10 hot web browsing tips for Windows Phone

10 hot web browsing tips for Windows Phone

  • Comments 46
  • Likes

I love shortcuts, and am a big fan of the “search faster” one from our pre-Mango tip sheet for Internet Explorer Mobile (still applicable and worth a read to brush up).

But with all the new enhancements in IE9 Mobile for Windows Phone 7.5, I figured it was time for a new collection of tips to help you zip through the new turbocharged browser. So I asked my team—the very people who built the browser—for their favorite tips, tricks, or shortcuts. Here are the top 10:

Starter tips

The responses fell into two categories—simple tips that you might stumble on by just using IE9 Mobile and ones that aren’t so obvious. Here are the top starter tips:

1. Easier reading: Double tap on a block of text to zoom in for easier reading. Double tap again to zoom out.

2. Quicker calling and mapping: If you see a phone number or address on a site that looks like a link, tap it to quickly place a call or view the address on a map! (Note: this feature isn’t available everywhere.)

Tap on linked phone numbers or addresses to quickly dial or map them.

3. Check phone status: In the new browser, we did our best to maximize the amount of space dedicated to websites by hiding things like the status bar. To quickly check the time, signal strength, or battery indicator, just tap More (…) or the address bar.

4. Share sites to Facebook and Twitter: Easily share the website you’re viewing to your favorite social networks by tapping More (…) and then Share page.  From there, select Social networks and you’re on your way!

Advanced tips

It’s unlikely you’d come across these shortcuts immediately. But they can take your web browsing to a whole new level.

5. Press and hold: Press and hold on links to copy, share, or open them in a new tab. Press and hold on a picture to save or share it with someone.

Press and hold on a link to see a list of options

6. See the entire URL: Ever want to see more of what’s in the address bar? Simply swipe left or right on the text and watch it scroll into view.

7. Faster tab switching I: If you open a new tab (via press and hold or the tabs view), the hardware Back button can take you to the previous tab once you’ve cycled through all the sites visited on the current tab.

8. Faster tab switching II: To quickly switch between two or more tabs, press and hold the Back button to open the App switcher. Then just flick to the webpage you want to see again and tap it. The App switcher will show any tabs that you’ve recently viewed.

The App switcher can also be used to switch between tabs

9. Using Bookmarklets: If you use Bookmarklets, you’ll be happy to know they also work in IE9 Mobile. Just tap the Add to favorites menu option, type or paste in the Bookmarklet code into the URL field, and change the title to something descriptive. To access your Bookmarklet, tap More (…) > Favorites. Or use the next tip.

10. Faster favorites: Love your favorites? Here’s a quick way to access them: Start typing the name or URL of a favorite in the address bar and watch it pop up in the auto-suggestion box. Then just tap on it to navigate.

We'd love to hear how you’re using IE9 Mobile! Add stories, feedback, or your favorite tips & tricks in the comments below.

Amin Lakhani, Program Manager, Windows Phone Engineering

Update: My team loved this tip from @Entegy so much that we're promoting it to spot #11. Excellent comment, thanks!

11. Check phone status (advanced): Tap and hold More (...) and drag up very slightly to reveal the status bar. Drag down and release to make it disappear.

You must be logged in to comment. Sign in or Join Now
  • Tonye5
    1 Posts

    I use a webpage for work it is ( astea2.decisionone.com/.../Default.aspx ) I go to

    it 30 times a day at least.  Since I updated to mango 7.5 it won't store my login info, so I have to log in every time, it is anoying.  I also tried it on my brother inlaw's Samsung Focus 7.5 and the same thing.  I've downloaded every browser in the marketplace I have found, to no avail.  If this is not the right place for this, where would be the best place to post this?  Thanks

  • Shoey5
    3 Posts

    Here's a tip that takes a bit of practice but works pretty good. One handed zoom in/out on a page. Tap + Tap/Slide up to zoom in or Tap + Tap/Slide down to zoom out. Basically Tap once and then quickly tap and slide in one motion in the desired direction. Useful in situations when you're walking and carrying a phone in one hand and something else in the other hand.

    BTW, the WP7 browser really needs virtual forward/backwards buttons. If you open IE and want to go back or forward on URL that is already loaded, you can't!

  • http://www.1smartphone.ru IOS. Android. Symbian. Windows Phone. Все операционные системы для смартфонов и коммуникаторов.

  • @ Cobalt Dragon,

    The lack of a separate volume control is exactly why I chose not to go back to WP7. I was waiting for this to be added since initial release and guess what--still not included in Mango. So don't hold your breath.

    But I like the idea of having to call voice mail just so you can set call volume ;)

  • stevesu
    2 Posts

    2 questions

    1.  TAB - Most sites that require either logon creds or forms would make tabbing through the boxes a necessity.  Is there a way to tab?  For instance i use many pages with logon  requirements and the phone usually stores the user name, but won't show the password because i can't tab to it from the user name field (like on a desktop).

    2.  Refresh - Some pages i use would be great to have a page refresh button...  like pages with sports score updates, etc.  Is there a way to refresh the page?

  • markiz
    40 Posts

    And where the hell is the find in page?!

  • markiz
    40 Posts

    I HATE that favourites and tabs icons are gone. Can't find words strong enough to desribe it. Makes browsing multiple pages painful.

  • Just bring back the tab chooser to the app bar already. That is why your rating is so low on this article.

  • Tips 3 & 11 are nice, but unfortunately only works in portrait mode: is there a way to view phone status in landscape mode ?

  • Janis91
    5 Posts

    The only thing that bus me is that touch.facebook.com isn't working very well. Is this FB's or IE9's fault?

  • great!! didnt know most of them!! thanks! :)

  • Nice job overall. I have to say, however, I'm extremely disappointed that with the Mango update you removed the 'Find on Page' functionality (and to a lesser extent the 'Forward' funtionality). This was the one thing that really set it apart from iPhone/Safari and was sad to see it go.  When will it make its triumphant return? I hope soon...-b

  • maceike
    3 Posts

    When are you guys going to add navigation options (forward/etc). That should be one of the main components of any browser.

  • tsrblke
    327 Posts

    @Rodney E. Jones

    I don't think there's actually an upper limit....if there is It's huge, I've seen some huge numbers of live tiles.

  • geogeek
    7 Posts

    So, where is that v1.4 update?

  • @ Anyone

    How many vertical rows of live tiles can you add to the start screen in Mango?

  • @ Rodbey , Yes it has been always there. Both WP7 and Mango.

  • Back to the "Big Windows Phone" AKA the Monolith... www.facebook.com/windowsphone

    I think  "The Far East Movement" musical group could really make WP take off.  It would probably be a good idea to have multiple commercials featuring these guys, and girls. They are very modern, popular and hip with the current pop scene, it would just be a great way to attract the youth in a positive manner. Kia motor company is running an ad campaign "ON TV believe it or not" featuring LMFAO, another popular group, and those dancing mice. Those ads are great and very entertaining.

    The idea is to have informative ads, and also entertaining ads as well. The first set of WP commercials weren't as bad as the press says they were, it's just that their was no informative commercials to balance them out.

    I think  "TFEM" is to release a new album soon. One of the members plugged a project call 'dirty base'' in the Big W. Phone interview on Monday. I hope to see these guys ,ON TV, with Windows Phone soon.

  • drankurn
    42 Posts


    try posting your comments about focus 1.4 here ,also give your votes to the thread.

  • @ n4blue

    Yes!  "10. Faster favorites: Love your favorites? Here’s a quick way to access them: Start typing the name or URL of a favorite in the address bar and watch it pop up in the auto-suggestion box. Then just tap on it to navigate."

    That's the only way to do this. Make sure that in settings you have the "open links in a new tab" box selected, and give suggestions from Bing checked . You should be able to skip all of the steps you mentioned if you just start typing the first few letters of your favorite in the address bar. Look to the bottom of the list for your favorite because it will show Bing suggestions first and below will be your saved favorites. Now, you only have 6 tabs so after you run out of new tabs pages will start to replace your current tab. Luckily you can deleted old tabs or just search over them.

    Good luck!

  • n4blue
    3 Posts

    Great tips.

    Is there a quick way to open a favourite in a new tab? Right now it seems I have to click tabs, then add, then go to favourites. Would be great if there was 'open in new tab' on the favourites pop-up menu.

  • danielgr
    73 Posts

    Living in JP my first WP7 experience was Mango, and has to say I really love the browser. Things I'd like to see in the future (which are not based on any previous experience because I had none, it's been IE9 for me since day1):

    - A setting that allows me to open links in other tabs in the background. Typically my browsing patters involve one main site from which I launch lyncs. Right now it's annoying that IE9m takes me the the new tabs all the time, and forces me to go back to the Tabs button, then main

    - Implement a way to save bookmarks in the cloud (without syncing to PC bookmarks, which are far too many for a phone).

    - Optionally bring the tabs button back to the front (though I understand that pressing the "back button" will do for some, because WP7 dynamically drops programs from memory at wish, when using tabs a lot they tend to disappear...)

    - Make a homepage showing most frequently used websites like in PC IE9, instead of bringing me to the last site viewed, which is rarely where I want to go first ('cause usually I left IE9 after having read that site). Again, it could be optional ...

    Keep it up !

  • The Tango app is awesome. Free voice and video calls in a simple interface. It even finds your friends who already have Tango so you can get started right away.

  • @ Cobalt Dragon

    Yes, customization is fun. Allot of us realized that customization can get in the way of the main functions of the OS. The WP experience is so functional, in a natural and beautiful way, to use that we don't miss mass customization much. You will find that with time your start screen will become customized. After you move this and add or remove that it will be yours and tailored just for you with the Information YOU need. Something you just can't get with a see of icons.

    Never the less, one way to customize your start screen is with with the pictures hub tile. All the photos you add to " favorites" will scroll on the live tile! Also, use apps like "Mega Tile" to make customized live tiles, and groups of tiles. There are other apps in the marketplace as well. Have fun!

  • @ Jason

    Try erasing the tile and pinning it again, and check your settings. You will find that periodically, but rarely, you will have to reload application live tiles in order for push notifications to continue. I just had to reload the WPCentral tile, which you should try, yesterday.

  • Jason
    11 Posts

    So far I am loving this phone. I have a Focus S and it's great. My one issue is that for some reason my girlfriends tile will not update. I've tried resyncing FB and nothing.

  • @Rodney - thanks for the link. Yes, been on android for the last couple years, but love the WinPhone interface and decided to give it a try (tired of a screen full of 100 app icons). I do miss the configurability of Android, though. Been testing MS products since 1994, and am always happy when I can find a place for another MS offering in my life.

  • @ Cobalt Dragon

    Never fear! I'm sure MS is aware of the single volume control issue people have with the OS. I am very positive it will be resolved in one of the future updates. The best thing you can do is to register at the following site, search for this issue and vote for it to be changed.... windowsphone.uservoice.com/.../101801-feature-suggestions

    Welcome to our community, we're glad to have you hear. Previous smartphone user?

    One thing that may help you with your lack of volume control is that the voice call volume is adjustable while making a call. I usually call my voicemail and make my adjustments. Hope this helps a bit. Just hang in there OK?

  • Great tips, thanks. I got my first WinPhone today (HTC Radar) and these are great to know. The one thing that will probably make this my last WinPhone is that there is only one master volume....um, this is a serious oversight.

  • @ cm3763

    No offense to those with the 1.4 issue..... Yeah, they need to respond today with something! This is fragmentation, and it's not what we were promised. I can't figure out why yesterday a MSE posted his contact information for those who are on 1.4 to email him. Maybe that was an attempt to get random phones to send MS data, which makes me think there is a issue in that department. Now, this is just pure speculation on my part, and just a idea of what's going on. Please don't spread this to far.

  • @ Amin

    How many vertical rows of live tiles can you add to the start screen in Mango?

  • Leigh
    89 Posts

    All you people with focus V1.4 problems, check the recent blog entries and email Brian Seitz (I'm not sure how Brian will feel about me announcing this, so you can find his email yourself ;0 ).   If you get some relief on your V1.4 problem, post it here.

    Good Luck!

  • Sweet! Are you going to bring back the find on page feature? I really miss it and am confused as to its removal :(

  • SamJost
    4 Posts

    I'd love a way to sync my favorites / bookmarklets between my phones and / or my PCs. It's a bit annoying not to find a bookmarklet because I set it on the other phone, or because I resetted the phone and these had been lost.

  • cm3763
    37 Posts


    I really agree with you. I know I have been one of the constant complainers of not having it but after waiting months before and now again on mango this is getting hard. We constantly see everything we can do IF we get an update. I have said since the NoDo update they should have recalled the v 1.4. Then no one would be upset right now. The problem that is presented now, is that Att apparently is telling customers that Focus 1.4 will not be getting mango at all. With Microsoft choosing not to respond it seems that this might be the case.

  • Real estate: Why isn't the address bar auto-hidden? That is a pretty big real estate savings waiting to happen.

    Sharing to FB/Twitter: Why isn't the title carried over in the "text" for the share? I have to remember the title of the page/post before sharing, otherwise it goes as a URL-only.

    Press and hold on a link: Can we have an iOS-style expansion of the link destination on the press-and-hold of a URL?

  • I just wish I could get the Favorites icon back.  Going through my Favorites takes an extra click now.  #10 is pretty much useless if you go to a particular website a lot (in my case, http://m.gizmodo.com).  And what's up with removing the Forward button?

  • Awesh
    9 Posts

    WOW post.. i am using ie 9 on WP7 and its awesome...

  • WixosTrix
    16 Posts

    Something that was missed in these tips.  Highlighting a word(s) and hitting the search button initiates a Bing search with the highlighted text.

  • Either MS needs to get this v1.4 update out or get these boys some new phones because I'm sick and tired of hearing about it!

  • purevibz
    14 Posts

    I wish I could do that with my focus v1.4 but guess what I can't because i don't have the update yes...come on give us info on when we will get the update thats all we ask!!!!

  • @ Entegy

    No, After the Mango update it doesn't work anymore. Yes, the files had to be loaded as png, so they couldn't be saved on the phone directly from the browser, rather they had to be sent by email or text message and saved as wallpaper. Now you could select the share option while in the browser and send them to yourself and it would work fine, but saving to the phones memory would cause the files to be converted making them usable, but not transparent.

    I'm sure it has something to do with the audio controls that are "stuck" to the lock screen now. I love the audio controls in Mango, but somehow I want my transparent wallpapers back. Animated wallpapers, on the LOCK SCREEN, would also be nice.

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    @Rodney E. Jones, can't you do that with a transparent PNG, but you can't have a PIN?

  • Back when were able to have transparent backgrounds on the lock screen it made it easy to see the information on the start screen without unlocking the phone. All you had to do is touch the screen and BAM! This really should be added as a option in the future.

  • Entegy
    42 Posts

    Here's my slightly more "advanced" way of checking status while in the browser. Grab the ... at the bottom right, then slide your finger slightly up, but don't let go of the screen. Once you've checked the status bar, slam your finger back down. The way I do it, I move the app bar up ever so slightly and don't let it go so I don't have it taking up half the screen and there have to move my finger up half the screen to close it again (although pressing Back will close the app bar as well!)

  • Didn't know that about # 10. Faster favorites. Has that always been there, or is it one of the "500"?