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I commute using the subway so this means 20 minute stretches of no internet.

To give me something to do, I often open a bunch of web pages, say 3 or 4 before I'm offline so I can read them while I'm without a signal.

If I check my pages just before losing a signal, they show up perfectly and the internet icon doesn't show, hence my thinking that it's not reloading when I check.

After loosing internet, sometimes my web pages will display fine, other times they try to reload.

Is there a way to have them not reload so I can read them?

Any other alternatives?

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migrated from superuser.com Jul 11 '12 at 21:20

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4  
If it's any consolation, iOS 6 will offer an offline Reading List for such situations. –  Phong Jul 17 '12 at 18:50
5  
If only someone had made an app for this sort of offline reading while commuting... ;-) –  bmike Jul 17 '12 at 21:56
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7 Answers 7

up vote 8 down vote accepted

The behavior that you've described appears to be a limitation of the Safari mobile browser. Other users have complained about the Safari Mobile auto refresh behavior on several Apple community forum posts.

This iFans post offers some explanations and potential solutions:

This is not a feature... It's a limitation.

MobileSafari keeps website cache only in RAM, and therefore, once it runs out of RAM, it'll automatically destroy an entire page, forcing the refresh, disguising itself as an auto-refresh feature. You can only keep at most 3 pages open at any time... Even the iPhone 4 with double the amount of RAM can only keep 5 pages.

You can try a third-party browser that has offline caching, and it'll remedy the situation. Or alternatively, use the swap file mod I posted in the jailbreak forums and it should work, too.

These third-party browsers have offline page caching as far as I know:

  • iCab Mobile (also supports concurrent tab, which means you can browse websites while listening to music on youtube, this is my personal favourite)
  • Atomic Web Browser (many useful features, but the interface is a bit strange)
  • Mercury (cool browser that looks like a shrunk version of desktop Safari)

Your choices appear to be:

  • Use a jailbreak mod to increase the swap file size (hopefully will increase number of pages that can be stored)
  • Use a third party browser that supports offline caching
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2  
@JWB thanks for the browser recomendations –  chollida Jul 12 '12 at 12:54
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Mobile Safari clears tabs from memory when it receives a low memory warning from the OS. For performance reasons, iOS doesn't do any paging to disk, so when something is moved out of memory, it's gone unless it's been saved. So the reason you have to reload pages is that other tasks on your iPhone (other apps or new browser tabs) are using memory, so Safari kicks the older tabs out of memory, and when you flip back to them, they need to be re-dowloaded.

This is system behaviour, and it can't be changed. However there are several apps that are designed to save pages for offline reading. I personally recommend Instapaper - very well designed, actively maintained by a great independent developer, and the service integrates with a lot of other apps, so you can save links from most RSS and Twitter clients, amongst other things.

The basic premise is that when you open a page you want to read later, you use a bookmarklet to save the page to Instapaper. Then open the app and it downloads a nicely formatted, text- and pictures-only version of your saved pages for reading at your convenience. It has lots of other features, including saving your position in an article and syncing it to any other Instapaper clients you use. Highly recommended.

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thanks for the Instapaper recommendation –  chollida Jul 12 '12 at 12:54
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I prefer ReadItLater (now called Pocket) to Instapaper, but both are good. I wish someone would write a jailbreak patch to mobile safari to enable page caching to disk, but until then, I guess I'll try mercury and icab. Thx all.

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Safari reading list saves everything for offline reading, so you could use that feature for any page you download and don't read immediately.

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Could you be a bit more specific about how this might help chollida? –  Alex Jul 26 '13 at 8:58
    
@alex it was a terse answer, but did you really miss the point that was made? Anyone can edit something for form and clarity - especially when a new user may not be aware of the amount of brevity or verbiage that is typical. –  bmike Jul 26 '13 at 13:33
    
@bmike This time I didn't actually catch the point. Maybe I'm not an average reader or close to it but if I don't understand an answer I ask about it which I believe is allowed according to the rules. :) –  Alex Jul 26 '13 at 14:57
    
Fair enough. It should be the OP that makes their intent clear and you did raise a constructive comment which should be commended - I apologize if my words didn't hit the mark correctly. –  bmike Jul 26 '13 at 16:47
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By member request, following is the answer found on the page my original answer links to:

In Safari or another browser app, touch and hold on a piece of text (a single word or letter is fine), then lift your finger off the screen. The word or letter will be selected and the familiar little pop-up that says "Copy | Define" appears. Touch "Define" and the screen that shows the word's definition or says it couldn't find a definition pops up. Now, do not touch anything else; not "Done", "Search the Web", or anything else. Now press the Home button (i.e., the one on the bottom portion of the front face panel of the iPhone with the square in it). You will be switched back to the springboard with all your app icons and from there can do anything else you want. Then, touch the browser icon for the browser you were in and you'll switch back into it. The definition screen covering the browser window will still be there. Touch "Done", and the screen drops away. Blessedly, the open browser window(s) will not reload.

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Take screen shots of what you want to read. You will then not have any reloading issues.

Of course, you'll have to fit all of the content of what you want to read on the screen.

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Compared to using instapaper, or mercury, this is a (to put it as nicely as possible) suboptimal answer. –  mrBitch Jul 19 '12 at 3:27
    
Not necessarily. Instapaper & friends require an online connection to up/download the content, a screenshot goes directly into your camera roll. Depending on your specific needs and your data plan this may be a preferable route. –  patrix Jul 20 '12 at 20:19
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Today I inadvertently discovered a way to stop this annoying behavior, even though it does not qualify as a real fix, it is a method of suppressing the behavior by taking a simple action every time prior to switching out from Safari or another browser. Not ideal, but it does give you control (finally) of the browser such that the behavior is suppressed. The link to the answer is here:

https://discussions.apple.com/message/25254749#25254749

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-1 Links are not answers. Please post the actual answer here, since your link may not always be valid. See the Provide context for links section of the FAQ –  Fake Name Mar 23 at 0:55
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