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What does it take to be installable?

What does it take to be installable?

Updated
Appears in: Progressive Web Apps

Progressive Web Apps (PWAs) are modern, high quality applications built using web technology. PWAs offer similar capabilities to iOS/Android/desktop apps, they are reliable even in unstable network conditions, and are installable making it easier for users to find and use them.

Most users are familiar with installing applications, and the benefits of an installed experience. Installed applications appear on operating system launch surfaces, such as the Applications folder on Mac OS X, the Start menu on Windows, and the homescreen on Android and iOS. Installed applications also show up in the activity switcher, device search engines such as Spotlight and in content sharing sheets.

Most browsers indicate to the user that your Progressive Web App (PWA) is installable when it meets certain criteria. Example indicators include an Install button in the address bar, or an Install menu item in the overflow menu.

Screenshot of omnibox with install indicator visible.
Browser provided install promotion (desktop)
Screenshot of browser provided install promotion.
Browser provided install promotion (mobile)

In addition, when the criteria is met, many browsers will fire a beforeinstallprompt event, allowing you to provide a custom in-app UX that that will trigger the install flow within your app.

Install criteria

In Chrome, your Progressive Web App must meet the following criteria before it will fire the beforeinstallprompt event and show the in-browser install promotion:

  • The web app is not already installed
  • Meets a user engagement heuristic
  • Be served over HTTPS
  • Includes a Web App Manifest that includes:
    • short_name or name
    • icons - must include a 192px and a 512px icon
    • start_url
    • display - must be one of fullscreen, standalone, or minimal-ui
    • Note: prefer_related_applications must not be present, or be false
  • Registers a service worker with a functional fetch handler

Other browsers have similar criteria for installation, though there may be minor differences. Check the respective sites for full details:

On Android, if the web app manifest includes related_applications and "prefer_related_applications": true, the user will be directed to the Google Play store and prompted to install the specified Android app instead.

Last updated: Improve article