The other day my favorite iPhone browser, iCab Mobile, was updated to version 8.5 and I couldn’t be happier. It has even occurred to me that it’s absence was contributing to my prior dislike for my new iPhone 6.
ICab is a super functional, no-frills workhorse. I can’t possibly talk about all its features, but here’s what I love the most.
Why I like iCab over Safari and everything else
ICab has ad blocking, including those annoying ads that underline word’s randomly in text and look like legitimate links. This feature is indispensable, can’t live without it.
Real file uploads on almost any website, with any file. Grab any kind of file, not just photos, from your Dropbox or PDF app or wherever. Use ‘open in iCab’ and then the file shows up in iCab’s ‘Downloads’ list. From there upload it on any website. Real life saver. No other iOS browser I’ve tried has file uploads. This feature alone makes the iPhone and iPad keep me from having to lug around my laptop all the time.
Super customizable UI, move any button anywhere and change menu entries for any menu. Choose your search engine, search suggestion engine, browser ID, practically everything. Also full screen. I do wish I could export and save my settings file for posterity. Or post settings to share because maybe I haven’t figured out the optimal configuration but somebody else has?
What I like that’s new
Menus are in overlays now rather than taking up the whole screen. It maybe faster or give the illusion of being faster, and improves the visual cohesion.
Of course, the 1Password extension with TouchID is awesome.
Issues with iCab
I used to find iCab slow to load pages sometimes. Since my new phone, I don’t notice this anymore. Maybe due to the update? Or maybe the iPhone 6 is just faster overall.
Every once in awhile there are false positives with the ad filtering function where say the whole comments section for an article is completely blocked. The filters are configurable, but the menu is burried a little deep in the settings. The menu shows a little blue indicator next to the filters currently in use so you can turn them off to see if it brings things back so this is good. I do wish the filters settings were little more accessible and the currently used filters moved to to the top of the menu so they are even easier to find. I also wish the elements and their URLs that are being blocked were listed like Firefox’s adblock so that I could modify the filters to be specific rather than just turned on or off. All in all, I’m happy that there is ad blocking because iPhone screens are already so small and it’s so annoying when I accidentally touch that gigantic moving car popover rather than the tiny little ‘x’ in the corner to close the thing so I can get on with seeing the webpage I want (/end rant).
The only other issue I have is also a pro: there are just so many configurations! Some things would be nice if they were more accessible rather than burried deep in a menu somewhere. But the real issue is it takes a long time and a lot of fiddling to get it just right. This is where, like I said, being able to share or post settings files would be nice. Maybe even iCloud.
ICab mobile is the best, can’t live without it! Once you get it all set up the way you like it there’s no going back.