How To: These Browsers Let You Add Web Apps and Bookmarks to Your iPhone's Home Screen

These Browsers Let You Add Web Apps and Bookmarks to Your iPhone's Home Screen

Safari isn't the only web browser on your iPhone or iPad anymore that will let you add icons to your Home Screen for progressive web apps and website bookmarks. Apple gave developers the key to its "Add to Home Screen" feature, and your favorite iOS or iPadOS web browser may already support it.

With iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, released March 27, 2023, third-party mobile web browsers have the tools they need to implement Add to Home Screen. If supported, whether with your default browser or not, you can add shortcuts for web apps to your Home Screen that will open in their own WebView instances.

Web Apps vs. Web Bookmarks

For a website or webpage to open as a web app on your iPhone or iPad, it must include "standalone" or "fullscreen" display views in its manifest file. If true, the web app will open in its own WebView, and it will get its own card in your iPhone or iPad's app switcher, separate from Safari or the web browser that created the shortcut. Web apps can also issue web push notifications like regular apps do, also a new feature as of iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4.

According to Apple, a website or webpage added to your Home Screen that's missing web app behavior in the manifest file and has no "meta" tag marking it as web app capable will be a simple bookmark that opens up as a tab in your default web browser.

Before iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, Home Screen bookmarks created with Safari would open in Safari. However, since other apps can add Home Screen bookmarks, Apple changed the behavior to open Home Screen bookmarks in whatever browser you have as your default.

What Will the Icons Look Like?

If a website has provided an icon in its manifest file or "apple-touch-icons" in the HTML document, that icon will be used on your iPhone or iPad's Home Screen, as seen in the left image below.

Otherwise, the icon will display a matching color from the website's design and a monogram that uses the first letter of the website's name (not the domain name), as seen in the right image below. Unfortunately, changing the name for the Home Screen icon will not change the letter used.

Before iOS 16.4 and iPadOS 16.4, Home Screen bookmark icons that had no preferred icons showed up as ugly screenshots of the webpages.

Which Browsers Support Add to Home Screen?

It seems like something browsers would jump on as soon as possible, but the list of iOS and iPadOS web browsers that support Add to Home Screen, or A2HS as Mozilla likes to call it, is very small at the moment. If a browser does support it, you can find the option in the share sheet.

Browsers with an "Add to Home Screen" tool visible in their own menus, not the regular share sheet where you'll find AirDrop, frequent contacts, other apps, shortcuts, and other actions, will not work. Instead, they will likely open error pages in a new browser tab. Apps we've found like this include:

Keep Your Connection Secure Without a Monthly Bill. Get a lifetime subscription to VPN Unlimited for all your devices with a one-time purchase from the new Gadget Hacks Shop, and watch Hulu or Netflix without regional restrictions, increase security when browsing on public networks, and more.

Buy Now (80% off) >

Other worthwhile deals to check out:

Cover photo and screenshots by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

Be the First to Comment

Share Your Thoughts

  • Hot
  • Latest