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What are Universal Links?

Universal Link | Definition

Universal Links is a deep linking protocol created by Apple and was introduced in iOS versions 9+ to largely replace the normal deep linking process.

Universal Links enables app developers to create a two-way association between their mobile app and website. One Universal Link URL works to open both a website and its associated mobile app content depending on the user’s preference, and whether they have the app installed when clicking the link.

With Universal Links, user routing is handled directly by the operating system, rather than a redirect via Safari or the user’s default browser. These links are safer and have increased performance over traditional deep links, according to Apple. Universal Links allow app developers to gives users a seamless mobile experience, whether the app is installed on the user’s device or not.

App Links is Android’s equivalent of Apple’s Universal Links.

Illustration depicting universal link flow