How to drag and drop bookmarklets to the iPad’s bookmarks bar

By

Bookmarklets IRL.
Bookmarklets IRL.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Every time I’ve written about bookmarklets, I’ve had to add a section on how to add them to Safari in iOS. On the Mac, you just drag them up to the bookmark bar, and you’re done. On iOS, the situation was so complex that I wrote a whole how-to just so I could link to that, instead of writing several paragraphs every time. But there is a way to drag and drop bookmarklets on iOS.

I’ve tested it on iOS 12 and iOS 13, and it’s amazing.

Bookmarklets?

Here’s how I described bookmarklets in that above-mentioned post:

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.

To add a bookmarklet in iOS required that you bookmark a page (any page), and then edit that bookmark’s address. You had to find the javascript code, and paste it into the address field, and then rename your bookmarklet manually. It was a nightmare.

How to drag and drop bookmarklets in mobile Safari

I discovered this new trick for adding bookmarklets to mobile Safari while testing to see if Apple finally added such a feature in iOS 13. But it turns out it works in iOS 12, too. To add a bookmarklet, just open up the Bookmarks side panel in Safari, tap until you’re in your Favorites folder, and drag the bookmarklet in.

That’s it! The Favorites folder is the folder used to populate the bookmarks bar. If you drag the bookmarklet in there, it instantly appears up in the bookmarks bar, ready to click. And as I said, it works in iOS 13 and iOS 12. Perhaps even earlier, but I haven’t tested it.

This is a fantastic trick. Enjoy it!