iOS 11 Safari converts Google’s AMP garbage back to original URLs when shared

iOS 11 Safari converts Google’s AMP garbage back to original URLs when shared
August 24 12:08 2017

MacStories founder and editor-in-chief Federico Viticci has discovered an awesome little new feature in iOS 11’s Safari which automatically converts Google’s cryptic accelerated mobile pages (AMP) links back to the canonical URLs.

When an AMP version of the webpage is shared to iMessage or Reading List, Safari on iPhone or iPad “automatically removes AMP’s crap from the URL,” he wrote on Twitter.

Google created the AMP standard in October 2105 with the goal of speeding up loading times and improving the web browsing experience for mobile users. Not unlike Facebook’s Instant Articles, AMPs are hosted on Google servers and load in a fraction of the time it takes a normal webpage to load on mobile.

Still, people have criticized Google’s implementation of the feature. When you click an AMP link in your search results, the article appears instantly but its URL in the browser’s address bar points to an AMP URL on the Google domain.

Getting to a page’s non-AMP version is a multi-tap affair.

To load the original non-AMP webpage, you must tap a hyperlink icon in Google’s obtrusive bar at the top, which reveals the canonical URL that you can tap to load the original page. Not a very good experience, as evidenced by the screenshots.

With Safari on iOS 11, sharing a webpage will strip the AMP garbage so that you always get the URL that points to the original article. I’ve tested this feature in Safari on my iPhone 6s with iOS 11 and can happily confirm that it works just as Viticci described.

Thankfully, iOS 11’s Safari takes care of the AMP → original URL conversion when sharing.

In fact, the conversion takes place when sharing a webpage to almost any app or service. For instance, bookmarking a page in Safari saves it along with the canonical URL. I also tried sharing an AMP link to Messages, WhatsApp and Slack (see above) and it worked like a charm—the browser automatically stripped the AMP stuff and shared the canonical URL.

This doesn’t always work when AMPs are shared to services like Apple’s Note.

My only gripe is sharing to Notes, because that wouldn’t automatically convert the URL, leaving me with a note containing an AMP link. I would chalk that up to the iOS 11 beta and fully expect those kinks to be worked out before iOS 11 releases for public consumption.

How do you like this great little tidbit in Safari?

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