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More and more desktop websites these days use javascript to offer specific website functionality which is available when you right-click on something. Often the developers create something that looks like a menu, but could be anything.

If I'm browsing desktop websites on iOS Safari (mainly iPad, but sometimes iPhone), how do I perform a right-click to display this functionality?

For a simple example, visit https://swisnl.github.io/jQuery-contextMenu/demo.html and try to display the menu under the box which states "right click me". On a desktop it's pretty obvious, but I cannot work out how to trigger it on an iPhone or iPad.

I've tried tapping and holding but this either brings up the browser menu or the text selection tool. I've also tried double-tapping but that tends to zoom the page in and out.


Side note: If you do a Google search for this, you'll find many posts from people assuming that you want to right-click to access functionality that desktop browsers typically offer (such as back, forwards, reload, save as, view page source and inspect element). This is not the functionality I'm interested in accessing.

  • Can you add an example (URL) of such a website? – nohillside Feb 12 at 12:33
  • To be honest I tried to avoid giving a URL to prevent people from answering it purely for that website - however when you right-click in Google Maps you get a pop-up menu with the options: directions from here, directions to here, whats here?, search nearby, print, add a missing place, report a data problem and measure distance. There are lots of other sites which have specific right-click functionality. – Richard Feb 12 at 12:35
  • When using iOS Safari you usually get presented a page optimized for mobile usage, and the functionality which is on a right-click menu on the desktop is accessible by other means (if at all). For Google Maps there is even an app with dedicated functionality (and UI). So in a way a site which requires right-click functionality if accessed from a mobile browser is primarily a site done wrong... – nohillside Feb 12 at 12:48
  • @nohillside Maybe it's the websites I go to, but if I'm browsing on iOS Safari on my iPad then I usually get presented with the desktop page - and no way to access the right-click functionality, hence the question. – Richard Feb 12 at 13:01
  • That's why it would be helpful to have some sample URLs so others can check whether they have the same problem. And as mentioned: Google Maps is not an ideal example as "there is an app for that". .-) – nohillside Feb 12 at 13:18
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Since the original iPhone, mobile safari and iOS in general has multitouch and there is no concept of a single pointer. There can be up to 11 different point interactions that change in time, so the core problem is that web sites not designed for touch fail to deliver a good experience.

  1. There is no hover if you don’t have one pointer - so all the hover to show details falls flat
  2. There is no control / right shift / option / mofifier click to map to a pointer that doesn’t exist - so your use case simply fails to exist.

Some things do translate well:

  1. Mouse down event can be processed when multitouch shows a tap (finger down and no large movement)
  2. Mouse up event can be processed when multitouch shows a finger up (no more contact in the region of the initial touch or tracked moving touch)
  3. Multiple finger touch can sometimes map as option click.

Sorry to say there simply isn’t a mouse or pointer on iOS, but that’s kind of the summary.

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