I have some iPads I'd like my staff to use. However, these are 4th generation iPads, so the latest iOS I'm able to install on them is v10.3.3. However, the website they need to access requires a more modern browser than the built-in Safari.

We tried downloading the Chrome app, but it seems the Chrome app is using the Safari engine.

Is there any way to use a modern browser (one that supports ES6+ Javascript) on iOS 10.3.3?

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    All browsers must use the safari engine. It's a rule from Apple. What us the feature the browser needs? – mmmmmm Apr 13 '18 at 23:32
  • I don't know the features exactly, I know these websites (internal) generally utilize ES2016/ES2017 features though. – at01 Apr 13 '18 at 23:54

From what little I know about ECMAScript Safari on iOS (which all browsers must use for rendering web pages, as @Mark pointed out in his comment) some things are supported but many are not. And your guess is as good as anyone's as to why that is the case (not to mention off-topic here).

So you are likely out of luck for full ECMAScrip support on iOS unless you want to go the jailbreak route. We can't help with that and I don't know if there is a browser for jailbroken iOS devices that does support ECMAScript.

  • sadly i think you're right. Apple won't allow updates to Safari on the older iOS, and it won't allow any other browser to use a different webkit. So jailbreak is the only other option. – John Henckel Dec 30 '19 at 22:27
  • Do you know any browser which can be installed via jailbreak and which is more up to date than Safari 10? I did not find any... – Jean Paul Aug 17 '20 at 22:23

As far as I know, not currently.

According to this ES6 compatibility table, the only iOS browser supporting this is Safari in iOS 11 (which supports 99% of the ES6 implementation).

It's not clear though how often the above table is updated, or whether it would include other browsers when they offer support for ES6+ on iOS (I note they only list Safari for iOS and no other browser).

Since there are many browsers available for iOS and most of them are regularly updated, it would be worth downloading a few of them and updating regularly to see if any of them support ES6+ in future.

As a minimum I would continue to keep an eye on Chrome, Firefox and even Microsoft Edge (which even supports iOS 9) in case they offer support. However, it would be worth keeping an eye on Opera and Dolphin as well.


Just a minor clarification. The reason I am recommending that you download and keep an eye on other browsers is that their developers may opt to make them still compatible with earlier devices, even though at their core they're still using the Webkit engine. In other words, while the version of Safari using the latest Webkit only works on iOS 11 or above, there's nothing stopping another browser using the latest Webkit being compatible with iOS 10, etc.

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    All iOS browsers are required to use Safari for doing the actual rendering, so they will all have exactly the same level of support for ES6 etc. – Gavin S. Yancey Apr 14 '18 at 1:24
  • Yes, agreed. I'll update my answer to be a little clearer. What I was suggesting is that another browser, while still using Webkit, may also support older versions of iOS. So, if the version of Safari using the latest Webkit and supporting ES6+ only works on iOS 11 or above, there's nothing stopping another browser using the latest Webkit but making that browser compatible with iOS 10, etc. – Monomeeth Apr 14 '18 at 1:33
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    @Monomeeth - use newer WebKit than is installed (by Apple) on the device - are you sure? I've searched for any confirmation of this, but have not found any. Apps are required to call the iOS built-in WKWebView - which is part of Apple's install of WebKit - so obviously depends on Apple-provided iOS and Safari versions - how would one take advantage of features in a newer version of WebKit, while rendering via Apple's WKWebView? – ToolmakerSteve Oct 17 '19 at 15:12
  • @ToolmakerSteve Thanks for your comment. :) Can I ask you to clarify it somewhat? I'm probably still half asleep (LOL), but I'm not sure I'm getting how this relates to my answer? – Monomeeth Oct 17 '19 at 22:47
  • @Monomeeth For me it's clear: you propose to install an alternative browser to possibly get a newer WebKit, but according to Apple requirements it doesn't seem possible. – Jean Paul Jan 24 at 19:15

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