Apps are wonderful. They’re pretty much the reason smartphones have become the crucial facet of modern existence that they are today, expanding our devices’ functionality into areas we’d have thought unimaginable just ten years ago.
But apps can also be sneaky little things, and many of the most popular ones are secretly chewing up large amounts of battery, data, and crucial storage space on your device. Rather than just naming and shaming them, however, we’re going to convert websites into apps using a couple of different methods so that you can use these “Lite Apps” instead of the resource-intensive originals.
Hermit Converts Websites into Lite Apps on Android
Hermit turns websites into apps. When you first open it, it will look like a simple web browser, which is the functionally it has when you first start using it. But there’s much more to it than first meets the eye.
First, open Hermit, tap the menu icon at the top-left (three horizontal lines), then tap “Create.”
Next, use the URL/search bar at the top to type the URL of the website you want to turn into an app for you to access from your homescreen, and hit Enter. The URL bar isn’t as smart as Chrome’s, so you need to be fairly detailed about how you write the URL. (“www.maketecheasier.com” works, for example, but maketecheasier.com doesn’t.) Alternatively, you can select from the list of popular websites on Hermit’s homepage, then just tap one of the icons to make a Lite App for it.
Once you’re on the website you want to convert, at the bottom-right corner of your screen you should see the option to name your app and a “Create” button. Give your Lite App a name that you want displayed under its icon on your homescreen, then tap “Create.” Tap “Create” again in the new window to confirm.
Return to your homescreen, and your new Lite App should be there, complete with a proper icon and everything!
A feature I really appreciate in Hermit is the bunch of options you have when you open your Lite App. Tap the cog icon at the top-right after you’ve opened your app, and you can play around with such options as ad-blockers, night mode, and even font type and colors. You can do this for each individual app, giving each of your Lite Apps a bespoke flavor if you so wish.
Progressive Web Apps
If you don’t feel like downloading an app in order to replace apps with Lite Apps (a bit of a brain-bending sentence, I know), then you can use Chrome’s built-in feature to add websites to your homescreen. In some instances this will go so far as to convert the website into a Progressive Web App if the website developers have taken the time to make one (although this is still a rarity at this point).
Either way, to do this simply use Chrome to browse to the website you want to access from your homescreen, tap the menu icon at the top right, then select “Add to Home Screen.” The site will now appear on your home screen just like an app, although it’s essentially just a link to the website, so isn’t as customizable as Hermit’s option.
If Google’s whole Progressive Web Apps project properly takes off, then maybe we won’t need to use third-party apps to convincingly convert our favorite websites into apps. But for the time being, Hermit is your best bet, offering enough simplicity and customization options that you can try replacing the original apps with the Lite Apps you create.