39

I keep ending up with a myriad of open tabs in Chrome. It is a pain to switch between them compared to switching between regular mac apps.

So I would like be able to

  • pin them to the task bar
  • identify them using their favicon (task bar / ⌘ + TAB)
  • always open them in a separate window

Just like it appears to be possible on windows: https://www.howtogeek.com/141431/how-to-turn-web-apps-into-first-class-desktop-citizens/

I am looking for a solution with Chrome. But if there's a solution with another browser I may even consider switching...

4
  • Check free OneTab Chrome extension. Probably it will help you. Jul 16, 2017 at 5:59
  • @DenisRasulev The app may come in handy in certain situations, but it doesn't really solve the OP. Thanks anyway! Jul 16, 2017 at 6:06
  • And did you see Fluid? Though it is not free... Jul 16, 2017 at 6:17
  • 2
    Has anyone find ways to do this with safari yet? I need safari because it's better integrated with Catalina's voice controls
    – chrismarx
    May 17, 2020 at 16:55

6 Answers 6

64

Found a great way on Chrome Version 75.0.3770.100:

  1. Go to the website you want to convert to an app

  2. Click on three dots / more tools / Create Shortcut + make sure to tick 'open in new window'

That's it - you now have an app that you can pin to your dock and you can cycle through them with cmd + tab. Awesome!

8
  • 3
    This is it! I don't have the "reputation" yet on this site to be able to vote, but this is the one. Mar 10, 2020 at 16:07
  • @DaveAbrahams Here, I've upvoted for you ;)
    – Omar Tariq
    Apr 10, 2020 at 8:50
  • 2
    Amazing, thank you! the only thing that bothered me was the pixelated icon, but that is easy to fix, download an icon you like (for example from www.iconarchive.com) and inside the generated app package contents replace file Contents/Resources/app.icns Jun 2, 2020 at 10:12
  • 1
    anybody know if there is a way to make chrome automatically launch links for this site as a window in the app? I set this up for google meets, which is great, but ideally I'd want google meets links I click in chrome to end up launching in the "app"
    – danielpops
    Jul 17, 2020 at 1:25
  • This is great because it also keeps all your Chrome extensions enabled. Love it! Nov 5, 2021 at 18:31
16

EASY, No software/installation required!


  • STEP 1: Simply navigate to the page you want to run/launch as a Web Application (e.g. https://www.gmail.com) using an existing or newly open Chrome tab/window.

  • STEP 2: Create the "Chrome Application" and OS level "shortcut"...

    1. Click on the hamburger/'three dots menu' button in the top far right of Chrome.

    2. Select 'More Tools ►'

    3. 'Add to Applications…' or 'Create Shortcut...' (has changed over time/versions)

    4. A small window will pop up - make changes to the Title as you like

    5. Check/Tick 'Open in (Separate) Window'


  • STEP 3: Using/Customizing Your "App"/ "Shortcut" / "Dock Icon":

    • The Shortcut should have been created in either (with the Finder automatically launching a new window open to the folder):

      1. the root of your "System Applications" folder (/Applications)... or...

      2. a subfolder for all Chrome Apps (probably /Applications/Chrome Apps)... or...

      3. the root of your "User Applications" folder (/Users/<your username>/Applications/Chrome Apps)

    • you will notice the .app extension on the folder name if you have enabled the "show extensions" setting for the Finder (Mac file explorer)

    • the "shortcut" itself acts like most other apps, i.e., Apps in MacOS (Since at least 2016) are actually special System FOLDERS...

    • however, by default when you CLICK on the folder in Finder (Mac's file explorer), it launches the app instead of actually entering/navigating into the folder.

    • to see the app's details, use RIGHT-CLICK > 'Show Package Contents' on the folder to enter/navigate/see its contents (e.g. <my app>/Content, <my app>/Content/Resources, etc.)

    • you can modify these subfolders to customize your App/Shortcut (i.e change the icon, customize the launch by modifying profiles, or opening with special (command-line) flags, etc..)

    • Move, copy, and use the shortcut anyway you'd like, using it like any other icon/shortcut on the desktop or Mac Dock

    • When using it in the dock, it should use its own "running indicator" separate from any other Chrome Apps or Chrome itself. However, it will still appear as a running window in the actual Chrome App Dock Icon.


NOTE: Since (at least) 2021-12-06, the following steps are unnecessary.

The following are included just to be thorough/complete, for backward compatibility, and for Troubleshooting purposes.

OPTIONAL STEPS / TROUBLESHOOTING:
(the following were needed on an earlier Chrome version, when these features/flags were not part of the stable build):

  1. (Re)Enable Chrome's feature to create OS level** [shortcuts to] "applications"

    • type chrome://flags in Chrome’s address bar.

    • find the following settings:

      1. The new bookmark app system

      2. Allow hosted apps to be opened in windows

      3. Creation of app shims for hosted apps on Mac

      4. Quit notification for hosted apps

    • Change/set these flag settings so that look like this (screenshot):

    enter image description here

  2. Restart Chrome

14
  • 1
    Didn't understand how to "Restart the Chrome (in the bottom of the page)". Also, the two folders you have specified in EITHER-OR are the same. Your solution worked for me so thanks. Jan 16, 2019 at 4:43
  • 2
    This is awesome!
    – Danny G
    Jan 20, 2019 at 18:49
  • @CodePro_NotYet I think I fixed it to make sense now. let me know. thx Feb 1, 2019 at 21:29
  • Absolutely awesome. Step 3 was more easy for me as Chrome opened the folder for me in Finder by itself, and I could easily drag the App to the Dock. Also, CMD+Q OR CMD+W will work separately in the App itself without effecting the whole Chrome.
    – Rehmat
    Feb 23, 2019 at 6:28
  • 5
    It seems that most of the guidance here is now stale; the answer from @Pyotr-Li now succinctly describes the solution. Jul 19, 2019 at 13:06
5

Just found an awesome and apparently free solution: https://applicationize.me

It creates a chrome extension for your webapp, which enables you to launch the webapp just like a desktop app.

1
  • 1
    doesnt work on macOS high sierra anymore. Apr 4, 2018 at 20:38
5

It's WebKit rather than Chrome/Blink based, but Fluid is another way to achieve this.

Fluid

Turn any website into a real Mac app with Fluid


Web applications like Gmail, Facebook, Campfire and Pandora are becoming more and more like desktop applications every day. Running each of these web apps in a separate tab in your browser can be a real pain.

Fluid lets you create a Real Mac App (or "Fluid App") out of any website or web application, effectively turning your favorite web apps into OS X desktop apps.

https://fluidapp.com

3

This whole thread isn't up to date anymore. Google Chrome now supports this feature naturally:

  • Go to the website you want as an app
  • Just click the 3 dots > More Tools > Create shortcut..
  • then check Open as window and press "Create"

A finder window will pop up and show you the created .app file and opens it at once.

Bonus

You can change icons with command + i and just drag and drop a picture in .icns format.

5
  • apple.stackexchange.com/a/363381/313842 Answered by Pytor Li. apple.stackexchange.com/a/329655/313842 Answered by Flak DiNenno. Please edit them to add more details if you wish. New answers should contain better info than others.
    – anki
    Dec 6, 2019 at 15:48
  • Sorry I don't understand your answer. What should I edit? There are every information one needs. Nothing more. Nothing less... This thread is the first thing that shows up and the answer is outdated. Can I flag this in some way? This thread provides outdated information and no value anymore. Why downvote the only correct answer?
    – Matthi _
    Dec 7, 2019 at 23:13
  • The accepted answer might be outdated, but the other answers are still better. They contain what you just wrote. You just repeated those answers. Need examples? click on the links I gave or scroll up or down to find them. Now, you’ll see an edit button below those 2 answers. If you wish, use it and update the answers slightly. Please see tour also for a quick intro to how this site works.
    – anki
    Dec 8, 2019 at 5:53
  • Best answer, thanks! Mar 12, 2021 at 10:43
  • “A finder window will pop up“—Nope.
    – 2540625
    Mar 12 at 4:05
0

This is called progressive web apps. If the application has a relevant manifest.json file added while bundling then Chrome detects it and prompts if you want to install the web app as a shortcut to your OS which has a similar user experience to a native app. You can go to web.dev from your chrome browser to see how end result is.

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