Diigo indie Web browser for iOS merits more attention than it’s getting

Sections: Features, Hands On / First Looks, iDevice Apps, iPad, iPad Air, iPad mini, iPhone, iPhone/iPod touch/iPad, iPod touch

submit to reddit

I’m a pretty heavy user of Web browsers, and usually have four or five of them open at any given time, with literally dozens of page tabs loaded—both with my Macs and with the iPad.

In iOS, Safari is the no-brainer choice as one’s “anchor” browser, with its close integration with the OS, and the fact that virtually every other browser is a Safari derivative “under the hood.”

However, I also use the indie Puffin browser with its data compression function for speed and its support for Flash video that Safari and its variants don’t have for newsreading, and Sleipnir for its thumbnail tabs that preview page content. However, as a platform for doing Web research, while I used to opt mostly for Chrome until a bug was introduced late last year that made it cranky about cutting and pasting into or from the search entry field. That seems to have finally been fixed with the latest upgrade of the app, but it inclined me to look around for another browser app to use for doing research. After giving Dolphin and Maxthon a try, I came back to Diigo, which was one of the first iOS browsers I used when I first got my iPad, and the app that became Diigo was named “iChromy.”

DiigoI was pleased to discover that Diigo v5.7, which was released on February 27, has evolved to become a solid, fast browser that still resembles Chrome in some good ways, but has a distinct personality of its own, and includes a Reader feature that works similarly to Safari’s. Maxthon also theoretically has a Reader mode, but I haven’t been able to get it to work in recent builds of the iOS app. The one in Diigo works great, as do other aspects of the browser, which is a good choice as a general purpose browser.


The only problem I’ve encountered with Diigo is that for whatever reason it will sometimes refuse to load a page, making a cut and paste of the URL into Safari, which has always proved capable of loading a page that Diigo choked on. However, that only happens very occasionally, and isn’t enough of an aggravation to put me off Diigo.


Diigo, née iChromy, dates back to 2005 and claims seven million downloads, and was the first browser to bring Chrome’s user interface attributes to the iPad. Like all of the browsers I’ve cited above, Diigo supports tabbed browsing. It also has an offline mode, privacy mode, find in page, and the ability to remember passwords, and it can disguise itself as a desktop browser.


I’ve found Diigo to be a solid, dependable, workhorse browser that lets you open as many tabs as you like and nests them (similarly to Chrome) for swipable review rather than pushing them into the background like Safari does once in excess of ten tabs are open. Diigo has also proved very stable, and like its Chrome inspiration, it’s a good, no-nonsense workaday browser with a useful feature set.

diigoDiigo, pronounced as “Dee’go”, is an abbreviation for “Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other stuff.” Diigo’s 12-person development team says they especially like the “Other stuff” part, which gives them an open mandate to innovate and provide better and better value to to Diigo users. Such as supporting:

  • Read more effectively with annotation tools as you browse around the web. Add digital highlighters and sticky notes whether on PC, tablets, or mobile, and have them always be where you left them when you return.
  • Print to mark-up? No longer necessary. Better recall? Proven, say the developers.
  • Create reports with your annotations? just a few clicks, and no more copy & paste into Word or email.
  • Build your personal library in the cloud, with links, pages, notes, pictures etc, never to be lost, and ready to be accessed anywhere. Those digital highlights, sticky notes and screenshots you added while going around the web automatically go into your library.
  • Say goodbye to broken links and lost treasures. The valuable content you found earlier is often no longer there when needed. More than just bookmarking, Diigo archives the webpages for the links you save, and the archived pages are fully searchable.
  • Provide feedback and catch attention with annotation or screenshots. Want to draw attention to a particular paragraph to your Twitter followers? Highlight it and tweet. Want to comment on a student’s writing? Use sticky notes for inline commenting. Want to provide feedback on a web design? Capture the page and mark it up.


  • Organize your information as little or as much as you want. Since Diigo provides powerful search capabilities, the simple act of saving or annotating something, often with just one-click, will enable you to find it easily later. But of course, when you do want better organization, for easier review, for connecting the dots, for better sharing, for presentation, or whatever, Diigo provides organization capabilities, with both tagging and lists, to suit different needs.
  • Share information as much or as little as you want. One advantage of storing information in the cloud is that you can share them easily when you want to. Each piece of information can be set as private or public on Diigo, accommodating both extroverts and introverts. If you want to send a whole collection to someone, it’s just a few clicks away.
  • Enable better collaboration on information for groups, large or small. Build a group knowledge repository for your family, your class, your team, or your company; each group member can add and subscribe to it, and browse and search it. Group members can interact with on-the-page annotations.

Diigo requires iOS 6.0 or later, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch (optimized for iPhone 5). For more information, visit

Print Friendly