Add a Website to Your iPhone Home Screen

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One such feature is the ability to add a website shortcut to the Home screen. First, launch Safari and navigate to the website you would like to access from the Home screen. Tap on the Share button and then tap Add to Home Screen.

Safari Share Sheet Add to Home Screen

You can edit the name of the site, but not the URL. Pick a short name so you can easily see it on the Home Screen icon. Home Screen icons can show 10 to 12 characters of text, depending on the width of certain characters. Remaining characters are replaced with ellipses (…).

Safari Add to Home Screen Edit

Now that your icon has a place on the Home Screen, it takes on many of the same behaviors as an app. Tapping on the icon will launch Safari and bring up the desired web page. You can even search for the web app icon using Spotlight.

Home Screen Icon in Spotlight

How to Add a Website to Your iPhone Home Screen Using Chrome

Google’s Chrome browser is actually better than Safari for most tasks. Although they are forced to use Apple’s WebKit rendering engine, I find Chrome to be a little more stable than Safari. I get the impression that Apple doesn’t dedicate a lot of resources to Safari development. As we examined earlier, Apple doesn’t endeavor to support the web, and it shows. They also won’t permit developers to use any web rendering engine other than WebKit. Every browser in the App Store must have Safari “guts”.

Apple imposes other limitations on Chrome. Users cannot directly create a Home Screen icon that launches Chrome with a predetermined URL. Only Safari can do this, however, there’s a neat trick that can work around this limitation.

First, launch Chrome and navigate to the page you wish to use for your Home Screen icon. Copy the URL from the address bar by selecting the text and tapping on Copy.

Chrome with URL Highlighted Popup Menu

Next, open a text editor, such as Notes, and paste the URL. Edit the URL so it looks like the following:

googlechrome://www.weather.gov

Replace www.weather.gov (or your website of choice) with the URL you copied. Make sure to leave off the protocol (http, https). It needs to look just like the URL above, with your preferred web address. Now copy this URL.

Open in Chrome URL Notes

Next, open the App Store and search for “App Icons”. This app lets you create app icons for your Home Screen. Tap on Get to install the app.

App Icons App Store Get

After it is installed, tap on Open.

App Icons App Store Open

Paste the text you created in the previous step into the address field and tap Next.

App Icons Paste URL Tap Next

Edit the icon as you desire and then tap on Create.

App Icons Create Icon

The App Icons app will launch Safari.

App Icons Opens Safari Prompts Share Sheet

From there, you just use the standard method of adding a Home Screen icon.

App Icons Safari Share Sheet Add to Home Screen

Make sure to give your icon a familiar name. You won’t be able to rename it after it is created.

That’s it. When you tap on the icon, the web page will load in Google Chrome. (continue…)

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7 comments

  1. Excellent post! I followed your instructions and got exactly what I expected and wanted: one-click on a home screen icon to see a weather report for my area in Chrome on an iPhone. Apple sucks, but the phone was free to me so I’m doing the environmentally friendly thing by using it till it dies (or I can find someone to give it to). I miss Android.

    1. Yeah, I do the same. The weather.gov forecast is the best, but they don’t have an app. I don’t think they need one. Those kinds of apps are just wrappers around web services anyway. So I just have a shortcut to my pinpoint forecast.

  2. I can’t seem to get this to work with a url starting with https://.
    I did remove this part first before copying in to the icon setup.
    This is on an iphone xr.

    Any ideas gratefully received.

  3. This does not make sense. Eventually you still have to launch Safari to do it. It is better off just to launch the website in Safari in the first place, and then add to homescreen.

    1. Well, in 2021, Safari no longer supports my calendar website. So the hack is necessary in my case, and I suspect In many people’s cases.

      Unfortunately, it appears the app suggested by this article is nowhere to be found in the App Store. Bummer.

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