Popular Browsers For The iPhone
Browsing the net on the move is one of the most common uses of the iPhone and to do that you need a web browser that’s up to the mark. The stock iOS browser, though capable of rendering most websites beautifully on the device’s small screen, it does fall short in several areas. All the browsers listed below attempt to address one or more of these issues and are popular for that very reason.
- SkyFire – The app that the world uses to gain access to flash based videos across the web. Safari does not natively support watching videos online and the iPhone’s video access is limited only to YouTube. Though the app is advertised as being primarily targeted to view videos on the web, many users wrongly assume that it can handle flash games and animations. Sites like South Park and Justin TV, which stream episodes through Flash work flawlessly in SkyFire. The browser works by rendering a requested website on a proprietary server and delivering the content to the user’s device. Currently available for Android and iOS.
- Opera Mini – This free browser claims to speed up your net browsing experience by as much as six times. It achieves this by compressing the website’s data on the Opera server and then downloading that compressed data to the users device. The pre-processing increases compatibility with web pages not designed for mobile phones. This also reduces the amount of data transmitted to phones thereby reducing data charges. This is especially useful while on data roaming and on crowded mobile networks. In November 2011, Opera reported 144.6 million unique Opera Mini active users and 88.5 billion page views served during that month. The latest version also features a speed dial feature allowing one click access to your most frequently visited websites and also tabbed browsing.
- Atomic Web Browser Full Screen – This paid ($0.99) browser aims to simplify the layout of the iPhone browsing experience. It incorporates tabbed browsing to easily switch between windows and it works well, even on the iPhone’s small screen. It also features several full browser features like AdBlock, multi touch gestures, downloads and much more. It features a full screen mode with fully customizable buttons for 30 features. Multiple downloads are also supported along with the ability to download a specific image from a page. Atomic Web Browser boasts excellent full screen reading mode that minimizes navigational clutter, user agent switching, built-in Adblock, Facebook and Twitter integration, support for any search engine you care to throw at it, rotation lock, offline page viewing, adjustable fonts, bookmarks with folder support, automatic tab restoration, image block, a large library of bookmark scripts, source viewing, and the ability to assign your own multi-touch gestures.
- Mercury Web Browser – One of the most advanced browsers for the iOS, downloading, printing, fullscreen browsing, file sharing, adblock, tabs, multi touch gestures, user agent switcher, private browsing, passcode lock, save page, Facebook/Twitter integration and a lot more. It also supports Firefox bookmarks sync and can save files to your Dropbox account. Aside from maximizing the screen for browsing, Mercury also makes the address bar disappear to allow a full display. the Settings menu shows you Bookmarks in springboard-style icons, a history list condensed by date, a download list, and often-desired Private Browsing that disables cookies and history.
- Cloud Browse – Nominated for About.com’s best iPad browsers of 2012, this browser brings a remote Firefox browsing session to your iOS device. By anonymously rendering a webpage on a server, it can deliver full access to flash and Java based content on your iPhone. You have full multitouch pinch capabilities to zoom in and out of sites as well as flick scrolling as you would with mobile Safari. The only difference is you now have that coveted access to flash enabled sites to view animation and play games. Though the interface is not among the best around, it is offset by the fact that brings a true desktop browsing experience to the mobile.
- Dolphin Browser – Developed for Android and iOS by MotoTap, this free app was among the most downloaded in 2011. Dolphin HD uses the Webkit engine and the native platform rendering capabilities, which allows for a small disk footprint. It is capable of running Adobe Flash, but it can have problems with video streaming. Dolphin Browser also comes pre-programmed with Gestures for many popular websites. Ex: Draw a “T” with your finger to visit Twitter.com or an “F” for Facebook.com. Featuring Webzine, an innovative way to keep up with your favorite news, blogs and feeds in addition to One Click share to Twitter and Facebook and tabbed browsing, this is one browser that packs a lot into a small package.
- Photon Browser – Photon Browser is a browser that is designed for the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch. It is also a powerful browser that supports Flash player for iPad and the browsing of Flash websites by streaming these sites from servers in the cloud. It does this by streaming a remote desktop session from a computer that runs Flash to your iPhone. Needless to say, this can sometimes be a little slow or cause some interface problems but works on the whole. Other minor problems include video pixilation increasing, however, the audio stays in sync.
- Offline Pages Pro – This app comes in handy for those who are on the road often, typically out of the reach of a WiFi network and beyond the fringes of the 3G signal. It allows you to save individual web pages and even entire websites for viewing later. Sites are saved with all the formatting and images intact. Plus, it even works with sites that require you to log in. The present version automatically detects multi page articles and loads all pages when asked to save. You can even force the app to update the saved copy when a network connection is available and even set up auto updates. You can add pages to be saved from the app, MobileSafari, and any other browser. In the app, you just press the button. You save it from MobileSafari using the bookmarklet (which is paired to your device) and from a bookmarklet in any browser which is paired to either your Offline Pages account or app.
- iCab Mobile – The mobile version of the Mac based browser is optimized for both the iPhone and iPad. It attempts to bring a more desktop-like browsing experience to the iPhone bringing in many features of the OS X browser in. Highlights include in-page searching, full screen mode, ad blocking via filters, desktop style tabs and a download manager. iCab mobile gets around the file system limitation of iOS for downloads, using a built-in download manager with hooks into Dropbox. This means that you can download any type of file and upload it to your Dropbox, right from the browser. It also includes password protected access and guest access to the browser for more privacy.
- Perfect Browser – Extraordinary Browser – Don’t be misled by the ‘screaming’ app name. This app has quite a few nifty tricks up its sleeves. It supports unlimited tabs and can load and render all tabs simultaneously, so you don’t waste time for the content of a previously unopened tab to load. You can even choose which browser’s rendering engine to mimic.
You can pick from Firefox, Chrome, Opera or Safari. It also features automated smooth scrolling and can even channel the present, full screen view to a TV or other external display using HDMI and AirPlay.