Opera Mini for iPhone Approved, in App Store now


Opera has just announced that their Opera Mini browser for iPhone has been approved [Free - iTunes link]. According to Engadget, it's already popping up in some international App Stores and should/could be in your App Store any time now. Update: looks like it's live now, go get it!

Opera Mini likely received approval because it's not an actual web rendering, JavaScript processing engine like Safari (or Firefox, IE, Chrome, etc.) but a proxy-browser. All the rendering and processing is done on Opera's servers and then compressed and sent to the app for display.

This also means it doesn't use as much data, and can thus usually display web pages faster and with slower data connections than a full-on browser -- especially useful for people on roaming data rates or on EDGE connections.

It breaks SSL encryption by necessity however (https sites), so while you may want to use it to traveling the outskirts, you'll like want to avoid it when mobile banking downtown.

(You also might want to use it for it's on-page text search feature -- something even iPhone OS 4 still lacks.)

Let us know when Opera Mini appears in the App Store for you, and if you try it, what you think of it. Video of Dieter checking out the pre-release version after the break!

[Thanks to everyone who sent this in!]

YouTube link

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Opera Mini for iPhone Approved, in App Store now


IMO safari is still better, Opera Mini is fast and all, but it seems like I'm using a browser from another OS, it misses that iPhone feeling. Was it made entirely with the iPhone SDK anyone??

I just got it here in atlanta (jailboken phone) works very nice. Safari needs a overhaul. Until then i choose opera!

Wow! this is good. Especially since i'll be getting my fourth generation iPhone soon. Imagine the Opera speed on the at&t 3G network? it'll be super fast. But, if the so called Verizon iPhone were to put it up to the test, it will just be a, normal safari like web browser speed. Pretty much..

Slightly off-topic, but this bookmarklet will give you find-in-page functiionality on Mobile Safari. It does not give you the find previous/find next goodness of a full blown implementation, but it will tell you how many matches were on the page, and highlight them for you:
To create it directly on the iPhone, create a bookmark, then edit it. Name it something Descripting (like Find in Page), then copy the above into the URL field. (The comment software will not allow me to put it in a link for easy copying; If you see spaces when you copy it, sorry, you will have to remove them manually, sorry. (Rene, please feel free to edit this comment or put it in HTML so that people can Copy Link Address to get it as is.)

Just tried the Opera browser... It is indeed very fast but miles away from the mobile safari experience. It feels like using an old browser from a long time ago. Nice try Opera but I'm not moving away form safari yet

super fast (2 to 3 times faster than safari)
very well intagrated with iPhone
bookmarks nicer than safari bookmarks
no pinch to zoom
some rendering problems on certain sites ( words getting muddled on top of each other)
4/5 stars
might be king on the Blackberry but second place on iPhone , nothing to be ashmad of though as safari is just missing flash to be a perfect web Browser

I thought this day would never come. A bit disappointed in some of these reviews, I had high hopes for Opera but I guessed wrong. Not in the Canadian app store yet. Can't wait to try it!

Works here in Australia. But Opera's servers have already gone down. It doesn't load any pages anymore... But first impressions. Wow, so much quicker on 3G but landscape scaling is stuffed. It does indeed feel a little odd to use. But handy for travelling and there is no 3G connection available

Its on in canada!!! Just go into the app store, go to search then type in opera mini web then it should show up. Very impressed!!
Sent from opera mini on my iphone!

Decent first attempt Opera. I like how tabbed browsing works. I'm still using Safari. Kudos to Apple for approving this as well.

Downloaded im in the us, dont really see myself using this not even close to as good as safari. I feel like im using a blackberry again BARFFF!

I like it so far but its going to take some time to get used to. I have been using the safari browser since 07 but this looks to give it a run for its money.

I love how it's so fast and snappy, but not as polished as Safari. Still a great effort on Opera's part. Nice to now have an alternative browser.

The only thing I really like about it is there is a nice "find" feature...other than that, scrolling sucks, rendering sucks...I'll keep it around simply to have in case I need to search for something on a page or if I'm on EDGE.

Just installed it. Used to use it on a Nokia Symbian phone many moons ago and well, it hasn't changed much (Not necessarily a bad thing).
It is quick to download and render but it doesn't run client side Javascript (probably how they got it approved as that means it technically does not run 3rd party code - on the iPhone itself anyway), but that means it is good for reading sites and not so good for interactive sites.
Currently the most annoying thing is pinch to zoom only seems to toggle the zoom like double tap so there are only 2 zoom levels (in and out) and the zoom in appears to try and guess a column width on the page, which is only right about half the time (seems better in landscape). Hopefully they will fix this in the next release.
When scrolling it seems to have a tendency to drift off to the side. Sometimes this seems to be intentional on the browser's part to keep the current column left aligned and other times it seems to be a little too intolerant of not swiping perfectly vertically. Hopefully this is something else they can fix.
We shall see if Opera's servers melt as the iPhone userbase learns of its existence...
Top tip: turn on Full Screen in the preferences to get rid of the annoying red Opera title bar.

They didn't start developing Opera for iPhone yesterday, they've had quite a while to fine tune some of the obvious flaws. that is no excuse

@Fastlane: ditto
opera, u have to be better if u want me.
I will not bother downloading still I see better reviews.

Meh, doesn't seem any faster than Safari; maybe even slower. Tried on EDGE, about even. All that hoopla for nothing.
Besides, even Safari is so iPhone 1.0 at this point. ;)

Its ok but not as good as I'd hoped. Perhaps thats why apple let it in, maybe they wouldn't if it had blown safari out of the water! I think the lack of pinch to zoom is a fail and reduces accessibility for people like myself with poor vision as sometimes it won't zoom in enough. Scrolling is jerky and the overall feel is not a patch on safari. Still some things are nice and big data heavy web pages do load much faster. I see it as a nice alternative to safari but not a replacement. Hopefully updates will imporve. Perhaps they saved all the bells and whistles from this version in case apple rejected it!

I'm certainly no Apple fanboy - I use the iPhone through gritted teeth just for the breadth of apps, but Safari is a very clear generation or two ahead of Opera Mini. It renders better and offer much more granular control of the page than Opera offers.
I've used Opera Mini on other platforms where it's king of the hill. On the iPhone, it's a very distant second, and while its flaws were acceptable on older handsets, it seems like a pretty horrible experience in 2010.

I got it here in australia. And it works great. I like the tabbed system it has. Didnt like switching in safari. I am using it now for this comment

For me Opera Mini is unusable with the way pinch to zoom works. Either zoomed all the way in or all the way out doesn't work for me.

i downloaded it cause i remember how much i loved it on my blackberry.....and then i quickly remembered why i got rid of my blackberry. opera=fail

you guys are all totally missing the point. operamini is complimentary to safari. yes safari is vastly superior to om, but om is uber fast. really isn't even close. I use it to view forums and blogs. when u need info fast. also when I only get edge,that's when om really shines. you could have barely any reception yet om still amazingly fast. just my 2$

Horrible app! Rendering is done retardedly! Don't believe me? Go to us.playstation.com/index.htm on Opera Mini, and then go to Safari to see how the page should look!

It's faster than safari but safari is so much better as an actual browser speed isn't everything folks

Wow, I've never used opera but wanted to try it out because of all the hype about it.
Safari blows this thing out of the water. Opera has speed and that is it. Can't see myself using this in the future.

Its pretty cool, but not even close to safari. I'll use it often but ut will not replace safari. Thanks Opera.

Used it for a few seconds.. Deleted! Its not better than safari, Has a few cool UI things going on but thats about it.. The zoom sucks on it.. Safari is still king of mobile browsers..

It's nice. Pinch to Zoom working great. it's about the same speed as Safari. Not sure if I'll use it only, but I'll at least mix it in with the use of Safari.

Muero Says: "Doesn’t have tap-status-bar-to-jump-to-top."
Yes it does, you don't tap the status bar tho you tap the red bar below that which shows your website. Doesn't work in fullscreen tho as the red bar is hidden!
I like the browser a lot. It's great for at work where I only have 3G and no wifi and like to check a few blogs/forums for news. I can have all my tabs open and switching between them is ultra fast. No more stupid checkerboard when scrolling!
I agree with another poster that vertical scrolling is a little buggy as it wants to drift horizontally, unlike in Safari where it will "lock" onto a column of text. Someone else noticed that YouTube links do not work, they don't bring you to the iPhone YouTube app which is a fail.
Another thing I'd like is the ability to turn Mobile View on a site-specific basis, and not a global setting. If you guys haven't tried that yet, go into settings and give it a whirl. Works great on some blogs which aren't mobile formatted, but those that are mobile formatted fail when you turn this setting on.

pretty awesome app. fast as anything too.
BUT...and there always seems to be one...it's not rendering the pages as iPhone mobile pages, but as regular mobile. Like Facebook is in its crappy format (meh, i got the app :D). But Gmail is having problems coming up in it's awesome web app glory as well as others...hmm maybe Opera can add in something to tell the page to render for iPhone?

My biggest problem is that it only has two zoom levels- so pinch-zooming is no better than double-tapping- and doesn't properly zoom in on columns as Safari does. It's not all that much faster than Safari, either. The speed dial feature is nice, though.

The speed is nice, as is "Find in Page", but I don't see this being my go-to browser any time soon. I'll keep it on my phone, though, for certain use cases, such as when I want to quickly look something up while on a slow connection.

Ok so I've been using it more. I don't quite get it, renders pages kind of wierd. I do like that it appears to format most text columns to the iPhone screen, although it doesn't look when you are zoomed out. And zooming out should be the standard double tap.
One problem is it's hit or miss with iPhone specific sites. CNN and Reuters both have iPhone sites that are pretty nice. With Opera it gives me the crappy WAP site, can't even try to render the full site or find an option to get to the iPhone site. If I close Opera and then try to use the history to go back to somewhere it gives me a connection error.


  • Fast on GPRS and EDGE Connection through site compression.
  • Navigate fast in history (back and forth, no reloading of page)
  • Tabs
  • in Page search
  • Feels good


  • Can't be set up as Default browser, which consequently leads to:
  • Links from mail or homescreen and files are opened in safari
  • No "send link via mail" functionality
  • No possibility to disable compression on wifi networks, which leads to opera being slower on wifi than mobile safari.

All in all, we know, that Opera would have been rejected if they implemented all the functions I am missing. But it's still an awesome browser for when no wifi network is in reach. I have a 2g and most of the times I only have access to gprs and thats really when opera mini shines.

Unless I am missing something, Opera Mini does not render pull down menus. Try the adobe.com website which has two different kinds of pull down menus - all you can do is get the link at the top of the menu along the top of the page - the rest doesn't appear. The second type of sliding menu under Products and Solutions doesn't do anything, while on iPhone Safari it works reasonably well.
Opera Mini also makes a pig's ear of rendering a couple of my websites in which I have used standard CSS positioning and which work properly even in Internet Explorer 6! Most of the text is correctly positioned but there are a couple of blocks which have floated on top of other text. Dreamweaver doesn't report any browser incompatibilities ...
I don't know about Safari being king but this is an ugly frog. Maybe it will turn into a handsome prince but that is a good way off.

Mostly with 5tunner but otherwise i love it. its awesome. i can save passwords easily and dont have to worry about safari not remembering them. Few bugs, but what can I say, its a product launch. there will be bugs. AWESOME!

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