I thought it was a bit ironic that, when Apple introduced the B&W Mac, they aired an ad that implied that the Apple users were colorful rebels throwing a hammer into the B&W world of “Big Brother” when, as it turned out, the opposite was true. (Edit: To be fair, Apple was not trying to impose their standards on the world. In their view, they were “rebels” in that they were adopting a standard that was different than the IBM/Microsoft “Big Brother” standard. But the fact that the rebel was displayed in color did strike me as ironic at the time.)

By switching to B&W, they lost a lot of graphic designers and others who wanted a color display. This was happening at the same time they were losing the business market to IBM and Microsoft. (I used my Apple ][+ for business, which is why I bought a card that allowed me to display 80 columns of VisiCalc.) They did became to “go to” machine for people in the printing industry, but not much else. It took them a long time to recover.

A lot of that recovery can be traced to hardware innovations, like the iPhone and iPad. And I can understand how a closed environment that has the advantage of being simpler to maintain and allows for opportunities to innovate.

But what I don’t understand is why are they not willing to take the extra step of making their unique machines also capable of interpreting WebGL content? In not doing so, it seems that they run the risk of repeating the B&W Mac experience since they will lose a lot of web creators and users.

I’m not completely sure but I imagine that they do a strategic cost benefit analysis of losing certain segments of users and make those decisions based on the math. It actually could be profitable for them to lose these users because if they opened up the platform for full Web App/WebGL functionality then the App store’s revenue would be negatively impacted. In other words, why would I make a native app if I can make a web app and not have to pay the App store rent fee and transaction taxes that Apple imposes on me?

In addition, I have also wondered if Apple’s alienation of various groups of users is part of a broader strategy to avoid gaining too much market share in certain regions. It may be profitable to not have a majority of the market share because that could put the company and their business practices in legal jeopardy due to antitrust laws. So abandoning some users could be a net positive for the company in terms of avoiding regulatory interference.

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There is something to that. They are not attempting to monopolize the entire marketplace - like Microsoft was accused of doing. They can argue that they are merely trying to exercise from “bad” software. So far, they have been able to get away with that argument. I assume that is the rationale they are giving for becoming compatible with WebGL?

But there is a risk. Back in the VCR days, many argued that Sony Betamax was far superior to VHS. But VHS eventually won by sheer force of numbers.

In my opinion, webGL aside for a second, although the latest M1 chipsets are a powerhouse in terms of CPU processing, their architecture is not optimized for the latest developments in CUDA and tensor processing. While there are some hacky workarounds, they can be buggy. This means that Apple’s direction could go in one of two ways: they could either create a completely new infrastructure to utilize the latest updates in AI and ML tech, resulting in a wider path between Apple and other OS’s that natively support CUDA and tensor processing using Nvidia GPUs, and push further away from integrating webGL/webGPU (the worst-case scenario), or they could rethink and strategize a way to undo their WebKit and other architectural enforcements to adopt a more open-source approach to integrating all of the aforementioned technological advancements and follow the example of other OS’s. In my view, there is no clear winner or loser in either outcome, but at the moment, it seems like a sheer mess for Apple. Let’s be honest; they are not going to compete with Nvidia’s advancements in GPU processing when it comes to tensor or CUDA (including cudNN), no matter the “force of numbers”. Intelligent computing is being led by more forward-thinking (open-source) companies and individuals than Apple.

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Apple has always been rubbish in some form or way, these days iOS seems to allow different levels of webgl capabilities with each and every version even in the minor updates.

This month things which didn’t work on so many other versions now work, but this has happened many times in just the last 3 years. Don’t expect it to last.

What works on desktop pc and android would often result in the following randomly with each version of iOS:

  • a way to reboot an iphone without the user needing to press the off button
  • a way to crash the browser (no matter which one you use)
  • a way to blank the browser forcing the user to wonder wtf is going on

I’ve even had problems with shaders on mac laptops, I think it was the 2012 macbook that had some floating point issue and then I found randomly some clients with different versions complaining that the webgl scene wasn’t working which turned out to be an issue with reserved words in the shader which are not reserved when using pc or android devices.

Apple just suck, they just want to force dev’s to be frustrated that their webgl and probably webgpu scenes wont display or work correctly and think they are forcing us to buy a developer account and build an app version or something, which is 99% not the case I find. Clients are looking for these things incorporated into their web pages, not to run an app, and so apple users either never get to see it via detection scripts or the client just cancels the project as it wont work on their shaitPhones.

We took a major step backwards in web creativity when flash died imo, I used to pick up contracts for Jaguar, Mercedes and Peugeot to create some kind of funky 3D component (PaperVision / Away3D) or even 2D animations for their home pages which featured their latest models being rotated around, doors opening, point information click and pick interactivity, car configurators, etc etc. This was common on the web of old, what do we have now… wordpress everywhere and every website screams cms with little to no creativity.

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So I’m convinced Apple is purposefully introducing bugs into their WebGL implementation to force people into the AppStore. Even a basic spinning cube demos doesn’t work (like the WebGL 2 compatibility test on the Khronos website). I could understand if some advanced feature had a problem, but it doesn’t work at all. There is really no conceivable reason for it to be this broken unless they were purposefully sabotaging it. Prove me wrong.

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