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How to convert a Web App into a Native Windows 10 App

YouTube Chrome Web App in Windows 10

Nowadays almost all applications we use connect to internet and we are becoming more and more dependent on web apps. Some of you might be wondering how to turn a web app into native windows 10 app rather than depending on browsers to access the app services, for example YouTube or use Gmail as your default email app.

Chrome has introduced a feature which actually allows you to use any web services accessible through browser like native Windows app and even let you use some of them offline and in the background.

Web apps normally live in browsers but with this new feature Chrome allows dedicated windows for the web services you choose and they act like native Windows 10 app.

For example, with this feature enabled, you can access YouTube with a click of an icon instead of having to open the browser and type the domain name in the URL.

To turn a web service into a native web app, just launch Google Chrome and type in the domain name to access the site. Then open the menu by clicking the three dots in the upper-right corner of the browser as you are on the website, ie, YouTube.

As the Chrome menu is open, head down to the “More Tools,” then click the “Add to desktop.”

A dialogue box will popup with a control to rename the app, as well as a checkbox to open as a window. It is recommended to keep it checked for a more desktop-like experience. Once you are set, click the “add” button, so Chrome will ass a shortcut to the website on your desktop. Now just drag the shortcut onto taskbar to pin it. So your web app is ready to use like a native Windows app.

Chrome web app dialogue box

Use Web Apps As Your Default App

You can also turn some services like Gmail as default application to open certain links. So it opens Gmail rather than your system default app (Outlook) whenever you click a mailto: link anywhere on your system.

To do this, just launch the web service that can become your default application for a certain task, such as Gmail. Then in the far right of browser location bar,  you should see an eye-like icon, click it to open the dialogue box and select “Allow”. From now on, any mailto: link will open Gmail.

Default Gmail Chrome app

Firefox also lets you control applications that the browser uses for various purposes. For example, to set Gmail as your default mail app, just click “options” in the menu and click “Applications” tab. Now you should see a “mailto” option, set it to Gmail. Just like that, you can set various apps to open certain documents and links in the “Applications” panel.

firefox default apps

Run Web Apps In The Background

Chrome also lets you run web apps in the background, so it continues to sync data for offline use even when the browser doesn’t appear to be running. By default this feature is active, and to optionally disable, head over to “Settings” and click “Advanced” then “System,” you can now enable or disable this feature.

Web apps have become integral part of our online life and many of the apps we use nowadays have something to do with the web.

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