Using iOS 9’s Universal Links

If you don’t know, Universal Links allow a website and iOS app to be linked together so following a link opens up the app (with the right content) instead of the website. For example, following a link to a Vine video can open up straight in the Vine app; where the video looping experience is much better than the website.

Once they’re working again the iOS 9 universal links are quite useful, but can be quite jarring depending on the app. Matt Sephton from Apple reached out to me to share some tips to make them work better for you.

When you following a universal link to an app, you’ll notice the iOS status bar offers a link to open it in Safari:

iOS 9 Universal Link

Once tapped, any links will no longer jump straight to the app but load in the browser – effectively turning off Universal Links for that site.

If you later want to reactivate Universal Links for that site, you can long press a lintk and chose Open in [App Name]. It’ll then remember your preference.

iOS 9 Universal Link - open in app

Personally I think links to video sites like YouTube or Vine work best as Universal Links, whereas the overhead of loading a whole app (especially if it’s not already open in the device’s memory) seems a little heavy for news based apps.