If an app uses a web browser component, you may be able to find out the URL of the page displayed by looking at its address bar. However, if the app is using its own rendering engine or native browser control for displaying web pages, you will need to use a different method to determine the URL of a page.
To get a webpage's URL from a mobile app:
- Determine which API calls are made on a given webpage and intercept them as they are about to occur.
Once you have captured all of these API calls, search through them for any URLs that the web browser might visit. The addresses within these API calls should be identical to those shown in your browser's address bar when visiting the same site.
- Use the device's built-in debugging tools to gain access to the webpage from a mobile app.
- This is usually done by taking advantage of your device's USB debugging option, which may be labeled as something different depending on your device and operating system. It will require you to enable a permission setting in the settings section of an app using this type of technology. Note that some browsers might not report errors when a page fails to load properly, but simply show a blank screen instead or provide a message saying that there was no internet connection.
In addition, it must be noted that iOS does not allow for remote debugging via USB by default. In order for this to work, you must enable this feature on your device.
- Check the permissions within the app's settings menu for debugging APIs that might allow you to capture webpages as they are being displayed on a mobile device.
If any of these options are present, it will be possible for you to use them in order to retrieve website links from an app.
- On iOS devices, this is usually done through the Safari section of the Settings menu.
- On Android smartphones and tablets, this can usually be found under either Developer Options or Applications Manager .
- Some apps may only make use of system-related debugging tools instead of providing their own. In this situation, it can still be possible to find out what webpage is displayed by looking at server logs after the app has been used.
Note that these logs will only hold information on the URLs of webpages that were visited, not what happened during an individual visit.
- Check your device's server logs to find out which addresses are accessed by a given app when it is in use. - Many apps use HTTP requests to receive data from servers, so it may be possible for you to view online web traffic through this method if certain debugging APIs have already been enabled on your device. Otherwise, you can still configure your firewall or virtual private network (VPN) service in order to intercept and see incoming HTTP requests between your device and various servers. After all of these steps have been carried out, check the website address listed for each request in order to identify which addresses are visited.
- If your device is using iOS 10 or later, you may be able to view Android app traffic in the same way if it is not otherwise blocked by apps that use their own rendering engines.
- If your device is running Android 7.0 Nougat or later, you may be able to view iOS app traffic in the same way if it is not otherwise blocked by apps that use their own rendering engines.
- If your device is running Google Chrome OS, you will be able to view iOS and Android app traffic in the same way if it is not otherwise blocked by apps that use their own rendering engines.
- If your device uses Chromium OS as the base for its operating system, you will also be able to view iOS and Android app traffic in the same way if it is not otherwise blocked by apps that use their own rendering engines.
- Use an extension or script on your web browser to intercept API calls made by a given website whenever you load it through a mobile app.
Once you have captured all of these API calls, search through them for any URLs that the web browser might visit The addresses within these API calls will be the ones that are loaded by a mobile device's web browser.
- It is also possible to access online logs through your device's system, which can often be found under Settings > Developer options or Applications Manager .
After closing the application you are using, look for databases that might have been created by it in order to identify any collected data. Data collected will often be stored within .db files inside of these databases, so open them with an app like SQLite Browser in order to find out more about their contents.
Do not close an app immediately after you have finished looking through its data, as doing so may cause it to delete some collected information if it was not already cleared beforehand.
Once all of this information has been collected, the website that your mobile app is displaying will be present within one of these URLs.
- If you are using SQLite Browser for this task, there should be an option to export the collected data in order to view it outside of the program.
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