iPad Pro Limitations of mobile Safari is frustrating

xsdeus

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 24, 2012
150
66
San Diego, CA
I'm mainly talking about the iPad Pro 12.9 inch, but this can apply to other iPads as well.

I love the iPad Pro 12.9 inch as a consumption device.
I web browse mainly in vertical orientation, as I'm able to view a lot of content at once without the fonts being too small to read.

That said, there are some limitations of mobile Safari that make it frustrating to use as a full-fledged Internet Browser. I'm not talking about the lack of Adobe Flash.

For some reason, there are lots of websites with reduced or omitted functionality when compared to the their desktop/laptop counterparts.

1. Codecademy
- Purchased Codecademy Pro to learn SQL, but the lesson pages weren't responding properly to inputs.

2. Virgin America
- Tried to access the Refer-a-Friend page, and it didn't work properly

There are other examples, but the two above are the ones I can currently think of properly.

I'm not an engineer, so I honestly don't know if the aforementioned problem is due to the lack of Flash, or if it's because of something else. But I prefer using Safari for most things to using their App counterparts, and the disparity between the mobile and desktop versions of Safari are starting to really frustrate me.

I really wish that iOS 10 brings about a change to mobile Safari. It will make the iPads that much more attractive as a true laptop replacement.
 

tonyp145

macrumors newbie
Apr 18, 2016
11
15
Kent, WA
I'm not familiar with those sites, but I'd be willing to bet they are using Flash. It's a very popular development platform and it's just idiotic that Apple refuses to support it in iOS. I think I heard it was about a grudge Steve Jobs held against Adobe. I doubt there's any technical reason they couldn't support it, it runs on Mac, Windows and Android devices just fine. Let's hope they finally patch that hole in iOS 10!
 
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Hal~9000

macrumors 68020
Sep 13, 2014
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Limitations of mobile Safari is frustrating
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I've encountered that myself on a select few sites as well (it's been rare / long enough ago that I can't even remember which sites they were)... just one of those things about iOS Safari you gotta live with.
 
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artfossil

macrumors 65816
Oct 5, 2015
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Florida
To me, those two examples of difficulties are on the vendors, not on the iOS.

Well-designed websites have an option to access the full site and/or are fully usable on iOS and/or provide an iOS app. I don't use vendors whose websites are not iOS friendly. If they want my business, they will design for my platform of choice. I currently don't have any websites I can't use on my iPad.

That said, make sure that if you are using an ad blocker that you disable it if you're having problems with a site as that can cause site features to not display properly.
 

xsdeus

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 24, 2012
150
66
San Diego, CA
¯\_(ツ)_/¯

I've encountered that myself on a select few sites as well (it's been rare / long enough ago that I can't even remember which sites they were)... just one of those things about iOS Safari you gotta live with.
I agree with you on this. I can get by enough with the iPad Pro to completely do away with OS X (sold my laptop), but some of these quirks honestly seem like quick fixes, and I don't even know what's holding back mobile Safari from having the same functionality/capability of the desktop version.
[doublepost=1461787444][/doublepost]
To me, those two examples of difficulties are on the vendors, not on the iOS.

Well-designed websites have an option to access the full site and/or are fully usable on iOS and/or provide an iOS app. I don't use vendors whose websites are not iOS friendly. If they want my business, they will design for my platform of choice. I currently don't have any websites I can't use on my iPad.

That said, make sure that if you are using an ad blocker that you disable it if you're having problems with a site as that can cause site features to not display properly.
I'm currently not using an ad blocker on the iPad. Also, while I do agree with you that it is partially a vendor problem, I think there are some things that Apple can implement in order to mitigate such differences between the two versions of Safari.
 

Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
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I'm not familiar with those sites, but I'd be willing to bet they are using Flash. It's a very popular development platform and it's just idiotic that Apple refuses to support it in iOS. I think I heard it was about a grudge Steve Jobs held against Adobe. I doubt there's any technical reason they couldn't support it, it runs on Mac, Windows and Android devices just fine. Let's hope they finally patch that hole in iOS 10!
It's not even Flash these days (I haven't run into one of those outside of Newgrounds and the like in ages). I'm seeing a lot of websites not properly testing, and winding up using JavaScript in ways that works on the desktop or their special browser the one poorly paid web guy likes, but not on mobile. And some of the differences that can cause these sorts of bugs are now part of the specification. So to address them, Apple would have break the specification.

Or you know, badly behaving pages could actually fix their bugs and not assume they don't need to test for mobile explicitly. These pages are very likely broken for more than just Mobile Safari.
 

Mascots

macrumors 68000
Sep 5, 2009
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I agree with Krev^

There are things Apple needs to improve in Mobile Safari, but the issues you experience explicitly fall onto the vendor and there's not too much overarching change that Apple could do that would fix those issues.
 
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Krevnik

macrumors 68040
Sep 8, 2003
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I'll add that the sites that force a mobile page on my iPad even when I ask for the desktop is just as terrible. Virgin America is most likely bugged, as their site actually works well outside the issues you have seen.

Mascots, I'm curious what areas you think Apple can improve on. I know there are areas that could use work to make things easier on web developers, but again this is an area where I'm not spending a ton of time.
 

brent12

macrumors member
Jun 24, 2013
39
13
I'm not familiar with those sites, but I'd be willing to bet they are using Flash. It's a very popular development platform and it's just idiotic that Apple refuses to support it in iOS. I think I heard it was about a grudge Steve Jobs held against Adobe. I doubt there's any technical reason they couldn't support it, it runs on Mac, Windows and Android devices just fine. Let's hope they finally patch that hole in iOS 10!
There seems to be a never ending stream of security issues found with Flash and that along with stability issues make me glad Flash does not run on iOS devices and I'm looking forward to the day it is not used on any sites. Flash was useful in the old days but with modern versions of HTML it is no longer necessary IMHO.

While the issue may be Flash on some sites they detect the browser is on a mobile device and present the page very differently and that may be the problem. Some sites give users the option to select the "full" site experience but some don't.
 

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
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If a web developer can't be bothered to make sure their code works on mobile iOS, one of the most popular and the most lucrative development platforms in existence, that's on them, not Apple. I mean in the first couple of years, I could understand, but it's been this way for nearly a decade now. It's just laziness now.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,906
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San Diego, CA, USA
... Flash. It's a very popular development platform and it's just idiotic that Apple refuses to support it in iOS. I think I heard it was about a grudge Steve Jobs held against Adobe. I doubt there's any technical reason they couldn't support it, it runs on Mac, Windows and Android devices just fine. Let's hope they finally patch that hole in iOS 10!
Wrong answer. Flash is quite literally one of the worst things ever to happen to the web (up there with early versions of IE, and spam), and I'm glad it's mostly gone. HomeStarRunner and StrongBad were the only good uses of Flash ever. It brought unpredictable interfaces that didn't act like the rest of the standards-based Internet, most of the normal niceties one could expect from HTML didn't work (view source? Nope. Link to a particular page on a site? Nope, it's all one big Flash app. Open some link on the site in a new window/tab? Nope, it's all one big Flash app. Copy and paste some text? Nope, all one big Flash app. Hover over a link to see what action it will take? Nope, only if the designer felt like adding in some hints. Blind and have a screen-reader? Too bad, it's all one big Flash app and none of the company's web developers were blind, so they didn't bother coding specially for that. Resize the window? Not if you want to see the content, because it's all... well you get the idea.) For a while so many idiot developers had coded with the notion that IE was the only web browser, that parts of the web were effectively PC-only - "Macs and other lesser computers need not apply". There was IE for the Mac, but it lagged far behind its PC sibling, because Microsoft didn't care about the Mac. Flash was well on its way to giving Adobe similar single-company single-focus control over the web. The Mac versions never ran anywhere near as well as the PC/Windows version that the (again, idiot) web developers were using, and there was zero support for Unix/Linux/etc. It again threatened to make the web (which was literally invented not on a Windows PC but on a Next computer, running Unix and NextStep) only useable on a PC running Windows.

I don't have Flash installed on my Mac, and I don't miss it (well, the former isn't quite the whole story - there's a copy baked into Google Chrome, but I rarely fire that up). Steve Jobs had a painful history of getting held back by lack of caring on the part of other companies. Apple switched the Mac entire product line from PowerPC processors to Intel processors (a feat few other companies could have pulled off) because IBM lost interest in the PowerPC, and left Apple twisting in the wind for years with tiny speed-bump upgrades. Now we're seeing Apple designing its own CPU chips - guess why. We got stuck with antiquated Carbon apps long past when Apple had wanted everything to move to the newer Cocoa interface, because some big name companies like Adobe and Microsoft, had written all their Mac code using the Metroworks C compiler instead of Apple's own tools, and then, you guessed it, Metroworks lost interest and stopped bothering with updates for their toolchain (and there are other examples I'm forgetting at the moment). After that, Xcode got much better, and when the iPhone got 3rd-party apps, Apple forbade use of any toolchain other than Xcode for building iOS apps - that wasn't to be mean, it was because they needed everyone to be able to keep up. Apple was shown beta copies of Flash for iOS, code that Adobe wanted to force Apple to ship, so lazy web developers could keep writing Flash on the new mobile platforms just like they were doing for desktop browsers. That beta, which Adobe wanted to ship, was crap. Ran slow, hogged resources, didn't play well with others. Apple knew where they wanted to go with iOS - smaller, lighter, more power efficient, making the best use possible of the limited available resources - and Flash didn't fit in with any of that. So, Apple - Steve - refused to allow it on iOS in the form that Adobe wanted. And every user of something other than a PC running Windows cheered (or would have, if they understood), because iOS was the new hotness for a while, which meant that web developers _had_ to write proper mobile web applications to run on the new platform - and that helped Unix users, and users of any other non-mainstream OS - because those properly built websites could also run on their platforms. Apple refusing to allow Flash on iOS is the reason why I can run Safari on the Mac without Flash installed and not run into tons of websites I can't use. It's the reason HTML5 video exists. It has positive effects far beyond iOS. The tyranny of Flash was broken. Best day ever for the web.

To me, those two examples of difficulties are on the vendors, not on the iOS.

Well-designed websites have an option to access the full site and/or are fully usable on iOS and/or provide an iOS app. I don't use vendors whose websites are not iOS friendly. If they want my business, they will design for my platform of choice. I currently don't have any websites I can't use on my iPad.

That said, make sure that if you are using an ad blocker that you disable it if you're having problems with a site as that can cause site features to not display properly.
The primary problem I run into with websites on the iPad these days, are those who say, "Oh, you're on a _mobile_ device, we'll shove you into our _mobile_ website we build back in the days of the original iPhone," that are overly dumbed-down. The iPad works very well with "normal" websites (I love being able to double-tap a column of text to zoom in on it, for instance), as long as the developers steer clear of a few desktop-based assumptions, like making hovering over links a semi-required part of the interface (some pages only show some of their information that way, with no other way to access it). Many sites that send the iPad to overly dumbed-down pages will have a "request desktop site" link in the fine print at the bottom (including MacRumors, which gives the iPad the full deal, but delivers to the iPhone a page missing the "Mac" and "iOS" tabs at the top). Also, Wikipedia insists on delivering a mobile site that's pretty, but is missing things like the "Talk" tab at the top (wouldn't want to confuse those mobile users, because most of them are kids, right?). Also, in the second row of the Share Menu, there's a "Request Desktop Site" button, which works many places.

I run the 1Blocker content blocker on iOS (and the JS Blocker extension in Safari on the Mac), but I don't run them to avoid ads (show all the ads you want, as text or images, and I'll weigh my desire to view your site against how annoying your ads are or aren't - I get that you need to pay the bills), I use these script blockers because I don't like running a ton of unvetted javascript that your website tells the browser to pull down from some third-party ad network. That's one of the most widely exploited attack vectors these days. Also, a page that drags in 30 or 40 3rd party javascript programs along with it puts an unreasonable burden on the CPU (JS Blocker puts a badge on its icon with a count of how many scripts it didn't let through - 30 is not an exaggeration; and, frankly, I don't need scripted buttons for sharing to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Uncle Ernie, etc. - I'm quite capable of doing those things on my own). On mobile, these scripts are chewing up my battery. On the desktop, they're spinning up my fans (did I mention I have 100 other tabs open besides your website? - web developers always assume their website is the only thing open, in the single tab of the single Safari window you're running). And on either platform, you might be bringing malware trouble whether you mean to or not. So, yeah, I block a lot of javascript when I use the web.

One last quick tip - In Safari on iOS, a long press on the "reload page" circled arrow will get you quick access to choices for "Request Desktop Site" and "Reload Without Content Blockers".
 

xsdeus

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 24, 2012
150
66
San Diego, CA
One last quick tip - In Safari on iOS, a long press on the "reload page" circled arrow will get you quick access to choices for "Request Desktop Site" and "Reload Without Content Blockers".
Thanks! Didn't know that, and it's a useful shortcut, for sure!
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If a web developer can't be bothered to make sure their code works on mobile iOS, one of the most popular and the most lucrative development platforms in existence, that's on them, not Apple. I mean in the first couple of years, I could understand, but it's been this way for nearly a decade now. It's just laziness now.
I wish there were an easy and painless way to let the developers know that their website designs are buggy.. because right now, the only way to really push for change is to incessantly email them until they respond with some cookie-cut generic answer.
[doublepost=1461803853][/doublepost]
I agree with Krev^

There are things Apple needs to improve in Mobile Safari, but the issues you experience explicitly fall onto the vendor and there's not too much overarching change that Apple could do that would fix those issues.
The crazy part is that a lot of these sites are really big corporations (Virgin America, for instance). Are the management so blind that they are unwilling to spare a few thousand to improve their customers' experiences via debugging? It's crazy to me, and absolutely upsetting that I feel so powerless to bring about such change.
 

rshrugged

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2015
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651
I haven't any direct experience (was looking into it) with Code Academy but did see this --
.....
A. Mobile Software
We may make available software to access the Service via a mobile device (“Mobile Software”). To use the Mobile Software you must have a mobile device that is compatible with the Mobile Service. Codecademy does not warrant that the Mobile Software will be compatible with your mobile device.
.....
https://www.codecademy.com/terms

They're covering their bases. I just checked the Pro forum; doesn't sound promising for mobile devices. You could contact them to be sure.

Edited out wrong links. Sorry for the confusion.
 
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Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
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London, UK.
I'm not familiar with those sites, but I'd be willing to bet they are using Flash. It's a very popular development platform and it's just idiotic that Apple refuses to support it in iOS. I think I heard it was about a grudge Steve Jobs held against Adobe. I doubt there's any technical reason they couldn't support it, it runs on Mac, Windows and Android devices just fine. Let's hope they finally patch that hole in iOS 10!
I can't agree with that. Flash is more trouble then it's worth and is not available on iOS for good reason and never will be. It has never run well especially on Mac platforms being a resource hog as well as regularly crashing. Flash needs to go away for good and in this day and age is not even needed with the likes of HTML5 giving a far better experience. I very much doubt the issues the OP is experiencing are even due to the lack of Flash and are more likely to do with poor design and coding by the companies responsible for those sites.
 

xsdeus

macrumors regular
Original poster
May 24, 2012
150
66
San Diego, CA
I haven't any direct experience (was looking into it) with Code Academy but did see this --

https://www.codecademy.com/terms

They're covering their bases. Have you tried checking at CA support for a possible solution? They do have an App (code school LLC) at the App store.
I'd prefer not to download apps if possible (don't like clutter in my purchase history— and yes, I know you can hide them, which is not the same as deleting).

If there are any web-based code schools.. I'd love some recommendations!
[doublepost=1461807445][/doublepost]
I can't agree with that. Flash is more trouble then it's worth and is not available on iOS for good reason and never will be. It has never run well especially on Mac platforms being a resource hog as well as regularly crashing. Flash needs to go away for good and in this day and age is not even needed with the likes of HTML5 giving a far better experience. I very much doubt the issues the OP is experiencing are even due to the lack of Flash and are more likely to do with poor design and coding by the companies responsible for those sites.
My problem isn't with Flash, as those aforementioned sites load okay; they just don't function as well as intended.
 

Mr.C

macrumors 601
Apr 3, 2011
4,541
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London, UK.
I'd prefer not to download apps if possible (don't like clutter in my purchase history— and yes, I know you can hide them, which is not the same as deleting).

If there are any web-based code schools.. I'd love some recommendations!
[doublepost=1461807445][/doublepost]

My problem isn't with Flash, as those aforementioned sites load okay; they just don't function as well as intended.
Thats what I was trying to say. It's more likely a design/coding issue by the developers/owners of the sites. It's not an iOS limitation as a lot of sites work just fine.
 

jgelin

macrumors 6502a
Jul 30, 2015
901
1,064
St Petersburg, FL
I wish there were an easy and painless way to let the developers know that their website designs are buggy.. because right now, the only way to really push for change is to incessantly email them until they respond with some cookie-cut generic answer.
You can contact someone directly at CodeCademy through the chat feature 8a-12a every day since you paid for the Pro membership and they will respond and help you or pass along the information to the proper place.
 

rshrugged

macrumors 6502a
Oct 11, 2015
929
651
I'd prefer not to download apps if possible (don't like clutter in my purchase history— and yes, I know you can hide them, which is not the same as deleting).
.....
I edited my post #14 with a changed link to the CA forum. Doesn't sound promising for iOS. I had bookmarks for both CA and CS. I mixed the two. Sorry about that.
 

grad

macrumors 6502
Jun 2, 2014
283
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It's astonishing that people keep blaming Flash and Java for security/privacy/stability/performance issues, failing to realise that in reality Javascript is the root of all evil.
 

CarlJ

macrumors 601
Feb 23, 2004
4,906
8,072
San Diego, CA, USA
It's astonishing that people keep blaming Flash and Java for security/privacy/stability/performance issues, failing to realise that in reality Javascript is the root of all evil.
Actually, you're the first to mention Java in this thread (I can't recall the last time someone complained about its security problems in the browser, because pretty much nobody uses it there any more). Meanwhile, Javascript has been mentioned repeatedly.

Javascript is a dreadful language, really. It's only popular because there's so much of it (sort of circular reference there). It was the only programming facility that was in all the major browsers, so folks used it, then the browser writers made just-in-time optimizing compilers for it to make it run fast. Fun fact, it wasn't called Javascript originally, it was first "Mocha", then "LiveScript". It got renamed "JavaScript" in order to perpetrate a fraud, essentially - Java had just gotten hot at the time, and the marketing folk decided to ride on Java's coattails by giving LiveScript a confusingly similar name, hoping to gain popularity by association. More here: https://www.w3.org/community/webed/wiki/A_Short_History_of_JavaScript
[doublepost=1461816864][/doublepost]
I run the 1Blocker content blocker on iOS (and the JS Blocker extension in Safari on the Mac),
Is here a is blocker on iOS? ...
I keep looking at this to see if I'm missing something - you quote me giving a link to the blocker I use on iOS and ask if there's a blocker on iOS. What?
 

MyopicPaideia

macrumors 68020
Mar 19, 2011
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Sweden
A lot of the problems arise because sites categorize the Safari on iPad as mobile. If they just would automatically feed their regular desktop site when the browser ID reports in as an iPad browser, a lot of these problems would be solved.

I have a web-based accounting system integral to my livelihood that irritatingly does this, and subsequently ruins the UI usability as menus get pushed down and become unsighted because they put a big "Show mobile site" in the header menu for all iPad browsers. This happens even when requesting the desktop site, because the site is set up to display that stupid menu item regardless if the browser ID reports in as iPad, even the 12.9" iPad Pro, thought the principle is the same throughout the line-up, all the way down to the mini.

I encounter these things often enough, and even really good alternatives like iCab have enough limitations compared to Safari that they aren't viable options. (functionality of new tab links, menus, etc that work fine on Safari don't on the alternatives.)

iPad Safari just shouldn't be considered mobile for the purposes of the Web at this point.
 
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maflynn

Moderator
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May 3, 2009
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Boston
As others stated, using Safari, means the site will think of it as a mobile device, i.e, an iPhone and not present the user with a site that's more suited for a larger display.

This is one of the drawbacks, I have with a "Pro" product that is running iOS. I know in this case, it may not be entirely Apple's fault but that doesn't change the issue in that the mobile site is being pulled up on a product that could use the desktop version.
 
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