Alternative browsers for iOS

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Thanks, I have managed to replace the favicon.ico image, which displays correctly in the tabs of my laptop browser (Firefox 22.0) but I am struggling with my iPad browser (Mercury Browser 7.4.1).
I don't have that one (is it good? Can it hide or replace the user agent string? Can it be given a default home page URL?). In Safari, adding a home page link picks up the latest version of the favicon.
 

Brian

Administrator
Staff member
I don't have that one (is it good?
In my opinion it is the best browser that I have tried on the iPad, it has a very useful Speed Dial facility, can synchronise bookmarks with Firefox or Chrome, has a built in Ad Block feature, plus many other features. I have the paid Pro version (£0.69), but there is a free version also.
Can it hide or replace the user agent string?
Is this the sort of thing that you mean?
Desktop Mode
Mercury can spoof the UserAgent string to trick web sites into thinking the browser is a desktop browser.
Can it be given a default home page URL?). In Safari, adding a home page link picks up the latest version of the favicon.
It has a home page button that you can enter your own URL in the settings.

Have a look at Mercury Browser for yourself, and see what you think.
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Have a look at Mercury Browser for yourself, and see what you think.
I have looked at various browsers at various times, but the reviews always seem inconclusive. By your report and recommendation, this one seems to tick all the boxes so I will have a look, yes. Thanks. It is regrettable that the iPad automatically opens Safari for web content, a reason I have tried to get on with it rather than use something else.
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Yes, I do like the Mercury browser, I have it running with the Chrome user agent so now I can have WYSIWYG post editing!

One problem though: it doesn't seem to want to play embedded YouTube videos whereas Safari does. It could be that the user agent is involved in that, if the embedded video is being served as Flash unless an Apple device is detected. Also, touch screen support is not so good on the non-mobile versions of sites, even if some of the functionality is not available on the mobile versions! What it needs is dynamic user agent switching.

I have suggested posts 65, 66, 68, and now 69 are broken off into an 'Arms topic "Alternative browsers for iOS", but nothing seems to have happened yet.
 

Brian

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, I do like the Mercury browser, I have it running with the Chrome user agent so now I can have WYSIWYG post editing!

One problem though: it doesn't seem to want to play embedded YouTube videos whereas Safari does. It could be that the user agent is involved in that, if the embedded video is being served as Flash unless an Apple device is detected. Also, touch screen support is not so good on the non-mobile versions of sites, even if some of the functionality is not available on the mobile versions! What it needs is dynamic user agent switching.

I have suggested posts 65, 66, 68, and now 69 are broken off into an 'Arms topic "Alternative browsers for iOS", but nothing seems to have happened yet.
I have just played an embedded YouTube video in THIS POST, and it works OK for me using the Mobile Mercury(iPad) user agent.
I have recently got home from work, and moved these posts as suggested.

Edit: The embedded video also plays OK for me with the Chrome user agent.
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Yes, I worked that out after posting :oops:

With the web sites not detecting the iPad and not serving the mobile version (as is my preference), they serve Flash video which just sits there doing nothing.
 

Mike2

Scrat
It is regrettable that the iPad automatically opens Safari for web content, a reason I have tried to get on with it rather than use something else.

Have you tried this? No idea what it does as I don't use iOS apart from my bedside clock:

"iOS does not provide the option to customize default web browser. At this moment, you can install “Mercury Bookmarklet” into Safari to open links with Mercury from Safari. Please follow the steps to install “Mercury Bookmarklet” into Safari:
1. Launch Mercury
2. Go to settings screen
3. For iPhone, tap “Bookmark Options” and then tap “Install Mercury Bookmarklet” and follow the instructions. For iPad, tap “Functions” on left panel and then tap “Install Mercury Bookmarklet” and follow the instructions."
 

Wallace

Traveler 34122
Or you could jailbreak your iDevice, then install BrowserChooser, selecting your browser of choice to be the default.

However, JB is not really an option if you are using iOS v6.1.3 > as Apple have 'plugged the holes', so to speak.
 

Mike2

Scrat
Or you could jailbreak your iDevice, then install BrowserChooser, selecting your browser of choice to be the default.

However, JB is not really an option if you are using iOS v6.1.3 > as Apple have 'plugged the holes', so to speak.

Apple don't like you to think different, do they?:D
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
Have you tried this? No idea what it does as I don't use iOS apart from my bedside clock:

<snip>
Yes I have installed it. What it does is create a bookmark in Safari that is actually some JavaScript (or something) which executes when you select the bookmark, that causes Mercury to open with the current URL in its address bar. Basically the hot link (from an email or whatever) still opens Safari, but you can then manually divert it to Mercury by clicking the bookmark. Safari remains open in memory until you double-home and kill it.
 

Mike2

Scrat
Yes I have installed it. What it does is create a bookmark in Safari that is actually some JavaScript (or something) which executes when you select the bookmark, that causes Mercury to open with the current URL in its address bar. Basically the hot link (from an email or whatever) still opens Safari, but you can then manually divert it to Mercury by clicking the bookmark. Safari remains open in memory until you double-home and kill it.

I read somewhere that all the iOS browsers are required to use the Safari engine to render things. Also that Safari proper has access to extra code not available to other browser writers on iOS that speeds Safari up relative to the others. It could be invented, but sounds like Apple to me.
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
It's true that both Safari and Chrome render pages in exactly the same way, I had suspected they were using the same engine. It's the selectable user agent which makes Mercury valuable for me.
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
This is the bookmark which makes Safari open a Mercury session for a URL:
Code:
javascript:window.location='merc://'+escape(window.location)
I am finding that many of my usual web sites don't play very nicely with the iPad when getting the Chrome user agent, but some sites are too restrictive with the iPad Safari user agent (eg Gmail - you can't use email groups in an address). I guess I could use a similar JavaScript trick to send things back to Safari when I need to, even built into my Dropbox homepage (see HERE).

Alternatively, can anyone suggest how a JavaScript trick could make Mercury serve a different user agent selectively?
 
OP
Black Hole

Black Hole

May contain traces of nut
I have gone back to Safari, partly because Safari opens anyway when clicking a link elsewhere (eg email), but also because the touch screen interface needs the mobile version of a web site to work properly.

Mercury is useful for being able to spoof the user agent, and in the case of web sites which are better used non-mobile I will continue to use it, but until it can assign a user agent dynamically according to which web site is being accessed, it will not be my default browser.
 

4ndy

Forum Supporter
I am 10 days into the iPad experience.(mini)

I have been trying Mercury browser, but have found that it does not work too well with the customised firmware. I find the menu block from clicking the +opt icon has some options on top of others.

Is anyone else seeing this?
 

Brian

Administrator
Staff member
I have been using Mercury browser for quite a few months, and find it to be excellent with the custom firmware, and have not experienced the problem that you have described.
 

4ndy

Forum Supporter
Maybe it's just an issue on the ipad mini.

Sent from my GT-I9505 using Tapatalk 4 Beta
 

4ndy

Forum Supporter
Not tried chrome. But safari is ok, iCabmobile is also ok.

Shame because I like mercury.

I did have a problem connecting to webif earlier, so there is a chance that it might work better after a reboot later.
 
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