Safari Queue, the iOS companion app for Safari, is now available in iTunes.
About Safari Queue 1.0
Our goal for the first release of Safari Queue was to provide a great experience for reading books and videos when offline — by far our most requested feature, difficult to provide in a standalone web application.
Unlimited offline availability
Queue places no limits on the amount of content you can download and store offline (beyond available disk space on your device!). Both books and videos are available for offline use, but be careful — some of our exclusive conference videos can be quite long!
Sync your favorites and must-read titles
We call the app Safari Queue because it syncs with your new Safari queue, a list of titles that you’ve queued for reading or watching later. Once you’ve added a title to your queue, it will automatically appear in the app and will be available for download. (It works the other way, too; removing an item from your queue makes it no longer available in the native app.)
Haven’t used the queue yet?
Adding items to your queue is simple. In the new Safari web application, just click or tap the queue icon anywhere it appears — you’ll find the icon in lots of places: the reading/viewing interface, the table of contents, the book detail page, and elsewhere. Once added, the title is available in the iOS application.
While the app will check for changes to the queue very regularly, if you’re an impatient offliner, just pull the queue to refresh.
Download for offline
Once you’ve added some items to your queue, log into the Safari Queue iOS app and you’ll be presented with a list of your queued items. When you log in for the first time, the app will automatically download the most recently queued item.
Now that the app has automatically downloaded the first item in your queue, the title card appears in a “lit” state, indicating that it is available for reading, both online and off. Download more items to your device simply by tapping on more title cards. Tap an in-progress download to pause it, and tap again to restart it.
Now you’ve got all the reading and viewing material you could need for your commute, your flight, or wherever being connected to the internet is not a possibility.
Books versus videos
In Safari Queue, downloading videos works differently from downloading books. While the file size for our books can be large (but rarely more than 50 MB), some of our videos are huge. Given the size of some of these files, we thought a lot about how to offer a great user experience while respecting your storage and bandwidth limits. To that end, we distinguish between how books and videos download.
If you tap on a title book card in your queue, the app will download the entire book (even if you queued only a single chapter). When you open that book for the first time in the app, you’ll be taken to the beginning of the book or your most recently viewed section.
But if you tap a video card, the app downloads only a single clip. Tapping on the video card again will present you with a manifest of all of the video clips. You can choose which clips to download from this manifest and pause and restart any in-progress downloads.
We realize that the distinct downloading logic between books and videos may be disconcerting the first time that you use it. But the file size and length of several of our most popular video titles made single-clip downloading a very easy decision. Complete video compilations can easily take up several gigabytes of disk space. We felt it would be better to give you the ability to opt-in to use that space as you wished rather than insisting on bloating your device with multiple gigs worth of data.
What else does the app do?
As we said above, the app’s number one job is to provide support for offline reading and watching. That said, this first release of Safari Queue includes several other features that we’re excited about:
- A beautiful, distraction-free reading/viewing interface, with support for night mode, sharing, and more
- Position syncing between the iOS and web applications on any device: the new Safari platform (web and native apps) remembers your most recent position and takes you there, assuming you are online
- Universal support for iOS devices running iOS 7+
- Full-screen video playback that automatically advances to your next downloaded clip; the same feature works nicely for our growing list of audio books
This is just the beginning for Safari Queue. In the coming weeks and months, we’re going to be building the application out further, with new features and improvements. We’d love to hear what features you’d most like to see in the application.
What about Android?
If you’re not on iOS, you might be wondering what’s happening with the Android version of the application. We’re happy to report that the work is already underway. We’re not creating a carbon copy clone of the iOS app, but are instead focusing on an Android app that will take advantage of native interactions. The beta program will open soon, so if you’re interested in taking part, please request access to our Google Community, and let us know you’d like to participate.
- Safari Queue is for users of the new Safari (since July 1, 2014). If your Safari looks like this then please use the Safari to Go on your iOS device.
- Safari Queue is a universal app for iOS devices running iOS 7+.
- Safari Queue is fully functional for trial users, so you can create a free trial today and get started immediately.
- There is full support for offline books and offline video.
- The amount of material you can download for offline is limited only by available space on your device.
- You can remain offline for up to 14 days, after which time you will need to go online and allow the app to re-authenticate.