How to install progressive web applications (PWA) in Chrome from Windows or macOS

How to install progressive web applications (PWA) in Chrome from Windows or macOS

The progressive web applications (PWA) are an excellent way to access the best of our favourite services without actually having to install anything extra on your computer browser apart, plus they work regardless of platform or operating system.

PWAs differ from normal web applications in that they basically have some more advanced functions to better integrate with the operating system, in the style of a native they support things like notifications and they run in their own window instead of in a tab inside of the browser.

The only disadvantage of PWA is perhaps the memory consumption, but if you have a modern computer, it probably goes more than fine. Google Chrome has been continually improving its support for PWA, and in fact, they are testing a new feature to make it easier to discover and install PWAs in Chrome Canary.

If you want to know how to use this new or the oldest method to install progressive web applications in Chrome from Windows or from macOS, we explain how to do it.

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Install PWA in Chrome (shortcut method)

This function exists a long time ago in Chrome, the issue is that it has been improving over the years as have the same PWA. With this method the user can create a direct access to any web from Chrome that allows him to run the site in his own window and as an individual app.

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Now, the functions of that app will depend on what each service offers individually, and not all of them offer progressive web applications. To install an app in this way you just have to enter the site, click on the Chrome menu button (three vertical points), select More tools > Create shortcut:

As soon as you do this, a pop-up window will appear asking if you want to create a shortcut with the option to change the name of your access and check the “Open as a window” box. It is very important that you mark the latter before clicking on the “create” button, so you can have your app separate from Chrome.

Once this is done, the application will automatically change to its PWA mode, and create its own shortcut that can be in the macOS dock or in the Windows 10 taskbar. You can directly access your app without having to open Chrome before and without having to keep it open later.

If it is a PWA you will see a menu in the top bar of your app that allows you to access several options, including an access to uninstall your PWA at any time and remove the shortcut.

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Install PWA from the Chrome URL bar (omnibox method)

This method is new, and at the moment it can only be used in Chrome Canary , the most experimental version of Chrome. In fact, you will have to activate the function manually since it does not come by default yet.

If you already have Chrome Canary, either in Windows or macOS, run the browser and type the following in the address bar:

chrome://flags/#enable-desktop-pwas-omnibox-install

This will take you to the new feature called “Desktop PWAs installable from the omnibox”, or what it means, to allow progressive web applications to be installable from the omnibox or URL bar.

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Once there, change the status of the function to “Enable” and restart Chrome. From now on, every time you enter a website that is programmed as PWA, Chrome will show you a cross icon (+) right next to the favorites icon.

By clicking on that icon you can move on to install the progressive web application of that site in a couple of clicks. It’s basically the same as the previous method, but Chrome immediately detects if the web is offering this and gives you the opportunity to switch from one tab to PWA in seconds.

Not all webs are going to show the button although technically you can use them as PWA using the other method that we just explained. But it is likely that they are more for when the function reaches the stable version of Chrome.

We have tested both methods from Windows 10 and from the Mojave macOS and it works perfectly in both. Although we have not tested on any Linux distro, in theory it should work as well.

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