The mere mention of Internet Explorer brings a degree of disdained uninterest among people, especially with fancier browsers like Chrome and Firefox doing well catering to the needs of modern day browsing. However, the truth is that in the past couple of years, Internet Explorer has come leaps and bounds from the old joke that it is only good for downloading the .exe files of other browsers. We have always been fairly impressed with Internet Explorer on Windows Phone. But with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft has taken the game, one step higher up.
We have been playing around with the Nokia Lumia 630 off late and one of the features we really liked about the update was the move to IE 11. Here are the five features about Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Phone 8.1 that we really liked:
Ability to play videos inline
Playing videos on Windows Phone devices has not always been a great experience, especially if you are talking about videos embedded in the web pages. The long standing tiff between Google and Microsoft means there is still no official Youtube application for a Windows Phone device. However, with IE 11, you are able to play videos that are embedded in the web pages without the video automatically going fullscreen. This means, you can allow the video to play while you enjoy reading the textual content. This is especially useful for news sites like CNN which have a lot of video content embedded in the text.
Reading mode has been present on Internet Explorer for Windows 8.1. However, the credit for it must go to Apple who had introduced this as far back as iOS 6 or Mac OSX 10.8 on Safari. The reading mode, basically provides you a clutter free environment to let you enjoy reading content without any distractions. With reading mode on, the system hides away the address and menu bars to give you an immersive reading experience. Not all web pages support reading mode. You will need to check the address bar to see if the page supports reading mode. If it does, you will see a book kind of icon, which if you click, reading mode would be enabled.
Swiping gestures to go forward or back
We all rely on the navigation key or dedicated back buttons on our mobile devices to go to the previous page while browsing content. With Windows Phone 8.1, this is easier than ever. All you need to do is swipe with one finger towards the right if you need to go back and towards the left to go to the next page if you are behind your browsing history. The feature works with slightly longer swipes, ideally a full screen swipe. We were actually surprised how well it works on our Lumia 630, given we thought this was more of a gimmicky feature.
InPrivate Mode, what we call Incognito Mode on Chrome has finally made its way to Internet Explorer 11 on WP 8.1. This is a much needed feature, not only for a safer browsing experience, but for a lot more. For example, if you are in a field of content sharing, you always want to check what you have shared without any cookie being dropped, just to make sure things are working well. If this mode is enabled, the system will not save history, cookie or any sort of file from your browsing session. To access the private mode, you must click on the tabs icon next to the address bar, click on the menu dots in the tab view and then click on new inprivate tab.
Pin your favorite sites to the desktop with live tiles
You can pin your favorite websites now to the desktop on your Windows Phone 8.1 device and have a live tile which can be resized. The website must be optimised to support the feature, and in case it is, you will be able to see the content change dynamically when new stuff is added, directly on your desktop. A sweet and easy way to keep tabs and follow what’s happening on the webpages that matter to you.
Those were some of the cool new features of Internet Explorer on Windows Phone 8.1. Which one of them is your favorite? Let us know in the section below.