How to Use Safari Extensions on the iPhone or iPod touch

How to Use Safari Extensions on iPhone or iPod touch. Getty Images (ryccio #186104321)

 This tutorial is only intended for iPhone and iPod touch users running iOS 8 or higher.

It wasn't many years ago that extensions were a new phenomenon, enhancing the functionality of our Web browsers in a number of ways. As time went on, ambitious developers began to push the boundaries in terms of what these add-ons could accomplish. What started as small programs with simple feature sets soon became complex chunks of code that truly took browser capabilities to new heights.

As more users start to browse on their portable devices, it only seems like a natural progression for extensions to find their way into the mobile arena. Evidence of this can be found in Apple's iOS operating system, where more and more extensions are becoming available for its default Safari browser.

This tutorial explains how Safari extensions work on the iPhone and iPod touch, including instructions on how to activate and utilize them.

First, open your Safari browser. Next tap the Share button, represented by a square containing an up arrow and located at the bottom of your browser window.

Share Screen

Browser extensions in iOS behave a bit differently than what you're probably used to on a PC or Mac. First off, they are not downloaded and installed as standalone components as they are in the desktop realm. iOS extensions are integrated with their respective apps, installed but not always activated by default.

Not only are most initially disabled, the presence of these extensions is not explicitly called out -- meaning their corresponding apps do not frequently advertise the existence of these helpful add-ons. There is a simple way to view all extensions available to Safari, however, as well as to toggle them on and off.

The popup menu known as the Share Screen should now be visible. The first and second rows contain icons for app extensions that are already enabled and therefore available to the Safari browser. The first row contains those classified as Share Extensions, while the second displays the available Action Extensions. Scroll to the far right of this row and select the More button.

Activities

The Activities screen should now be displayed, listing all Share extensions currently installed on your device. To view installed Action extensions, select the More button found in the corresponding row. As you may notice several others are installed as well. However, they are not always enabled and therefore not accessible to the browser.

To activate a browser extension, select the button to the right of its name until it turns green. To toggle off an extension, simply select the same button until it turns white.

You can also modify the priority of an extension, and therefore its location on Safari's Share Screen, by selecting and dragging it up or down in the list.

Launching an Extension

To launch a particular extension, simply select its respective icon from the aforementioned Share Screen.

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