Every now and then, we come across a link that we want to view on our iPhone as we head away from our computer to another room or out of the house altogether. While it’s certainly possible to copy the URL to an email and send it to an account set up on our iPhone, this takes multiple steps and there’s an app that, along with a companion bookmarklet, makes this a one-step process instead. PushURL is that app and we’ve found it to be a very useful, though somewhat niche, app.
When you first open PushURL on your iPhone, you’ll be asked if you want to let the app send you push notifications (select yes or the app will not fulfill its function) you are presented with a unique token – this token is what identifies your device specifically so it can receive URLs sent from your computer. You need to enter this token on the PushURL site and then install the bookmarklet in your computer’s browser (the app also offers a shortcut for you to enter your email address so the bookmarklet can be sent to you).
Adding the bookmarklet to your browser’s bookmarks bar or a folder makes it easier to access. When you’re at a site that you want to view on your iPhone, just click the PushURL bookmarklet in your browser and a small pop-up will let you know that the URL has successfully been pushed to your device. Of course, your iPhone must have an internet connection in order to receive it. In a moment, you’ll see this push notification pop up on your iPhone:
Selecting View will open the PushURL app briefly and then it will cycle through to open Safari on its own, taking you to the URL that was pushed from your computer’s browser.
If you choose Close instead in that push notification pop-up, that URL is not stored anywhere and you’ll need to push it again from your desktop if you want to open it on your iPhone.
While useful, we find PushURL to be a niche app in the sense that it serves a single purpose that most people will not need to use all that frequently. While it does what it does very well, we wish that it could store all URLs pushed even if we choose not to open them on our iPhone upon receipt. We also wish there was some way for it to work the other way around – we find more often that we want to push a URL from our iPhone to our computer for browsing on a larger screen. (Regarding this last wish, we have been testing an app that does this and will be reviewing it here shortly.) However, if you find that you frequently want to send URLs to your iPhone from your computer to make it easier to show someone else a website or browse a particular site immediately away from your computer, PushURL does the job for a very reasonable $.99.
While PushURL is not universal and lacks an interface specifically for the iPad, its description states that it will work on the iPad. We, however, were unable to receive push notifications on our iPad (connected to both Wi-Fi and 3G networks) for some unknown reason.