Microsoft is finally bringing its Edge browser to iOS and Android. It’s the next logical step in Microsoft’s new approach to mobile: make Android and iOS work better with Windows. If you’re an Android or iOS user, you’ll be able to use Microsoft Edge mobile to push webpages to a PC and resume where you left off. This “continue on PC” functionality is at the center of Edge for iOS and Android, and it’s useful for when you hit a mobile website that just doesn’t work right, or if you want to continue with a big screen and keyboard.
Beyond continue on PC, Microsoft Edge for iOS and Android also includes access to favorites, history, reading list, and ebooks. I’ve been testing Edge for the past couple of days, and the design looks and feels a lot like Microsoft Edge on the desktop. Microsoft has clearly tried to match this design, but it hasn’t quite matched all the features just yet.
One of the biggest missing features for me personally is tab syncing. While you can use continue on PC to get a similar experience, tabs and history of what you browse on mobile are not shared to the desktop version of Edge yet. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore says the company still has work to do on the desktop version of Edge to support this, but the company is hoping to enable this at some point in the future.
Like many people, I use Windows daily with Google’s Chrome browser and I also use an iPhone with Chrome mobile. Microsoft is trying to directly appeal to that exact scenario, but it’s strangely missing the mark without tab syncing. I might be convinced to switch to Microsoft Edge on the desktop for the obvious battery life improvements, but syncing my history and tabs is an essential part of my workflow with Chrome and helps me resume where I left off. I like the idea of sending a webpage up to my PC quickly, but I don’t want to do that for every tab I have open.
Favorites and the reading list still sync, and you also get the familiar feel of the news feed when you start a new tab in Edge for mobile. Microsoft is primarily targeting this initial preview version at iPhone and Android users, so there’s no tablet support yet. That means Edge for iOS doesn’t support the pen highlighting features you’d find on the desktop mode, and it doesn’t take advantage of the Apple Pencil just yet. Cortana support is also missing, so don’t expect to see any useful hints at driving directions or opening hours for restaurants.
You might expect Microsoft to restrict Edge on iOS and Android to its Bing search engine, but thankfully there’s an option for the choice of Google or even Yahoo. Outside of that, the settings are limited to toggling password / form saves, blocking pop-ups and cookies, and simply clearing browsing history. Microsoft hasn’t added any built-in ad blocking here, and Edge uses the Webkit rendering engine on iOS and Blink on Android.
Microsoft is releasing Edge in Apple’s TestFlight program today, alongside Google’s own testing through the Play Store soon. You can sign up to get access to Microsoft Edge mobile right here, and you’ll need the latest Windows 10 Insider builds (Fall Creators Update). Microsoft is planning to release a final version of Edge Mobile to all users by the end of the year.
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