All major operating systems (Windows 10, OS X, Linux, iOS and Android) and browsers (Edge, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and Opera) support the core technologies needed for PWAs. Ideally, a PWA will automatically prompt the user to install itself on a home screen when the PWA URL is accessed. However, the API to automatically request permission to install a PWA on a home screen has not (yet) been standardized and users may need to manually perform the installation. This help file provides operating system specific information and suggestions for how to do this installation.
Because PWAs install files in the browser cache, they require a secure network connection using the HTTPS protocol. Look the lock icon in the website URL or explicitly specify the HTTPS protocol when entering the url. Note that some, but not all, websites support both insecure (HTTP) and secure (HTTPS) protocols and may automatically redirect traffic. For example, the AAPT ComPADRE webstie automatically redirects http://www.compadre.org/OSP/ automatically redirects users to https://www.compadre.org/OSP/.
In order to avoid scrolling on mobile screens, many Open Source Physics PWAs link to supplemental documents such as html pages and PDF files. Disable pop blocking for the site hosting the PWA to ensure access these supplemental documents.
It is not surprising that Android has extensive support for PWAs because this technology was pioneered by Google. Enter the PWA URL into the Chrome browser and you will see a banner at the top that allows you to install the app. If you close the browser and visit the PWA site a second time after a 5 minute delay, Chrome usually shows a message at the bottom of the screen asking that can also be used to install the app. If neither of these options appear, a user can always install the PWA by select the Add to Home item in the More Options menu in the upper right hand corner of the browser.
Although Apple does not yet fully support all PWA standards, it is still easy to install a PWA on an iOS device using the Share option in the upper right hand corner of Safari. Entering the PWA URL, select the Share icon in the upper right hand corner of browser, and choose the Add to Home Screen item.
Unfortunately, PWAs cannot yet be installed on the iOS desktop using Google Chrome on iOS devices.
When running PWAs on Apple iOS devices that require access to motion sensors, users must first enable the Motion and Orientation Access property in Safari Settings. To do so, open the device Settings and select Safari to enable the accelerometer as shown in the screen shot to the right. that record data from iOS sensors, users must enable Motion and Orientation Access in Safari Settings. Open the device Settings and select Safari to enable the accelerometer as shown in the screen shot to the right.
Selecting a PWA icon on the iOS home screen and dragging it to the trash makes the app inaccessible but the files may remain in the Safari cache. To force an iOS device to delete these cached files, use the Advanced | Website Data panel in Safari Settings. Note that deleting the cache data does not remove the PWA from the home screen. Clicking on the PWA's icon on the home screen reloads the latest version of the PWA from the original URL.
Although the PWAs are often run on mobile devices, they can be installed on Microsoft Windows or Apple OS X desktops using the Google Chrome browser. Enter the PWA URL and select either the Install App or the Install item from the "Customize and control" menu in Google Chrome located in the upper right hand corner of the browser window. By default, the PWA is installed in the Chrome Apps directory but it behaves like a native app and it can be moved or copied to another more convenient location.
Contact W. Christian for adiitonal information about Open Source Physics PWAs.