Webviews and In-App Browsers: What You Should Know

November 18, 2014

7:00 am

Webviews can produce unexpected results. This is an understatement. And I bet you’ve seen it happen more than once: an article referenced in your Twitter feed looks pretty interesting, but when you click on it, you’re not able to view it. INTERNETZ! I just want to get my read on before I can get any other work done. Well, it’s very possible that the reason for these seemingly broken links is easily summed up in two words: Because Webviews.

Fortunately, Lifehacker came up with this advice to simply disable the browser, say, within Facebook, and direct your mobile device to open links with your preferred browser. Not only will this help you to see web content in the way you prefer, but you will also be able to share that content in the way you’d like.

Oh, but unfortunately this feature is only available on an Android device. In-app webview is pretty much required on iOS.

 

Facebook-App-Settings-Browser

Image Credit: MakeUseOf

If you dive through advice on various forums where webview authentication is discussed, you might find that the prevailing advice is to simply uninstall the Facebook app and use Facebook’s mobile site instead. One helpful blogger even reiterated that school of thought in the comments portion of the post referred to above. “It requires fewer permissions, is nicer on your battery, and works almost exactly like the native app—you’ll barely even notice you’re using a web page,” added Whitson Gordon.

For more tips on making your Facebook experience better, check out the MakeUseOf blog. But regarding the iOS users who still feel forced to use in-app browsers, one developer has taken to multiple news outlets to tell you: don’t do it.

Craig Hockenberry, one of the developers who created Twitteriffic, believes that unscrupulous app developers could steal your information by causing you to open their in-app browsers. He offers the following video to demonstrate the potential harm:

 

According to MacRumors, “Hockenberry does not have a clear solution in mind for Apple, as fixing the core behavior of both WebKit and UIWebView would require the company to update every version of iOS that included Safari and WebKit, but he does suggest the company could protect users with OAuth.”

If you do navigate to a website through an in-app browser, it is considered safe for you to simply browse content. But you should never enter sensitive information through an in-app browser. Check out Hockenberry’s full post for more information and recommendations.

 

 

 

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Previously the Managing Editor at Tech.Co, Ann Diab has a background of launching and nurturing of startups and tech companies. Empowering and educating entrepreneurs and startups to better productivity and culture is her passion. Growth Manager at WorkingOn to enable folks all over the world to enjoy work and improve communication. Follow me on Twitter.

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