Introducing Desktop-class Browsing on iPad

Written by Stefan Herold

Description: iOS 13 brings desktop-class browsing to iPad. With blazing-fast performance, industry-leading security, and modern desktop features, Safari on iPad supports the latest web standards designed and automatically adapts desktop sites and web apps to touch in order to deliver a rich browsing experience. Learn how your site or embedded WebView can take advantage of powerful new features and coding best practices to deliver a best-in class user experience for iPad.

  • New Features: Download Manager, Keyboard Shortcuts, Full Page Zoom, ...
  • Websites designed to show lots of information, e.g. GitHub, are zoomed to make use of iPad's full width
  • Hovering with the mouse on desktop now feels natural on an iPad
  • Speaker covers the topics Link following, Web Browser, Hybrid Apps and Authentication for WKWebView apps
  • Prevent horizontal scrolling in WKWebView: Compile with iOS 13 SDK and set webViewConfiguration.applicationNameForUserAgent = "Version/1.0 MyBrowser/1.0" (user agent auto-completed by Web Kit)
  • Set preferredContentMode = WKWebpagePreferences.ContentMode.[recommended, mobile, desktop]
  • Demo: "Shiny Browser" iPad App
    • it is now easier to implement toggles between mobile/desktop websites by leveraging WKWebViewDelegate
  • Optimization potential for web developers
    • Pointer Events
      • Adopt by if (window.PointerEvent) element.addEventListener("pointermove", updateInteraction); else element.addEventListener("mousemove", updateInteraction);
      • Cancel default web browser behavior by event.preventDefault(); and additional the CSS variant touch-action: none; (more granualar on disabling events)
    • Hover
      • Provide alternative way to access hover content
      • Avoid two tap for common interactions
      • Keep hover snappy
    • Accelerated Scrolling
      • works on all frames, not only the main frame
      • Frameworks don't need workarounds to simulate acceleration of sub frames anymore
    • View Port and Text Sizing
      • Some webpages are build in fixed width, wider than an iPad
      • Now on iPadOS the paremeter width=device-width is ignored for websites laying out wider than iPad width. The site is zoomed to max iPad width.
      • Add content parameter shrink-to-fit=no to the viewport meta tag to prevent auto shrinking
      • Implement proper responsive websites to get around the new iPadOS auto adjustments
    • Visual Viewport API
      • Visual VP is the area of your webpage visible to the user, e.g. between top and top of the iPadOS keyboard
      • react to changes, e.g. keyboard will show, by visualViewport.addEventListener("resize", visualSizeChanged);
    • Streaming Video
      • Media Source Extensions now available on iPad
  • Best Practices
    • Build one responsive website instead of two for mobile/desktop
    • Use feature detection instead of switching on user agent
    • Don't use Flash - support will be dropped in Safari on all platforms
    • Let users decide if they want audio
    • Remember that some desktop browsers don't have mice
    • Use built-in APIs

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Missing anything? Corrections? Contributions are welcome 😃


Written by

Stefan Herold

Stefan Herold

Stefan Herold is an iOS Developer a.d. 2009 • iOS / OSX Enthusiast • WWDC20 • Now: @ioki_mobility • Passionate Mountainbiker