Opening links to iTunes content (music, videos, podcasts, apps)

Number:rdar://50480706 Date Originated:2019-05-05
Status:open Resolved:
Product:iOS -> UIKit Product Version:iOS 12.2 (16E227)
Classification:UI/Usability Reproducible:Always

Opening URLs to iTunes content with UIApplication.OpenExternalURLOptionsKey.universalLinksOnly always fails and passes false to the completion handler, even if the relevant Apple app (for example, Apple Podcasts) is on the device.

If the relevant Apple app has been deleted from the device, there is no way to display the content without restoring that relevant Apple app. It seems like Safari View Controller or Safari could display the web page that a browser on another platform would display.

My biggest wish is for an app to be able to treat an iTunes URL like any other URL that iOS may or may not prefer to open with an installed app.

This is the case with all iTunes media types (apps, podcasts, music, videos), although in some cases the appropriate Apple app cannot be removed from the device.

Steps to Reproduce:

1. If Apple Podcasts has been deleted from a device, reinstall it from the App Store.
2. Run the attached sample app on a device. The attached sample app tries to open an Apple Podcasts link to the Accidental Tech Podcast.
3. Tap “Call openURL with universalLinksOnly” in the sample app. Observe that nothing happens, and that the console logs “result of opening with universalLinksOnly: false”. I would expect that to open the link in Apple Podcasts.
4. Tap “Present a Safari View Controller”. Observe that the user is routed to Apple Podcasts, but not without first seeing a Safari View Controller open and then be dismissed.
5. Delete Apple Podcasts from the device.
6. Tap “Call openURL with no options”. Observe that the user is prompted to restore Apple Podcasts. It seems like the URL could be opened in Safari.
7. Tap “Present a Safari View Controller”. Observe that a Safari View Controller is presented, and then it prompts the user to restore Apple Podcasts. I would expect the Safari View Controller to display the web page.


iOS 12.2 (16E227)


Seen on an iPad Air 2.


The sample app is at:


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