I browse using Safari on my iPad. I find an interesting web page. I save a link to the page via “Add to Home screen”. Nice icon, all seems well.

Later, I “click” the icon. The page opens in the browser, but it does not have the address bar, the other tabs and the standard buttons. This is very annoying ...

How do I stop this behaviour, either when saving the link or when opening the link?

  • Not really. It seems to cover one of the problems resulting from this invalid behaviour, but is not really about stopping the initial behaviour. This question is more about creating a safe icon for a “normal” website.
    – IanH
    Mar 21, 2020 at 13:50
  • Is there a statement somewhere that explains why some websites act as PWA when they are just plain websites and apparently not coded as a PWA.
    – IanH
    Mar 22, 2020 at 8:48
  • PWA is a functionality of the Website, Add to Home one of iOS. So iOS can‘t know whether the site actually is a webapp, it just creates a way to call it as such.
    – nohillside
    Mar 22, 2020 at 9:04

1 Answer 1


The idea of "Add to Home screen" is to create an app-like experience for web apps, so this will not give a full browswer.

But there is an alternative: Use the Shortcuts app with an "Open URL" action and add the shortcut to your home screen.

  1. Launch the Shortcuts app
  2. Select "Create Shortcut"
  3. Select "Add Action"
  4. Select "Web", scroll down to the Safari section and select "Open URLs"
  5. Tap on the "URL" placeholder and write your URL instead

    Newly created shortcut

  6. Tap on the three dots on top right, assign a name and select "Add to Home Screen"

  • Thanks for that, I had not experimented with the Shortcut app before. The sequence is rather longwinded and has a fixed icon, but it does work on the website that saved as a bad home screen icon, so it will be useful in those cases.
    – IanH
    Mar 22, 2020 at 8:44
  • @IanH you can change the icon by tapping it on the same sheet you define the name. You can‘t change it to the favicon of the site though.
    – nohillside
    Mar 22, 2020 at 9:02

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