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Permanent Tourist

A personal website by Mark Howells-Mead

The (Not So) Secret Powers Of The Mobile Browser

I have a 16Gb iPhone, with comparatively few apps installed. 70% of these 16Gb are filled with data for these apps, although only 6% are music stored for offline listening, and only 2% are photos.

From the apps, the main offender is Facebook, which currently needs 571.6Mb to tell me what’s going on. One has to ask why so many apps need to store so much data. Why does the Facebook app need to store so much stuff, which you can only remove by completely uninstalling the app?

Perhaps it’s time for developers to start making more of an effort to use the arguably most powerful app on the device: the built-in web browser. It can do so much these days, from accessing the Notifications API and the camera, to storing websites as offline apps. Live streaming video (à la Skype) is coming soon, location-sensitive URLs are a thing (like the beacon-based functionality behind Twint), and even access to the the Ambient Light API isn’t that far off.

Smashing Magazine has published a great and detailed article on this topic. Well-worth a read, if you’re looking for something to read over the Christmas holidays.