Bummed by iOS’s erratic text selection in Safari? Try this simple trick

By , May 27, 2016

iOS Text Selection iPhone screenshot 001

Sometimes it feels like I’m wrestling with iOS’s text-selection feature in Safari instead of it making my life easier. Increasingly, certain webpages either wouldn’t let me copy body text at all or would leave me struggling trying to make a precise selection.

More often than not, zooming doesn’t prove much of a help. This issue is particularly infuriating when trying to highlight a URL. But don’t worry, this is where iDownloadBlog’s how-to series comes to the rescue!

Here’s a simple trick which helps override this behavior, letting you highlight and copy text on webpages that don’t necessarily play nicely with iOS’s text-selection feature.

The answer to your text woes is Safari’s Reader Mode.

In Reader Mode, Safari scrapes the page and disregards all ads, navigation, toolbars and other parts of web code that is cluttering the webpage at hand. What you’re left with is pure body text, presented in a distraction-free environment.

How to select webpage text in Safari’s Reader Mode

1) Launch Safari on your iPhone, iPod touch or iPad.

2) Navigate to a webpage that has been giving you a hard time selecting text on, and then enter the browser’s Reader Mode.

iOS Text Selection teaser 001

To do so, just tap the icon in the lefthand side of Safari’s Smart Search field at the top of the interface (hint: it looks like four horizontal lines, resembling a passage in a book).

3) Now select text like you normally would.

iOS Text Selection iPhone screenshot 002

And that’s it, ladies and gentlemen.

This method does not always work as intended as web code can confuse even Safari’s Reader Mode. Still, you should definitely memorize this handy trick because Reader Mode may help resolve many of the scenarios when iOS’s text-selection is erratical or wouldn’t let you select text on webpages.

RELATED: 19 useful Mac startup key combinations

Want to share some of your own favorite Safari tricks with our audience? Simply post them in comments for everyone to see.

What’s going on here?

Apple is partially to blame because this issue is non-existent in desktop Safari.

I say partially because this isn’t entirely Apple’s problem to solve given that some web developers create complex layouts which may clash with iOS’s text-selection feature, preventing your from selecting individual characters or words with precision.

Need help? Ask iDB!

Got stuck? Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device? Let us know at help@iDownloadBlog.com and a future tutorial might provide a solution.

Shoot us your how-to suggestions at tips@iDownloadBlog.com.

Source: Via Reddit

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  • zebonaut

    The entire Web would rock if it were all in Reader mode; free of the garbage ad clutter and social media links

  • Fun fact: I recently discovered that you can use 3D Touch to select text without dealing with the handlebars or magnifying glass!

    • :D

      Try it on the keyboard when typing too and see what happens

    • M_Hawke

      Can’t figure out what you are talking about–post a video reply here? That would be instructional and appreciated.

      • Ah sorry dude, I can’t screen record as I’m not jail broken. But if you have a 3D Touch capable device, press down onto a word and drag your finger. Much like click dragging to select text on a computer.

      • M_Hawke

        Hmnnn…doesn’t work for me. It just selects the word that I’m pressing down on.

      • M_Hawke

        I mean, can you just have someone video your phone as you do it, like the iDownloadblog videos?

      • Timothy

        You can, actually! Here’s how:
        1) Plug your iPhone in to your computer and open QuickTime Player.
        2) File > New Movie Recording
        3) Click the arrow to the right of the Record button and select your phone from the list.
        4) Hit record!

  • neutrino23

    Reader mode is great. I use it every day.

  • Steve Harold

    Th9s needs to be fixed in iOS 10