Friday, February 15, 2013

Odd URL selection behavior in Chrome on iOS

Chrome on iOS uses a combined search/URL bar, just like the full version of the browser. However, there's a bug in the implementation that makes copying URLs a tiny bit more annoying.

Normally, on iOS, selecting text automatically brings up a set of options for what to do with it. In text-entry fields, you can cut, copy, and paste over the text, and in read-only text displays, you can copy the text.
Selection options for a text-entry field.
Selection options for a read-only text display.
When you tap the URL bar on Chrome, the entire contents of the bar get selected. (In my experience, this is standard behavior on most desktop browsers.) However, in this case, Chrome doesn't display any options.
Where'd the options go?
The only way I know of to bring the options up is to tap the bar again, which deselects everything; tap once more, which brings up text selection options; and then tap the 'Select All' option, which finally selects the entire contents of the URL bar while providing options for what to do with the selection.
Tap once to deselect...
Tap again to bring up selection options...
Tap 'Select All' to select the URL...
Finally, the options you wanted in the first place.
The whole process takes 4 taps, when it really ought to take just 1.

This can be really annoying when you're trying to copy multiple URLs (to share by email, for instance). It's a small bug, and so it ought to be easy to fix.

Update: I've found another way to select the entire URL: tap and hold the URL bar. This selects the entire URL, and brings up a list of options for text selection. Tapping 'Select All' then keeps the text selected, and gives you options for using the selected text.
Tap and hold the URL...
Tap 'Select All'...
The options are now available.
The odd thing about this, however, is that tapping and holding the URL selects the text, while also asking whether the user wants to select text. In order to be consistent with standard selection behavior, Chrome should display the list of actions that can be performed on the selected text ('Cut', 'Copy' and 'Paste') instead.

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