Can we add functionality to the mobile site to view the page in the SE iOS app? It could be through smart app banners or a link at the bottom where the download link is.

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I really don't care which, but right now there's just no way to do it.

  • 13
    I personally really really hate it when mobile websites keep shoving their apps in my face. So if this were done, I would hope there would be an opt-out option. (Not because I think there's anything wrong with the SE app, just because I'd like there to be a choice.)
    – WendiKidd
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 21:47
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    I do wish Apple would make that banner a little shorter..
    – mhlester
    Commented May 7, 2014 at 21:48
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    It's worth noting that this request isn't for the purpose of advertising the app; it's the easiest way to launch directly into the post you're reading. And it's a lot better than an alert or a modal splash screen!
    – mhlester
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 15:27
  • This would be awful if you clicked on a link within the app that wasn't the "current site" and it forked off to the web browser only to see an ad for the app that launched you into the browser in the first place.... (unless it somehow had the URL encoded or passed by reference to actually render the link you wanted to visit in the first place.)
    – bmike
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 17:17
  • @bmike, i'm not sure what you mean by "current site", but yes, this would launch directly to the same page. it's not so much an ad as a way to get back to the app
    – mhlester
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 17:19
  • @mhlester Hmm - it looks like the cross site linking that I thought was broken is either fixed or it's only active on trilogy sites with non .stackexchange.com URL...
    – bmike
    Commented May 8, 2014 at 17:27
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    Yes please! This is my biggest SE pet hate at the moment. And the iOS app is super, hugely preferable to the browser version
    – Jon Story
    Commented Oct 24, 2014 at 1:05
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    This is coming soon, I promise. Commented Nov 11, 2014 at 21:37
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    Well @KasraRahjerdi, if it comes in the next six days you can brag to all your friends about that one time you earned a whopping 100 internet points in a single day! ;)
    – mhlester
    Commented Nov 12, 2014 at 15:56
  • @mhlester Yeah... I made the initial prototype then we went through a lot of rounds of talking about it and I'm now making something that looks more unified to the mobile web site than just a app banner. It's still "soon" but I'm working on android tablet first. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 22:46

2 Answers 2


This is finally live. Here's what it looks like:

look at banner, Meta!

We went with our own solution rather than the regular Apple Smart App Banner for a multitude of reasons, the biggest one being the default Apple one looking really annoying. More details about how ours works:

  • It only shows on Q&A pages, since those are the ones we can actually open in the app. Later on when we have deeplinking support for search pages and other pages, we'll add them there too.
  • If you hit the × the banner goes away forever. We store this in localStorage so if you clear your browser's memory we'll lose the setting, but for most people tapping it will mean never seeing the banner again.
  • It only shows if you're using Safari/Chrome/Browser/etc. That means it doesn't show when you are looking at a post within another application, so if you're reading something in Alien Blue and click a link to a SE post we won't show the banner within that app's WebView.

Try it out and let me know what you think! I'm sorry it took us so freaking long to get this out the door.

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    Failed on first try: if the inbox is opened in the app, it doesn't work. App stays in inbox and won't open the question. Update: it does go to the question but does not close the inbox. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:35
  • Also, since it applies only to questions, maybe change the wording to "Read this question in our app"? Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:37
  • @ShadowWizard well, if you're on a answer link it'll scroll to that answer after opening the question. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:42
  • Does this open the app store if the app isn't installed?
    – mhlester
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:45
  • @mhlester I'm pretty sure that if the app isn't installed no banner will appear. (as most people will just find it annoying) Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:48
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    it actually opens up the App Store or Play Store if you don't have the app installed. In the future it'll retain the URL you clicked from and take you to the post after you download the app and login. Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:50
  • this works great. the emoji icon is kinda annoying, but i'm an old fuddy duddy when it comes to what a font should do
    – mhlester
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 19:56
  • Its working nice so far I don't see any problems
    – 0m3r
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 18:41
  • Kasra this is bizarre. I deleted the app and tapped the icon. It launched the iTunes store and presented the app for download, rather than launching the app store. Shockigngly I can still download the app through that store, but I assume it's possible to launch the app store instead?
    – mhlester
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 18:51
  • @mhlester right now I'm doing a itms:// link which opens the iTunes Store. I'll see if there's any way to actually do App Store links. Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 18:55
  • Looks like it's itms-apps://: stackoverflow.com/a/2337601/3130539
    – mhlester
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 18:56
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    Thank you Stack Overflow!
    – mhlester
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 18:56
  • Looking forward to this being on all sites!! Thanks for effort. Commented May 1, 2015 at 17:21
  • Is it time yet?
    – mhlester
    Commented Jun 2, 2015 at 14:12
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    I don’t see this link - has it been disabled? Or did I click the cross once at some point?
    – mwfearnley
    Commented Sep 2, 2018 at 8:29

With help from Brian Nickel, I've made the following bookmarklet which works for iOS:


To make a bookmarklet on your device, make a dummy regular bookmark and then edit it with the javascript code.

Now every time I need to view a question in the app, I choose the bookmark and it launches!

(still waiting for the link on the site though)

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