Browsing the net on any device that has internet capabilities is nothing new, but not every web browser is equal, and same goes for device. A lot of people have been saying that the future of media consumption is mobile, and it is mostly right except for many use-cases where an iPad simply doesn’t work the same as a Mac or Windows computer.
The iPad is in a gray area when it comes to how it loads websites, some load it as a desktop would while other websites have been optimized to load their mobile versions on the iPad. Now, this isn’t normally a problem but sometimes you need to view the desktop version of a website. Thankfully Safari has some capabilities for this, but even then there’s no guarantee it will work. Enter the fix for this, and many other problems, iCab Mobile.
iCab Mobile is a web browser packed with features and workarounds that can tackle any issues you may have within other web browsers like Safari. From custom settings, modules, reader mode, and the ability to download files locally the power a browser like this has for the iPad is infinite.
Here are Four uses I come to iCab for regularly.
Videos on an iPad is nothing new, but when you are on the go with your device and not sure of the signal you will get or the wifi situation, it can be a hassle trying to get your videos to stream. This is where iCab comes in.
With a simple tap and hold on a video you can download it straight to your device and play it within iCab, which also allows you to have it play in Picture in Picture mode as well.
In my testing this works for nearly every type of HTML 5 player so Wistia, YouTube, and other native players on websites works with this.
Spoofing Device Network
As mentioned before, one thing that is an inconsistent issue is the fact that some websites treat iPads as mobile devices and shows the mobile version of their site, while other websites see it as a netbook/desktop version.
The times where you get the mobile version of the site but need the desktop version to get what you need to do done can be frustrating. Safari has this fixed in some instances where you can press and hold on the refresh page and request the desktop version of the site, but this only works some of the time.
the other times you are either out of luck and have to grab a laptop to get the task done, or you can use iCab and change the network settings to a plethora of options.
With this option you can change the device your iPad can be recognized as and voila you are set!
This might not be a frequent problem you have but it surely is one that can make you start ripping your hair out and solutions like this built right into the browser is a lifesaver.
A Better Share Sheet
Over the years, iOS has gotten better about allowing apps to share things to them, allowing tunnels and gateways to send information from one app to another with just a few taps, but there can be some issues with it.
The main problem is that sometimes the services you want them to go to aren’t readily accessible and you find yourself playing hide and seek to find the icon you need and checking every nook and cranny until it is found.
With iCab, this is no longer a problem as they have a custom share sheet that you get when tapping on the share icon. It gives you loads of options that may not be available in the standard share sheet. Things like a twin browser, and access to saving passwords are more accessible.
They also have a modules, allowing the most popular services like Pocket, Instapaper, and some not so known ones, to be just a tap away.
The inclusion of both of these options within the app make the standard share sheet almost obsolete, but if you do prefer it over these options you can just press and hold on the share icon and the regular share sheet will show without issue.
May people who use their iPad as their main computer find they have an external keyboard attached to their iPads to allow for faster typing and keyboard shortcuts. iCab Mobile has no shortage for keyboard shortcuts.
While these 4 things are what i use iCab for the most this app isn’t close to being done. Here are just a few short things that iCab offers that may fit your needs.
iCab is the only browser I have seen on the iPad that offers separate users, meaning you and another person can have their own username and settings that fit them. This also goes for bookmarks and quick start links per user.
While safari has its own reading list functionality, with the other services and tools this app provides it seems antiquated to revert to the Safari reading list.
When you want to have a video take the whole screen or just want a more minimal feeling with your browsing experience iCab has that covered as well. With a simple tap you can hide nearly all of the toolbars and still have the functionality of the most common options iCab offers.
Much like the Reading list, iCab also has a reading mode, which allows you to get rid of the clutter on a page and only have to worry about the media you want to consume. Safari has this as well, but like the reading list the options you have here are ten-fold more powerful. You can even have iCab read the text to you with Siri integration.
So if you find yourself frustrated by the limitation the iPad has on the web, or want something to increase you experience browsing online this app is for you!
iCab Mobile is developed by Alexander Clauss. If you do want to download this app you can do so here, the app has some in-app purchases but is at most $5.99 for the full upgrade, which is a steal for when you are in need of a quick fix.