Add to Homescreen

Update: this documentation is now out of date. for up to date information please see the Web App Install Banners documentation on Web Fundamentals.

Since Chrome 31, you can set up your web app to have an application shortcut icon added to a device's homescreen, and have the app launch in full-screen "app mode" using Chrome for Android’s "Add to homescreen" menu item.

New in Chrome 39, you can define the metadata associated with your web application in a JSON-based manifest. The manifest provides a way to wrap metadata about a web application into a single file. Using this metadata in conjunction with Add to Homescreen, you can create launch experiences more comparable to native applications.

How homescreen-installed apps work

Homescreen-installed apps work exactly like you would expect a normal web application to work. They follow the same sandboxed security policies and have access to the same APIs; however, they integrate with the Android environment in the following ways.

Installs directly to the homescreen

When a user clicks "Add to homescreen", they will see the app being added on the homescreen.

Integrates into the OS task-switcher

Web apps launched from the homescreen will appear in the task switcher separate from the browser, they will, however still say "Web App" on the app title.

Provides a full screen experience

Web apps will launch full-screen with no vestiges of a browser. The URL will not be present, nor will traditional browser actions such as bookmarking and navigation controls.

Supports a default device orientation

Web apps will launch and stay in the designated orientation, for example, landscape.

Navigating to external pages from a web app highlights them to the user

Users will always know if the app routes them to a location outside the application’s domain. This is especially useful for authentication flows, the user is kept in the app experience but the URL of the authentication system is clearly visible to the user.

Supporting homescreen-installed apps

Developers seeking to enable "add to homescreen" should link to a manifest and define the manifest metadata.

To associate the manifest with your website, include the link element in your web page (for example, index.html):

<link rel="manifest" href="manifest.json">

Defining the manifest metadata

The manifest metadata can define a title, landing page, default orientation, and different icons depending on size and screen density. The display represents how developers would like the user agent to present the web application to a user (for example, in fullscreen).

For example, this manifest includes a title ("Web Application Manifest Sample"), different icons to support a range of devices, a start page (index.html), and the default orientation ("landscape").

The display property is "standalone". The web app has the look and feel of a standalone native application. This can include the application having a different window, its own icon in the application launcher, etc. In this mode, the user agent will exclude UI elements for controlling navigation, but can include other UI elements such as a status bar.

The example below doesn't show everything that can be in a manifest. For that you can check out the reference on MDN.

  "name": "Web Application Manifest Sample",
  "icons": [
      "src": "launcher-icon-0-75x.png",
      "sizes": "36x36",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 0.75
      "src": "launcher-icon-1x.png",
      "sizes": "48x48",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 1.0
      "src": "launcher-icon-1-5x.png",
      "sizes": "72x72",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 1.5
      "src": "launcher-icon-2x.png",
      "sizes": "96x96",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 2.0
      "src": "launcher-icon-3x.png",
      "sizes": "144x144",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 3.0
      "src": "launcher-icon-4x.png",
      "sizes": "192x192",
      "type": "image/png",
      "density": 4.0
  "start_url": "index.html",
  "display": "standalone",
  "orientation": "landscape"

Supporting homescreen-installed apps prior to M39

Since M31, Chrome will look for the following meta tag in the <head> element of the web-page (if there's a manifest with display specified, this is ignored):

<meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">

The name attribute MUST be "mobile-web-app-capable" and the content attribute must be "yes" (case in-sensitive). If there is any other value in the content attribute the web app will be added as a regular bookmark.


The icon that is used to install to the homescreen is determined by using the largest icon found in one of the following <link> tags:

  • <link rel="icon" sizes="192x192" href="nice-highres.png"> (recommended)
  • <link rel="icon" sizes="128x128" href="niceicon.png">
  • <link rel="apple-touch-icon" sizes="128x128" href="niceicon.png">
  • <link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" sizes="128x128" href="niceicon.png">

Icon label

The application’s <title> element serves as the default label for the icon on the homescreen.


The following example is the minimum required configuration to support a homescreen launch experience before Chrome 39.

<!doctype html>
     <title>Awesome app </title>
     <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width">
     <meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">
     <link rel="icon" sizes="192x192" href="/icon.png">

Frequently asked questions

How do I open links in the user’s browser?
As you would on the web, adding target="_blank" to an anchor forces the user out of the web app and into the browser that the user added the icon from.
If I visit a page that I have already added to the homescreen, will it be full screen?
No, while you are browsing you remain in the browser even if you visit a page that's added to your homescreen. The page only launches full screen when launched from the homescreen.
How can I detect if the app is running as an installed app?
You can’t, directly.

Best practices

  • Do not prompt the user to add your app to the homescreen. There is no way to detect if the app is running installed or not.
  • Use the large 192px icon format, as in <link rel="icon" sizes="192x192" href="nice-highres.png"> for the highest quality homescreen icons.
  • Use a noun in your document’s title. Make sure the title doesn't contain any information that may change. For example, for a Calendar app, don't include the current date or time in the app title.
  • Use AppCache to ensure that your app works or presents the user with an experience when they are offline.
  • Create a clear icon for use on the homescreen following the guidance of Android Iconography.