Screenshot: Pranay Parab
Smart app banners started out as a way for developers say, “You there! This mobile website sucks, why don’t you check out our app instead?” That was a relief when mobile browsers were awful and websites were almost unusable. Since then though, mobile websites have gotten a lot better, while those “helpful” smart app banners have become the real annoyance.
Since iOS 15 brought extensions to Safari, the mobile browser has become extremely capable. There’s a free extension that gets rid of annoying smart app banners with ease.
How to use Unsmartifier to remove smart app banners in Safari
This extension is called Unsmartifier and you can follow these steps to set it up:First, download Unsmartifier from the App Store. It’s a free Safari extension.Next, you can enable its Safari extension. That’s easy if you go to Settings > Safari > Extensions > Unsmartifier.Enable Unsmartifier.Scroll down to the section labeled Permissions for “Unsmartifier”. You can tap All Websites and select Allow. This will allow the extension to access all websites so that it can get rid of smart app banners everywhere.
That’s it. Now you can visit any website in Safari and Unsmartifier will automatically block smart app banners. Try deleting the Google app from your phone and visit Google.com to see the results.
Before (left) and after enabling Unsmartifier in Safari on iPhone.Screenshot: Pranay Parab
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To check if Unsmartifier has blocked any smart app banners, open Safari and tap the aA button in the address bar. Then select Unsmartifier and you’ll be able to see how many smart app banners it’s been able to block.
The limitations of Unsmartifier
Unsmartifier is lightweight, free, and it does what it promises. There are some kinds of app banners that it can’t get rid of, though—some websites like Reddit use custom app banners that Unsmartifier can’t remove. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to remove Reddit’s persistent app pop-up, but not every such website will offer you that luxury.
It’s also worth remembering that Unsmartifier can’t remove the pop-up that suggests you open an already installed app on your phone. For example, if you open Amazon.com on Safari and you also have its app installed, you’ll still see a bar at the top of the page that lets you quickly open the app. The best way to eliminate these banners, then, is to uninstall the app if you really prefer using the mobile site.