Google currently provides detection of Eddystone-URL beacons included in the Android OS without installing any apps. More specifically, it’s part of Play Services that allows phones to include and update features outside the controls of (slow and sometimes non-existent) manufacturer phone updates. iOS users have to install
Chrome (no longer possible) or the Physical Web app to see Eddystone beacons.
A question we are often asked is will (or when will) Apple support Eddystone detection in the OS? Without having even spoken with Apple about this, it seems obvious to us that Apple will never support Eddystone detection in the OS. Why would they when it competes with their iBeacon? Apple would need a compelling reason to include Eddystone detection and no such reason exists.
At the 2017 Apple WWDC, it was announced that the iOS camera will support the decoding of QRCodes without the user installing any apps. QRCodes are similar to Eddystone-URL in that they point to a URL. You could argue Eddystone is logical a next step. However, we guess there’s a deeper reason for adding QRCodes, perhaps to enable the easier setup of some other (future?) Apple hardware.