Hacking bookmarklets to work on your mobile device

Update (21 Feb 2015): This demo is with an iPadAir. I’ve discovered life isn’t quite as straightforward with an iPhone6. Updated instructions, below.

Bookmarklets add application-like functionality to a web browser. They are often used for link sharing because you don’t have to leave the page or copy the URL in order to share (or save) the page.

This. is a new link-sharing social network. But the only way to share a link is via a bookmarklet. And bookmarklets aren’t the easiest thing to use on mobile devices.

Here’s how to share a link on This. from your phone or tablet, using Google Chrome. The process is the same for any bookmarklet!

1. Install Chrome on your computer and your mobile device(s)

2. Sync your desktop browser bookmarks with your phone

Sign in to Chrome using the same Google Account on your desktop and your mobile devices you want to sync.

Here’s how Google says you should set up sync settings:

  • On Windows, Mac, Linux, or Chrome devices
    1. Go to the Chrome menu (upper right) Chrome menu > Settings.
    2. Under Sign In, check the Advanced sync settings and make sure the “Bookmarks” checkbox is selected.
  • On Chrome for Android
    1. Touch Chrome Menu > Settings > your email address.
    2. Touch Sync and make sure the “Bookmarks” checkbox is selected.
  • On Chrome for iOS
    1. Touch Chrome Menu > Settings > your email address > Advanced.
    2. Slide the “Sync Everything” switch to On. If you don’t want to sync everything, slide the switch to OFF and choose the data you want to sync, specifically “Bookmarks”.

3. Install This. bookmarklet on your desktop version of Chrome

Access the bookmarklet here, if you have a This.cm account. If you are working with a different bookmarklet, I assume you know how to find it!

4. Consider renaming the bookmarklet

The default name for the bookmarklet is This. I changed mine to SendToThis because I wanted something easy but distinctive to type on the phone. How to edit your bookmarks in Chrome.

5. Open Chrome on your mobile device

You must use the same Google account on both browsers for this to work!

  1. Log in to This.cm.
  2. Navigate to a story you might want to share with This. (Or whatever you’re doing with your bookmarklet.)
  3. Tap in the URL bar (to bring it in focus) and start typing the name of your bookmark.
  4. When Chrome shows your bookmark in the “guess where I want to go” list, tap it. I have named mine SendToThis.

    Accessing bookmarklet

    To accèss the bookmarklet, begin typing its name in the URL bar. Chrome will reveal a dropdown of possible locations. When you see it, tap it.

  5. That tap will launch the bookmarklet, just like it does on your “real” browser.
  6. Continue editing the text fields and select the proper image.
    NOTE: with my iPhone6 (8.1.1), I was able to delete the headline but not type a new one. The only input option I had was “paste”. So I had to type my headline / author (it wasn’t pre-populated and I got an error when I left it blank) / comments elsewhere (I used Notes) and then paste each, one-at-a-time, into the bookmarklet. Clunky but it worked. You need to use the phone in portrait mode, too. Chrome version 40.0.2214.73.

    Bookmarklet triggered on iPad

    Bookmarklet triggered by a tap; Chrome and iPad Air.

  7. When you’re finished, tap “Add This.” and you’re done!
    Add This.

Watch a demo on YouTube

The demo is made using an iPad. This should work for any bookmarklet you save in Chrome (when it’s synced with all devices).

 

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