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Edge Canary gets link handling for web apps

The latest version of Microsoft Edge Canary brings a new notable feature for progressive web apps. Users can enable a new experimental flag to let PWAs "handle" links. In other words, you can open links from other programs directly in related web apps instead of launching the browser.

Here is an example of how this feature works: you receive a message in Telegram with a YouTube link. You click the link, and Windows opens it in the YouTube PWA instead of the browser.

An example of link handling in Edge Canary

To enable link handling for progressive web apps, do the following:

  1. Update Microsoft Edge Canary to the latest version. You can download Edge Canary from the official Edge Insider website.
  2. Ensure Edge Canary is your default browser. If you use Windows 11 22H2, here is how to change the default browser with a single click.
  3. Install a web app, such as YouTube or Reddit, by clicking a button in the address bar.
    A button to install a progressive web app in Edge
  4. Go to edge://flags/#edge-webapp-link-handling and select Enabled.
    The experimental flag in Microsoft Edge to enable link handling in PWA
  5. Restart the browser.
  6. Go to edge://apps, find the web app you need, and click Details.
    Microsoft Edge Settings showing how to enable link handling for PWAs
  7. Turn on the Link handling toggle.
    Microsoft Edge Settings showing how to enable link handling for PWAs
  8. Try opening a link that leads to the website installed as a web app.

It is worth noting that the link handling feature has some quirks. For example, Edge Canary cannot open a shareable YouTube link (youtu.be) in a PWA but has no problem launching the web app with a regular youtube.com link.

Also, the new flag does not affect how Edge works with websites installed as apps. There is a difference between fully-fledged progressive web apps (those Edge offers you to install from the address bar) and websites that simply open in dedicated windows. For now, Edge cannot open external links in websites installed as apps. Instead, the browser launches as usual and opens the link in a regular tab.

Thank you, Leopeva64-2, for the tip!

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