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We have our main site at:


which we don't want to alter. Then we have our web clip app at:


If someone visits the app URL in normal Safari then the Safari UI will still display. But if the user adds the app URL to their home screen, and then they tap that icon they will launch the app URL without the Safari UI as intended.

My question is how do you go about getting the user to use the web clip app from their home screen when they start from mysite.com? What I'm thinking is that we have a link on mysite.com that points to mysite.com/app/. Then when they click that /app/ link they'll go to the app but it won't be in "app mode". Can I detect that it's not in app mode and display a message like "add this page to your home screen to use the app"? And then when they do visit in app mode obviously just let the app run.

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closed as off topic by Kilian Foth, Glenn Nelson, MichaelT, Martijn Pieters, Mike Brown Mar 4 '13 at 15:29

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1 Answer 1

Apple's Safari Web Content Guide has a lot of useful information, as well as the Safari HTML Reference.

In Javascript you can check if it is an open as a WebApp:

if (window.navigator.standalone) {
    // Code if open as WebApp
} else {
    // Normal iOS Safari

To tell Safari that it is WebApp capable, you have to set:

<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">

For more information on WebApp configuration take a look at Creating Compatible Web Content, Configuring the Viewport, and Configuring Web Applications.

So, to do what you want to do, have something like so:

<div id="nonapp">
    <p>This is telling you to add to home screen!</p>
<div id="app" style="display: none;">
    <p>This is telling you your content!</p>
<script type="text/javascript">
if (window.navigator.standalone) {
    document.getElementById("nonapp").style.display = "none";
    document.getElementById("app").style.display = "block";
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Yes I was already thinking to do that on the front-end with Javascript. Is there a way to detect it on the back-end though? –  Ryan Nov 6 '12 at 2:20
You could have the iPhone send the server a signal, and the server dishes out the correct code, which is document.write()ed onto the page. –  question Nov 6 '12 at 2:53

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