Google has released a new version of its Chrome browser for iOS, which brings faster browsing speed and less crashes. However, Chrome for iOS now does not offer the 'Do Not Track' feature.
The Do Not Track setting allows security-conscious users opt out of online tracking. Currently, Safari is the only Web browser for iDevices that offers the feature.
"Some of your Chrome features and settings will not be available at this time because of iOS constraints," says Google.
Google explains that Chrome for iOS now uses Apple's new Web rendering engine called WKWebView, which does not support the Do Not Track setting.
It is interesting to note that Safari also uses WKWebView, and the rendering engine allows Safari to turn on Do Not Track but limits the same functionality on other browsers.
Arvind Narayanan, an assistant professor of computer science at Princeton, has worked on developing the Do Not Track feature. He says that Apple is to be blamed for the absence of the feature on other browsers apart from Safari.
"If the API in question doesn't expose that functionality, there's nothing Google or Mozilla can do about it," says Narayanan.
Browsers add a Do Not Track request in the header field, which demands websites not to track the users. However, it is worth noting that while some websites honor the user's request, others do not.
Third-party browsers do not have the facility to add or alter HTTP headers on Apple's WKWebKit, which is the reason why companies such as Google and Mozilla do not offer Do Not Track for its app on iOS.
However, unlike Firefox and Chrome, Apple allows iOS to alter the header request sent to websites by the browser.
The absence of the Do Not Track on Chrome for iOS will make privacy-conscious users deploy Safari or the incognito window in Chrome.
Along with the Do Not Track setting, other Chrome features such as Cookie settings, Data Saver, Auto-Detect Encoding and Enterprise support and multi-profiles will also not be available on Chrome for iOS.
These features may come back only if Apple modifies its API.
"If Apple makes changes to WKWebView to allow these features, we will add them back in," says Google.
While some features have been omitted from Chrome for iOS, users may find enhanced browsing speed with the updated version of the app.
Chrome for iOS weighs 69.5 MB and is available as a free download from the App Store. The app is compatible with devices running on iOS 9 or later.
Photo: Kārlis Dambrāns | Flickr