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iOS, Android browser apps URL Schemes to handle URL between browsers, and apps..

Assume the user is on a mobile device iOS Safari (Or other browser), but you want a link to open into any other specific mobile browser app like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, Arc... How do you do that?


To open on Chrome

<a href="googlechrome://">try it on Chrome</a>

check out Chrome iOS Docs for more information


To open on Firefox

<a href="firefox://open-url?url=">try it on Firefox</a>

Check out Firefox Docs for more information


To open on Opera

<a href="opera-">Try it on Opera</a>

Check out this page for more information, I couldn't found official Opera Documentation

In-App browsers

Assume the users is on an in-app webview or any other browser, but an API is not support in-app browser, so you need to link the user to Safari, how do you achieve that?


I couln't find a URL Scheme for Safari, tried safari://url but it didn't work, it will be handled by Safari.

I filled a bug on Safari webkit about this

I tried x-web-search but it didn't work

People have mentioned com-apple-mobilesafari-tab: at redit

Demo and resources

Codepen Demo, Inter App Communication, Apple URL Schemes, I think registerProtocolHandler is somewhat related.. I think this bug is also somewhat related, cause there's developers trying to figure out if a URL Scheme is available in the platform, check out this Stackoverflow question

For Android I found intent Doc, this blog post is insightful, other insightful read was this starckoverflow question "Firefox for Android does not launch app when link is clicked" and URL "Scheme: How can I create a link, which will open a document in the Google Drive app"


Should we work on a standard way to share information between web apps to installed application and installed application to web apps and web apps to web apps, on desktop, tablets and smartphone?

There's basic necessities when developing a rich web app.

  1. What are the apps the user can share this piece of information?

    Whatsapp has the whatsapp:// URL Scheme, but there's no way to check if the given URL Scheme is available in the platform

    If the user clicks in share, the browser/platform should give a list of applications/web apps the user can share the given information, it could be a URL, String, File Buffer would be great, for example.. The user apply a custom filter to an image on a web app... So the user wants to share it on Instagram.

  2. Is a specfic URL Scheme available?

    There's no standard way to check if a URL Scheme is available

  3. How can I offer my web app the oportunite to the user share the information?

Android has a popup where the user choose where he wants to share the information, a URL or String.. or a image base64 enconded.. So... If my web site provide a way to share images, strings and links.. How can I tell the device/browser my web app can share this kind of information?

I found out the best reading these days is this blog post about a failed Web API called Web Indents, follow all the links

Thank you for reading, I appreciate your help.

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wb-towa commented Mar 22, 2023

in my iOS bookmarking app, I've simply added the url schemes for a reasonable set of popular browsers (and Jayson). It's less than ideal and it means if someone changes their default there is no way to target Safari.

At worst can't they offer a way for an app to offer itself as a browser and it gets put into a list and the user can grant permission to read that list? It would be nice to be able to target Safari specifically. I've had users that would like that rather than having Safari as their default and selecting the other browser the majority of the time.

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felquis commented Apr 1, 2023

@wb-towa @filecage @PigCharid just updated with a mention to com-apple-mobilesafari-tab:, not sure if it's com-apple-mobilesafari-tab:// or com-apple-mobilesafari-tab:, haven't tested it yet. Let me know if that works for you.

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wb-towa commented Apr 2, 2023

Thanks @felquis On iOS 16.4, it brings up the dialog asking if I want to open it in Safari but when it's in Safari it fails saying it's an invalid address.

I've tried it without the https:// as well.

It might be they closed off access to this or changed it. When I have more free time I'll see if I can get it to work.

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Any updates about this?

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Curious also if there's an update with this.

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