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Zoomable – a browser that ditches mobile layouts

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Developer: Actowise LLC
Price: Free [$6.99/£5.99 Pro unlock]
Size: 9.5 MB
Version: 1.3.7
Platform: iPhone & iPad


As mobile devices have become the predominant means through which the internet is accessed, websites have been reshaped accordingly. Any respectable major website these days will be scaled to fit a 6-inch portrait screen just as well as a 21-inch monitor – if not better.

But the internet is a vast and unwieldy place, filled with websites built at different times and using different resources. Some web experiences still work better on a desktop computer. (Or an iPad, which – unlike iPhone – can natively display full desktop websites in Safari).

Zoomable lets you zoom right out to a full desktop view

Zoomable is a web browser app that can help to bridge that gap between the older PC-focused internet and the mobile-optimized web of today. It does so through the permanent provision of a resize slider that occupies the bottom of the screen.

Slide this to the left and the text and images will shrink, the website reconfiguring into a layout designed for desktop users. Push the slider to the right and you’ll zoom in, ultimately ending up in a more familiar mobile-like web configuration.

You can also zoom right in and go full screen

Note that this isn’t the same as pinching to zoom – it fundamentally reconfigures the web page by tricking the website into thinking you have a larger or smaller display. Pinching to zoom still works, but merely zooms in on the current page layout.

At the very least, it’s a great way to see how modern websites are built to scale according to the screen size and shape (it also works in landscape orientation). Less commonly but more usefully, it can render certain older websites in a more agreeable fashion.

The app works particularly well in landscape

Not all mobile websites are built particularly well, with some omitting elements altogether. In such scenarios, Zoomable is a great solution. As the developer points out, it’s also a useful tool for anyone wishing to access web services that don’t work at all on mobile. This workaround solves that in a pinch (literally).

Elsewhere, Zoomable is a clean, modern, and reassuringly privacy-conscious web browser. History and Restore Tabs on Start-up options are present, but turned off by default. Together with the provision of DuckDuckGo as the default search engine (other options are available), it feels nice and secure.

DuckDuckGo is the default search engine

We also appreciate little touches like the provision of a full-screen button in the bottom right corner. The rumbling haptics when moving that scale slider also shows keen attention to detail.

This is a free app with a one-off Pro mode unlock, which grants things like custom themes and removes ads. The main reason you’ll want to splash out, however, is to unlock multiple tabs. Being locked to a single tab feels rather stingy in the free app.

One tab only is a bit stingy for the free tier

Zoomable is quite a niche offering, and most people won’t feel the need for a scalable web browser. But for those who have ever felt constrained or limited by modern mobile-first websites, using Zoomable feels like loosening your belt after a big meal.

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