Edge Canary gets link management for web apps

The latest version of Microsoft Edge Canary brings a notable new feature for Progressive Web Apps. Users can enable a new experimental flag to allow PWAs to “manage” links. In other words, you can open links from other programs directly in associated web applications instead of launching the browser.

Here is an example of how this feature works: you receive a message in Telegram with a YouTube link. You click the link and Windows opens it in YouTube PWA instead of the browser.

To enable link management for Progressive Web Apps, follow these steps:

  1. Update Microsoft Edge Canary to the latest version. You can download Edge Canary from the official Edge Insider website.
  2. Make sure Edge Canary is your default browser. If you’re using Windows 11 22H2, here’s how to change the default browser with just one click.
  3. Install a web app, such as YouTube or Reddit, by clicking a button in the address bar.
    A button to install a Progressive Web App in Edge
  4. Go to edge://flags/#edge-webapp-link-handling and select On.
    The experimental flag in Microsoft Edge to enable link management in PWA
  5. Restart the browser.
  6. Go to edge://apps, find the web app you need, then click Details.
    Microsoft Edge settings showing how to enable link management for PWAs
  7. turn it on Link management to toggle.
    Microsoft Edge settings showing how to enable link management for PWAs
  8. Try to open a link that leads to the website installed as a web application.

It should be noted that the link management functionality has some quirks. For example, Edge Canary cannot open a shareable YouTube link (youtu.be) in a PWA but has no problem launching the web app with a normal youtube.com link.

Also, the new flag does not affect how Edge works with installed websites. as apps. There’s a difference between full-fledged Progressive Web Apps (the ones Edge offers you to install from the address bar) and websites that simply open in dedicated windows. Currently, Edge cannot open external links in websites installed as apps. Instead, the browser launches as usual and opens the link in a normal tab.

Thanks, Leoparda64-2, for the tip!

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