How to disable iOS 13’s link previews

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Link previews
The iPad version has a toggle directly over the preview image.
Photo: Cult of Mac

In iPadOS and iOS 13, long-pressing a link does two things simultaneously. It brings up a contextual menu with options for sharing and so on, and it loads a preview of the linked web page. Apple calls this a link preview.

But what if you don’t want a link preview? Maybe you’re on a cellular connection and you don’t want to waste data by loading pages you won’t read. Or maybe you only need the link, and never want to see the page. What if it’s a link to a huge image, or an MP3? Or perhaps it’s a link in an email, and you want to use the contextual menu to check the URL for scams. In this last case, there’s no way you want that link to load. It could prove disastrous.

The good news is that you can disable link previews in iOS 13 with a single tap.

Hide link previews in iOS 13

Unlike 99% of iOS how-to tips, this one doesn’t require a visit to the Settings app. All you need to do is find a link. Here’s one.

Just long-press or 3D Touch that link, and you’ll see something like this:

Let’s be honest here. That is a beautiful preview.
Let’s be honest here. That is a beautiful preview.
Photo: Cult of Mac

That’s the default link-preview panel. Look at the bottom of the contextual menu, and you’ll see an entry reading Hide Link Previews. Tap that. Then, the next time you long-press a link, you will see something like this:

Disable link previews for preview-free links!
Disable link previews for preview-free links!
Photo: Cult of Mac

Much better, right? Not only is it cleaner, it loads faster. Although, to the credit of the Apple programmer who designed link previews, the menus already load fast — the only thing you have to wait for is for the web page itself to download and render. Unlike the Mac’s ridiculously sluggish dictionary popup.

To re-enable link previews, just do the same thing again. The text on the menu button will have changed to Show Link Previews, but it’s in the same place. Easy.