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if i view-source then i see the following in meta

<link rel="apple-itouch-icon" href="/apple-touch-icon.png">

Is this intentional ? Whats the purpose ?

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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

When you add a site to your home screen in Mobile Safari, it looks for that line in the HTML and, if present, it uses it as the icon. In many ways, this is similar to a desktop browser looking for favicon.ico and displaying that in the address bar.

Here is what it looks like:

If the line of HTML isn't present, the iPhone will instead take a screenshot of the page and use that as the icon instead, but this doesn't really work that well for most sites (since they are usually text) and so it is greatly recommended to provide an icon if possible.

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Must visit that Stackerflow some time. –  random Aug 15 '09 at 7:36
3  
It's "Stack...erflow" - the dots indicate an awkward verbal pause when spoken aloud. –  Kyle Cronin Aug 15 '09 at 7:40
    
Those programmers, always with the Asperger's. –  random Aug 15 '09 at 7:42
6  
Stackerflow? I hardly know her! ...oh, I'm so so sorry... –  Factor Mystic Aug 15 '09 at 7:51
    
Well how stupid is that? Why can't they (apple) just use the favicon for that? Now web developers have just another thing to think about. WTF?? –  fretje Aug 15 '09 at 11:02
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@Fretje: The icons on the device are much larger than the favicon, and it would look bad if you couldn't provide an alternative. –  Kyle Cronin Aug 15 '09 at 13:44
    
Plane-arium ​ –  Brad Gilbert Aug 15 '09 at 14:29
    
If that <link rel=...> isn't present, the iPhone will still search for the file "apple-touch-icon.png" in the root directory of the site, and only if it doesn't see this file will it use a screenshot (see site linked in my answer) –  a_m0d Aug 17 '09 at 0:12
    
stack ... errr.... flow.. –  Mk12 Aug 18 '09 at 2:38

This icons is the bookmark icon used on the Apple iphone and ipod (when added to the home screen). By default it will look for this file, but it can be over-ridden using this directive (so it looks like Jeff et al are just being over-cautious). For more info, have a look at this site.

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This is for iPhone users.

When they bookmark the site, the iPhone will either request this particular file or, if it's not found, will create its own snapshot of the site as its icon.

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