Is there a way to hover over content in a web page when viewing it in Safari in the iPad? Specifically, I was trying to hover over the individual avatars at Ask Different iPad Contest home page. On a Mac or PC, it shows when the individual completed their level on hovering, but I couldn't get to see that in the iPad.

4 Answers 4


If only master yoda had an account here, he might say "tap or tap not, only jedi can hover" since the implementation details quickly delve into where web technology meets human interaction design.

enter image description here

Going down that rabbit hole a bit, he might also point that good web developers know about the TouchEvent class in Safari that can discern a touchstart multitouch event from a touchend/touchcancel/touchmove interaction and perhaps be used to provide additional feedback based on the idea that touching a target would have a visible effect on the web page's contents.

It's generally bad design to expect touch to mirror a mouse centric model, but that doesn't mean this particular site's design is wrong. Just think hard before assuming there's a simple way to design for touch than depends on simulated mouseover events.

  • 5
    The actual line is "Do, or do not. There is no try," so yours should be "Tap, or tap not. There is no hover." Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 21:42
  • But there is, because it's what Luke does to his crashed x-wing in the swamp ;)
    – stuffe
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 22:00
  • 1
    My first attempt to speak for yoda was full of fail - see the edit history... Maybe I need a picture of yoda to distract everyone from that...
    – bmike
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 22:02
  • Do you mean, in your second paragraph, that the touchstart event can be used as an alternative to hovering? Will that need be to done in JavaScript? Thanks!
    – Hippo
    Commented Apr 1, 2012 at 6:16
  • I don't understand this answer. Also, the question is about how to use Safari on an iPad, and the answer seems to give advice on web page design.
    – Kai Carver
    Commented May 14, 2014 at 21:59

A (very) brief tap on an image that has a link with a:hover property activates that a:hover experience. A longer tap follows the <a> link. Unfortunately, this behaviour is not seen with the <acronym> tag, which in desktop browsers act similar to :hover. Here is a less-than-perfect example, tested on iPhone.

  • This works, but unfortunately that often means that the interaction (tooltip or whatever) also only appears for a very brief time.
    – Calion
    Commented Apr 16, 2021 at 12:39

No, there’s no way of doing that on a touch device. There’s no way for your iPad to detect your finger is hovering over the its screen :) (Although technically this is perfectly possible, and it could in theory be added to a future iPad model.)

You could use JavaScript to show the title attribute values of the image links on http://thenewipadishere.com/ though:

[].forEach.call(document.images, function(element) {
  var span = document.createElement('span');
  span.innerText = element.title;
  element.parentNode.insertBefore(span, element);

In bookmarklet form:

javascript:[].forEach.call(document.images,function(b){var a=document.createElement("span");a.innerText=b.title;b.parentNode.insertBefore(a,b)});

Copy and paste that and add it as a bookmark on your iOS device of choice. Then, visit http://thenewipadishere.com/ and select the bookmark.

  • I'm unable to create a bookmark out of that, because it looks like I can only create bookmarks of open pages. But pasting the second form into the address bar works, and displays the title attributes!
    – Hippo
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 20:18
  • I guesss this script is not specific to the contest page, right?
    – Hippo
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 20:20
  • 1
    @Hippo Go to any page and add it as a bookmark. Then, go back in and edit the bookmark — you’ll be able to edit the URL now. I just wrote this script for the contest page, but it would work on any page that uses images with title attributes. Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 20:20
  • Ah, I see it now...the default bookmarks didn't have the URL editing option, so that confused me.
    – Hippo
    Commented Mar 31, 2012 at 20:22

Try Puffin web browser for the iPad. The cursor in the trackpad mode can hover. Also, you can watch flash video, and it's slow, but at least it's possible.

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