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Create Home Screen links to 3rd Party browsers without jailbreaking iOS devices
There are many great iOS 3rd party web browsers out there which are nicer than the built in Mobile Safari. However, in Safari, you can add home screen links to pages and you cannot do that in the 3rd party browsers. This is a workaround based on my limited PHP knowledge. It requires that you have a PHP-supported web host and it will only work when you can connect to said web host.

It also requires that your third party browser has some type of link associated registered with the iOS device. My only experience is Atomic Web (atomic://) but I am sure others have it too.

These instructions are not perfect and there may be better ways to do this but it seems to work for me. Read at the bottom for some discussion on the pros and cons of this method.

Some sites (such as Google) have nice home screen icons. If you want them, first, on your computer, use Safari or any other browser where you can change the User Agent and change it to Mobile Safari. Go to the website of interest and view the source. You are looking for something like this.

This may not always be easy to do but I just searched for 'apple-touch-icon-precomposed' and I am usually able to find it. Go to the URL and download the png file. If the site does not have an icon that is 57x57, I think you will have to create one. There may be other ways to do this. If so, please put it in the comments. Also, there are options as to whether or not iOS adds the glare to the icon. Your best bet is to search and read about iOS meta tags.

To create the Home Screen link:

To set up the home screen, first create a file on your site. For example, with a Gmail link, I called the page gmail.php.

I created the page with something along the lines of the following:
<link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" href="gmail-iphone-57x57-p.png" />
I also uploaded the png file and that link image is relative. Next, go to the page on your iphone in Safari and add it to your homescreen.

Change the page to the following. This is for Atomic Web, but you may be able to do it with other browsers. I am not sure about them but you need to find their association.
header("Location: atomic://");
Then, when you click on the home screen link, it will first open Safari and then, in my case, Atomic Web Browser will open.

This method does have some serious disadvantages. The two main ones are:

Your phone opens Safari, loads a page and then opens your other browser. This is not the end of the world and I find it is still faster than opening the browser and going to bookmarks.

And there is no way to save HTML5 databases. Some sites, like GMail, save mail on your phone when you use the home screen links. That is not always the case using my method. How your 3rd-party browser does it depends on the browser.

But there is the obvious advantage of having a home screen link.

As a bonus hint; instead of a website, you can enter a phone number like atomic://tel://1-555-555-5555. You can use an image editor to make an icon for this too.

[crarko adds: I haven't tested this one.]
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Create Home Screen links to 3rd Party browsers without jailbreaking | 4 comments | Create New Account
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Create Home Screen links to 3rd Party browsers without jailbreaking
Authored by: tempel on Mar 08, '11 08:29:36AM

iCab Mobile's specific scheme is:

http: -> icabmobile:
https: -> icabmobiles:

The iCab author has also proposed a default scheme that any browser should use, so that links to it will always open the browser of choice the user has installed (as long as he can make his mind up by not having several different ones, of course :)

http: -> web:
https: -> webs:

All documented here:

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Mar 08, '11 04:17:39PM

Hey All,

Sorry there was a small error in my hint. If you want to do a phone number, it is just tel://number without the atomic:// first. Sorry.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Create Home Screen links to 3rd Party browsers without jailbreaking
Authored by: bglnelissen on Mar 09, '11 02:01:24AM
Nice trick, especially the call trick. I thought it was a pain to change the file so i wrote a little PHP to do this in one go. It uses cookies and receives info with the URL. Although it works, it's just a quick hack, URL's do not get encoded etc.

This is what the URL looks like:

You can test is live on my server ( "Add John to your phone with one link"

Here is the code. (you need to fix the tags at the HTML section, this markup deletes tags that are forbidden. <-html> (remove minus))

// made by b.nelissen
// march 2011
// URL encode can be done with PHP or here:
// URL encode plus sign is: %2B

if(	(isset(&#36;_COOKIE[&#36;_GET['name']."name"]))
	// user wants to reset cookie/tel-number

if( (empty(&#36;_COOKIE[&#36;_GET['name']."tel"]))
	// check if GET is set.
	if( (isset(&#36;_GET['name']))
		// all info is there, create icon
		// not all info is here, error
	// we know the name, icon and number
	// let's call
	header("Location: tel://".&#36;_COOKIE[&#36;_GET['name']."tel"]);

function error_to_little_info(){
	echo("Sorry but you need to set a name, tel-number and image location:

"); echo("index.php?name=John&tel=555-123456789&icon=John-57x57.png

"); } function save_to_homescreen(){ /* Bogus: if the user does not press the + sign, the cookie is still set. */ $time_to_forget = 60*60*24*365; // 1 year setcookie($_GET['name']."tel", $_GET['tel'], time()+$time_to_forget); setcookie($_GET['name']."name", $_GET['name'], time()+$time_to_forget); setcookie($_GET['name']."icon", $_GET['icon'], time()+$time_to_forget); ?> <-html> <-head> <-link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" href="<?php echo(&#36;_GET['icon']);?>" /> <-title><?php echo(htmlspecialchars(&#36;_GET['name']));?> <-/head> <-body> <-h1><?php echo(htmlspecialchars(&#36;_GET['name']));?><-/h1> <-h2><?php echo(htmlspecialchars(&#36;_GET['tel']));?><-/h2> <-img src="<?php echo(&#36;_GET['icon']);?>"> <-h2>Press + to save this contact to your homescreen.<-/h2> <-/body> <-/html> <?php } ?>

PS. If you make big money using it, i want my share...
Edited on Mar 09, '11 02:07:40AM by bglnelissen

[ Reply to This | # ]
Authored by: Jwink3101 on Mar 11, '11 07:27:36AM

I should add that this works for SMS as well. It seems to just be sms://number . I have not been able to get it to accept more than one number but I am going to keep on playing

[ Reply to This | # ]