Microsoft nudges users to try out Edge mobile via prompts in the desktop version's settings

Edge Settings page on desktop with an ad for Edge mobile
Edge Dev

Microsoft is serving prompts on the desktop version of its Edge browser urging users to download the mobile app. While the prompt sits in the Settings area of the browser and isn’t a disruptive one that breaks your workflow, it seems to be a generic banner regardless of whether you have the mobile version of the browser installed or not, or if you have history and tab sync turned on across devices.

After a year of making its Chromium-based Edge browser available to the general public, the firm finally rolled out history and open tab sync with Edge 88, bringing the ability for users to sync their open tabs across devices. Coinciding with the desktop release, the Redmond firm also rolled out support for syncing history with the mobile versions of the browser.

Edge Settings page on desktop with an ad for Edge mobile
Edge Canary
Microsoft Edge for Android prompting that history sync is already enabled

The prompt seen today seems to urge users to try out cross-device sync by either serving a download link for the mobile version of Edge or automatically turning on sync for those that already have the browser installed. The banners are different on different versions and likely cycle through. From our testing, all versions of Edge on Windows 10 – Canary, Dev, Beta, and Stable – seem to serve the banner, which in some ways is an advertisement for its mobile offering.

The browser does not avoid displaying these banners for users that have the mobile app installed and sync enabled for the same account that is being used on the desktop. These ads also seem to be absent on macOS devices.

Microsoft’s push to get more users to adopt the mobile versions likely stems from the fact that the offering has not seen nearly as much popularity on mobile as compared to the desktop. StatCounter’s browser market share report for January 2021 suggests that Edge on mobile occupies less than 0.5% of the global share on mobile. In contrast, a NetMarketShare report for desktop browser share puts Microsoft’s Chromium-based offering at second place as of October 2020.

Microsoft Edge ad on Windows 10 search UI

Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Redmond company doubles down on serving ads for its Android and iOS versions of Edge in more areas on Windows 10. Currently, the Search UI still displays ads for Chromium-based Edge as Edge Legacy nears its end, even if the former is set as the default browser.

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