Workflow 101: How to Open Links in Chrome Instead of Safari on Your iPhone

How to Open Links in Chrome Instead of Safari on Your iPhone

When you tap on a URL link in a text, email, or wherever, your iPhone's default reaction will be to open it up in Safari, and there's no way to change this in the settings. However, there is a way you can work around this to open up links in Chrome instead. Even if you accidentally open a link in Safari, there's a quick way to jump the tab right into Chrome.

To do this, we'll be using the Workflow app, which is a powerful tool for doing things you want on your iPhone without relying solely on tons of different apps. If you've never used Workflow before, it can seem pretty complicated, so it's beneficial to learn how workflows work by using some that are already created and ready for you to use before you try building one from scratch.

While something like a tip calculator is a very easy thing to start out with, opening links in Chrome is something that a lot of you probably want to know how to do. And with this workflow, you'll be able to open links directly into Chrome, as well as Safari tabs into Chrome, without any copy/pasting.

Step 1: Add the 'Open in Chrome' Workflow

The easiest way to get this workflow is to just tap on the link here for "Open in Chrome," which will open the workflow directly in your Workflow app. Alternatively, you can tap on the "Gallery" tab in Workflow, hit the search icon in the top right, enter "Chrome," then select Open in Chrome"

After the workflow pops up, select "Get Workflow." Once it's downloaded, tap "Open" to jump right into your newly added workflow. Later, you can find this workflow from the "My Workflows" tab on the app's homepage.

Step 2: Test Out How Well It Works

Usually, tapping on the play button up top will help you get a feel for how the workflow actually works. However, in this case, tapping play will just open up Chrome unless you actually have a URL saved to your clipboard already. In that case, it would open up whatever URL that was as a new tab in Chrome.

Tap on the return to Workflow option in the top left, and you'll see the URL that you had copied to your iPhone's clipboard appear in the workflow at the end (if you had one in your clipboard). We'll have to test out the "in Safari" aspect later. When satisfied, tap on the "Done" label up top, then exit the Workflow app.

Step 3: Add the Workflow Widget

The easiest way to use your new workflow is to add the Workflow widget to your Today View, and there are actually two different ways of doing this.

You can either 1). 3D Touch on the Workflow app icon on your home screen, then tap "Add Widget" on the home screen widget, or 2). swipe right from the first home screen page, lock screen, or notifications window, select "Edit" at the bottom of the Today View page, tap the "+" icon next to Workflow, then hit "Done."

If the "Open in Chrome" button doesn't appear in the widget, tap on "Manage Workflows" from the widget and make sure "Open in Chrome" is checked.

Step 4: Open Links Right into Chrome

Now, as we've already seen in Step 2, whenever you have a URL in your iPhone's clipboard, activating the "Open in Chrome" workflow will open the link as a new tab in Chrome. This is handy when you're in an email or message and you want to check out a link someone shares with you but don't want to use Safari.

To do that, either long-press on the link gently or 3D Touch to peek into it and swipe up, then tap either "Copy" or "Copy Link," depending on which way you went. Then, swipe down the notifications, swipe right to access the Today View, then tap "Open in Chrome" in the Workflow widget to open the link in a new Chrome tab.

You can also 3D Touch the Workflow app icon on the home screen, then select "Open in Chrome" if you don't like swiping to get to the Today View.

Alternatively, you can add a home screen shortcut. Head back to the "Open in Chrome" workflow from the "My Workflows" tab directly in the app. Now, either scroll all the way to the bottom of the workflow and tap "Add to Home Screen" (it won't appear unless you played the workflow first) or tap the cog icon up top, then "Add to Home Screen." This will open up a link to the shortcut in Safari, then you just add it to your home screen like any other webpage.

Step 5: Open Safari Tabs in Chrome

If you accidentally tapped on the link as normal, no problem. This workflow also lets you open those links in Chrome, too.

When you're on any loaded tab in Safari, tap the share icon (you may need to tap the top bar or swipe down to make the menu appear), then tap the "Run Workflow" button in the second row of activities. If you don't see it, tap on "More" at the end, then toggle on "Run Workflow" and hit "Done." After tapping "Run Workflow," tap "Open in Chrome" under My Workflows, and the tab will open up in Chrome.

Breaking Down This Workflow

Now that you've had a chance to play around with the "Open in Chrome" workflow, let's see exactly how this one works, which will help you when it comes to building your own unique workflows.

The first part that says "This workflow accepts URLs" signifies that the action boxes below it are directly related to the share sheet shortcut you used in Step 5 to open tabs from Safari to Chrome. "URLs" is selected since that's what we're looking for when in Safari. Really, it could also be used in Firefox, DuckDuckGo, Cake, Opera Mini, or any other web browser you're in.

Now, the first action box, the "Set Variable" script, tells us that URLs will be the variable we're using. The second action box script, "Count," which is left without a specific count, just says to look at everything.

In the following "If" action box script, it says that if the count is greater than zero (it could also be equal to one if you want), to "Get Variable" (the next action box), which takes the value of the variable and moves it to the next action.

For the "Otherwise" box, this just means that if the URL wasn't found above according to the rules set, to perform the next set of actions instead.

In the "Get Clipboard" action box, this just means it will copy whatever is currently residing in your iPhone's clipboard and pass that along to the next action. But it will only do this if the above criteria weren't met. So, if you used Step 4 above to just copy links and open them in Chrome, it would first look for URLs on the current page, and if not found, would take what's in the clipboard.

Next, the if statement ends with "End if," and the next action begins, which will be the action that puts this all into working order.

The "Open URLs in Chrome" web action box will either take the URL from the Safari tab (or tab from another browser) using this first actions above or it will use whatever is in the clipboard if nothing was found, then opens the link as a new tab in the Google Chrome web browser on your iPhone.

There's one downside to using this workflow: it won't open links into their correlating apps. For instance, if you tap on a link in an email to a Groupon deal, it would open in Safari and instantaneously be send to the Groupon app instead, if installed. When you use the "Open in Chrome" workflow, it won't do that, since Safari is the only app that can open links in other installed apps like that.

Hopefully, this gave you an opportunity to learn a thing or two iOS workflows, which will help you when it comes time to make your own unique workflows. We'll continue to explore more premade workflows in other guides, as well as how to edit them to your liking, so check out our Workflow 101 collection.

Cover photo, screenshots, and GIFs by Justin Meyers/Gadget Hacks

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