Over the last few years, you’ve probably heard a lot about Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) and the various benefits they bring. For those who haven’t, a PWA is essentially in other words, it’s a downloadable website. Because of this, PWAs can be great tools for low-end computers or phones since you usually don’t need a lot of capacity to run them. Most of the web is designed to run well on just about any platform. However, installing a PWA can be a confusing process and looks quite different from one device to another. As such, I put together this handy guide to help you figure out how to install a PWA on your Android smartphone, iPhone or computer.
Which browsers support PWA ?
In Android devices, PWA currently works on Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Edge, Brave, Samsung Internet browsers etc.
In iOS devices, PWA currently works only on Safari Browsers. Other browsers like Chrome for iOS, Firefox Focus for iOS, Dolphin Ghostery, Opera Mini and Adblock Browser won't support PWA at this moment.
You can check out whether your browser supports PWA on ‘Can I Use’ website that specializes in listing the implementation of various web and browser technology by browser version.
PWA on Android
Follow these steps to install and run your PWA on Android device.
Visit the unitechi.com in Chrome.
Once there, tap the three-dot overflow menu in the top-right corner and then select ‘Add to home screen.’
During installation, you can see the Details
Then click the button - open
Once done, you’ve installed the PWA.
After you see a confirmation that Android added the shortcut to the home screen, open the app like any other app installed from a store. You can uninstall it like any other Android app.
PWA on iOS
Follow these steps to install and run your PWA on iOS device.
Visit the unitechi.com in Safari.
Tap the Share button. The share menu opens.
Tap Add to home screen. The confirmation screen opens.
In the confirmation screen, tap Add.
Confirm adding to iPhone home screen
Your app should now be on the home screen. You can uninstall it like any other iOS app.
Interestingly, iOS will automatically remove PWA files if the user doesn’t open them for a few weeks. The icon will remain on the home screen and when you open the PWA, iOS will re-download all the files again.
PWA on Computer Desktop
If you want to install a PWA on a desktop, your best options are Google Chrome or the new Microsoft Edge. Both browsers offer built-in PWA installation systems, which we’ll cover below. Let’s start with Chrome. On desktop, Google Chrome will display a ⨁ symbol on the right side of the address bar next to the bookmark button when you visit a site that supports PWA. Clicking the button will prompt you to install the PWA.
In the screenshots, I installed Unitechi’s PWA using Chrome on a Linux desktop. Once installed, Unitechi acts like a native app even though I’m effectively just using the Unitechi website.
Chrome also includes an option to ‘install’ a website as a PWA accessible by clicking the three-dot menu button in the top right corner and selecting the install option from the menu.
Microsoft’s Edge browser handles PWAs very similarly.
Your app should now be on the home screen. You can uninstall it like any other app.
As the technology continues to evolve, I expect the ways to install PWAs may change. Further, more browsers will support PWAs.
Everyone's talking about PWAs, but now you know how to use it.