Bookmarklets are those little bookmarks you click to run mini “apps” in your web browser. You might have one that saves the current page to your Instapaper account, or one that launches a Google search focused only on the current site. Bookmarklets can translate highlighted text on a page, send something to your to-do list, or pretty much anything. On the Mac, installing a bookmarklet is easy. You just drag it to the bookmarks bar in Safari and you’re done. On iOS, though, it’s still a real pain.
So, bookmark this how-to (in the usual way), and have it handy for those times you need to install a bookmarklet on an iPhone or iPad.
Use a Mac
The easiest way to install a bookmarklet on your iOS device is to use a Mac. If you use iCloud to sync bookmarks between your devices, then you just drag the bookmarklet (or regular bookmark) to Safari’s bookmark bar on the Mac, and wait a few moments for it to appear on your iPad or iPhone. If you don’t have a Mac handy, things are a little more involved.
Install a bookmarklet on iOS Mobile Safari
Step 1. Create a bookmark
This part is easy. You just tap the Share Arrow on any web page, and give it a good name. “Save to Instapaper” is a good choice, or just “Instapaper” if you’re running out of space up there. Make sure to save it in your Favorites folder so it appears in the bookmarks bar on the iPad.
This should be provided on the web page. You have to tap the text box, then tap Select All, then tap Copy. It will look something like the screenshot above. Get the current code from the Instapaper page.
Step 3. Edit the bookmark you just created
This is the fiddly part. Tap the little Bookmarks icon in Safari, then tap Edit. Then find the bookmark you just saved in step 1, the one you named “Save to Instapaper,” or similar. Tap that bookmark, and you’ll see the screen in the image below.
Enjoy one-click action
That’s it. Anytime you want to save the current page to Instapaper, you just call up this bookmarklet and tap it. Some bookmarklets will require an extra step to get working — you need to be signed into your Instapaper account for this one to work, for example. Others, like the Google Translate bookmarklet, just work.
It’s still way easier to switch to a Mac to do this. Even iOS 11, with its system-wide drag-and-drop, doesn’t allow you to drag bookmarks to the bookmarks bar. Still, at least this method is fully-functional, despite being a bit of a pain.