The goal of this document is to describe the current availability of native app social interactions on major mobile operating systems and social media apps. You can use this information to determine which URLs your mobile/tablet website should use for different mobile OS's and apps to help your users interact effectively. Note that this is a living document with the last tested app/website/OS versions specified, so please file an issue or submit a pull request with any new findings!
To open an app directly from a website, you can use native URL schemes. You may be familiar with the
mailto scheme which launches an email client on the user's device via a url like
mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, but may not know that this concept also extends to third-party apps.
By using native URL schemes, you can make social sharing links on mobile and tablet devices open directly into specific views within apps. For example, this url would open the native Twitter app to a profile page on iOS and Android:
This approach is the most direct way to deliver a user to a native app, but it comes at the price of a potential alert on iOS, a 404 page on Android, or a prompt to search for an app on Windows Phone 8 if the user doesn't have the app.On the leftabove are the results of a user clicking on a native link without having the corresponding native app installed:
Android has a concept called intents where apps register what types of URLs they can respond to, and whenever a user requests a resource that matches one of the intents, the app is listed among other apps for the user to open.
To the left is the result of clicking on a link with the
mailto URL scheme on a Samsung Galaxy S3.
As a developer this is helpful, because you can use regular
http:// web URLs for social media apps that support http URL intents and allow the user to choose between opening the link via a browser or app. It also gracefully degrades to going directly to the website if the user doesn't have a particular app installed, eliminating the problem of potential error pages when using native URLs.
|Mobile Website||iOS smart banners||Mobile site auto redirects to app||Mobile site prompts users to open app|
|m.facebook.com - 1/26/14|
|m.twitter.com - 1/26/14||Prompts user to install|
|touch.www.linkedin.com - 1/26/14||Prompts user to install|
|m.pinterest.com - 1/26/14||After user agrees to open web links within app||Prompts user to open links with app in future|
|tumblr.com - 1/26/14||Prompts user to install or open|
|instagram.com - 1/26/14||Prompts user to install or open|
|Android Messaging(Android < 4.4)|
|Google Hangouts(Android 4.4)|
|iOS Messages(iOS 7.0.4)|
|Platform/App||Recipient||Subject||Body||HTML allowed in body|
|iOS 7.0.4 Mail|
|Android - Gmail 4.7.2|
|Android - Y! Mail 22.214.171.1241742|