How to set up iOS 8 Action extensions in Safari

iOS 8 lets users access the functionality of third-party apps right from within Safari.

Matt Elliott Senior Editor
Matt Elliott is a senior editor at CNET with a focus on laptops and streaming services. Matt has more than 20 years of experience testing and reviewing laptops. He has worked for CNET in New York and San Francisco and now lives in New Hampshire. When he's not writing about laptops, Matt likes to play and watch sports. He loves to play tennis and hates the number of streaming services he has to subscribe to in order to watch the various sports he wants to watch.
Expertise Laptops | Desktops | All-in-one PCs | Streaming devices | Streaming platforms
Matt Elliott
2 min read

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With iOS 8, Apple has opened its famously closed ecosystem a bit, allowing developers to create app extensions that hook into Apple's own apps. Yesterday, I covered how to set up photo-editing extensions that let you use the edit tools of third-party photo apps without leaving Apple's own Photos app where all of your photos reside. Similarly, iOS 8's Action extensions let you use a variety of third-party apps without leaving Safari.

I am currently using three apps as Action extensions in Safari: 1Password, Promofly and Bing Translator from the Bing app. With these three extensions, I can enter any of my passwords for sites that require I log in, find promo codes when shopping, and translate a Web page -- all without needing to leave and then return to Safari. And the first two carry the added bonus of saving me from any copying and pasting.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

To set up an Action extension, tap Safari's share button located in the middle of the bottom row of buttons. From the pop-up share/action panel, you will see a colorful row of icons that are your sharing options. Below that is a row of black-and-white icons that are your action options, which include Add Bookmark, Add to Reading List, Copy and Print. Scroll all the way to the right and tap the More button.

From the Activities menu, you will see any installed apps that support Action extensions listed below the default Action options. Tap the toggle switch to enable an Action extension for an app and add it to the row of Action options on the share/action panel. Also, from the Activities list, you can drag items to reorder them. Alternatively, you can tap and hold on an Action icon from the share/action panel to change their order.

Are you using Action extensions in Safari? If so, which are your favorites?

For more iOS 8 tips, check out our explainer on iOS 8's extensions in addition to our complete guide on how to use iOS 8.