Sensible advice for aches, pains & injuries

How to work around that stupid iOS bookmarking bug

iOS 11 (fall 2017) has a nasty habit of breaking full-access links when bookmarked, which is easy but annoying to deal with

Want to know something else? See answers to other frequently asked customer questions.

Every customer gets access to purchased tutorials via a link sent by email. Full-access tutorials can be bookmarked like any webpage. But, thanks to an obnoxious Apple bug introduced in late 2017, bookmarking them on iPhones and iPads now fails. It’s not hard to solve, but it’s really a bummer.

If you’re tech savvy, you’ll have no problem understanding the easy workarounds: make the bookmark on a Mac and it will work fine, or use “Add to Homescreen” or “Add to Reading List” (both of which still work fine), or just save your purchase confirmation email and use that as a bookmark.

If you’re not very comfy with tech, here’s a more detail in very plain language …

So what’s a bookmark anyway?

It’s a saved address for a webpage, so that you can easily return to it later. The exact same thing is traditionally also called a “favorite” on Windows. Here’s a super easy guide to using bookmarks on iThings. There’s nothing hard about bookmarking.

At least, there never was for all of computing history until Apple introduced this stupid bug. 😜

The problem in more detail tutorials are basically just big webpages. Non-customers can only see the free introduction, but customers get to see behind the “paywall” and read the whole thing. Rather than logging in with a username and password, access is granted to customers by a customer ID code embedded in the address for the page (a “URL parameter”). This is a simplified, convenient, low-stakes security system. Which usually works great.

Apple’s new bug strips the all-important customer ID from the link. 👎 When you bookmark or save the link in various ways, it gets saved without that code. So, when you try to use it later, the page can’t “recognize” you and give you full access.

The iOS share icon.

For any given webpage, there are several ways to save or share a link with someone else or yourself. All of them involve tapping the share icon at the bottom centre of the screen. Some of them strip the link and some of them don’t!

Methods that strip the customer ID:

Methods that do not strip out the customer ID:

And probably others! But those are the main ones.

And good grief! This is terrible. There’s lots of important information in URL parameters! Not being able to bookmark/copy URL parameters is a pretty BAD bug. shakes fist at Apple

How to workaround the problem

In dorkspeak, a “kludge” is an inelegant technical solution. There are several easy kludges to get around this stupid bookmarking bug.

  1. If you create the bookmark on a Mac, it works just fine (as you found, and exactly as one would expect). Once it’s there, it can be synced to iPads and iPhones via iCloud.
  2. You can simply save your purchase confirmation email and always launch it from there. Not pretty, but it works.
  3. On an iPhone or iPad, you can create a different kind of bookmark that is just as convenient as a regular bookmark, or even more so: instead of “Add Bookmark,” choose “Add to Home Screen.” That will create an icon on your home screen that is basically works exactly like a regular bookmark, except that it is prominently represented by an icon on your home screen. A regular bookmark fails, but this kind seems to work.
  4. Or “Add to Reading List.” The Reading List is actually a great idea, because not only does it save the link, it also saves the entire content of the page for offline reading. Quite handy! Many people would want this in addition to a simple bookmark anyway. If you aren’t familiar with Reading List, it’s a great feature, well worth learning about.
  5. Or use one of the other methods of saving that work, such as “Add to Notes.” There are probably more. I haven’t tried them all.
  6. Although annoying, it’s not difficult to simply type the customer code — you can just manually add it to the end of the URL.