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Possibly anticipating a change in Apple's App Store policy, Mozilla is creating a non-Weskit version of Firefox for iOS

 In preparation for modifications to Apple's platform guidelines, Mozilla is developing a non-Weskit version of Firefox for iOS, according to The Register.

Gecko View, a wrapper for Firefox's Gecko rendering engine, is mentioned in the code for the iOS version of Firefox on Mozilla's GitHub repository. According to Apple's App Store policies, browser apps on iOS and iPadOS must use the company's own Weskit browser engine, which means that any version of Firefox based on A release of Gecko would be prohibited by Apple's present regulations.

Though postings from Mozilla software developers on GitHub imply that the app is for a "secondary project" with open discussion about "real Gecko Firefox for iOS," the app's settings page for switching Gecko View could be for internal testing. It was revealed last week that Google's Chromium team is developing a new iOS browser based on Blink, possibly in anticipation of modifications to Apple's platform guidelines.

Apple is said to be getting ready to lift its limitation on browser engines along with broader moves to enable sideloading and third-party App Stores in Europe in response to increasing antitrust investigation, most notably by the Biden administration. The Digital Markets Act of the European Union, which is anticipated to push Apple to undertake significant platform regulatory changes as early as next year, is the primary driving force behind the action. Antitrust watchdogs in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, and Japan have advocated for laws of a similar nature.

Update: A Mozilla spokeswoman said the following in an email to The Register "We adhere to Apple's iOS app store policies, and we are merely conducting some exploratory research to learn the technological difficulties that Gecko-based iOS browsers would face in the event that those policies changed. We look forward to the time when individuals are free to chose the browser they want to use, as well as the engine that powers it."


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