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Wikipedia:Editing on mobile devices

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
This page being edited on an iPhone

The ability to edit anywhere may bring more editing. The volume of editing has declined as Wikipedia becomes more "finished", and there's no knowing whether greater access in editing will counter this loss.

Some mobile devices, including most smartphones, allow editing Wikipedia (see Wikipedia:Mobile access for more details). This enables many people to use otherwise wasted time while on the go. This convenience, however, comes with limitations and may leave poorer results. (For a more positive point of view and tips for effective smartphone editing, see Cullen328's essay Smartphone editing.)

Technical limitations


Mobile devices lack a mouse, and some may not have the kind of touch screen interface that allows selecting toolbar icons. Some kinds of formatting may be tricky or impossible, but basic wiki markups are always available.

Some devices may not allow the user to see what they are typing, making it impossible to properly edit pages.


While most devices contain cameras, some cannot upload an image to Wikipedia or Wikimedia Commons.

With the advent of iOS 6, it is possible to upload an image to Wikipedia with any iOS device like iPhone and iPad. Android devices have always been able to do this. The user must first log in using the Desktop view.

Browser compatibility

Compatibility on mobile is limited. Wikipedia in mobile view does not show categories, nor most templates. Visual Editor on the mobile site does not work with iPad's default browser. Most Wikipedia videos do not move when seen in Windows RT phones and tablets.[citation needed]



Devices may choose to change common edit summaries or WP:SHORTCUTS into something potentially offensive or unintelligible at the last second as you add them, particularly if you are experiencing lag, causing experienced editors to appear as vandals. Some of these accidental changes cannot be deleted or repaired without administrative help. Be vigilant.

IP editing

Anonymous editing, also known as IP editing, produces a long number tying the edit to other contributions. IP edits make up a significant percentage of edits, but provide no way to know whether the same person made them all, especially if some time has passed between them.

A mobile IP editor who uses Wi-Fi in many different places will produce edits under many different IP addresses and leave no way of tracing them all to a single person. For one who uses the phone's carrier connection, all the edits may appear to come from one or two IP ranges along with other editors.

Traceability is not a major problem when editing is done in good faith. However, a disruptive "mobile vandal" may become a problem.

Communication bugs

IP editors using the mobile version of the Wikipedia website cannot see or edit Talk pages, so they cannot determine whether issues they notice in an article have been discussed already, cannot make suggestions, and generally cannot communicate with the Wikipedia community of editors.

Registered users using a mobile app may also not receive notifications regardless of whether they are logged in.

Editing performance

Some people find editing from a phone to be slow, while others encounter no problems. With a small screen and no mouse, it can be hard for some to manipulate text onscreen. Editing text, cut and pasting, and even reading is slow for some. Edit conflicts can lead to losing all your new text, and when it's a half-hour's typing it can seriously sap Wiki-morale. Smaller edits, with more frequent saves, can reduce the risk.


Scrolling is common in the edit window. To reduce the amount of scrolling required, log in and add this to Special:MyPage/common.css:

# wpTextbox1
    height: 27em;

to increase the number from the similarly default 27. The link to your personal CSS "Custom CSS" is located in the 'Appearance' tab of 'Preferences', under the 'Skin' section.

Though code exists that will limit exceeding the height of the editing window and keep it to within the browser window, the following code will invalidate it:

.mw-editform #wpTextbox1
    max-height: none;

This will allow the editing window to exceed the browser window. For iOS, the advantage here is that the editing window will become less likely to include secondary scrolling and more likely to employ only primary scrolling; moreover, this offers a workaround to the browser's "Find in page" function being unable to scroll down sufficiently to show all matches found.

Edits you may want to do on your mobile device

Many editors write fully referenced articles and carry out other sophisticated edits on mobile devices, using the desktop site. Although most editing can wait until you are at your regular computer if you find mobile editing problematic, there are some edits that you may want to do on your mobile device:

  • Things you may forget – If you remember some small detail while you have your smartphone but will likely forget it later, and the edit is small, this is a good time to make the edit.
  • Wikignoming

Mobile skin

Wikipedia's Mobile skin is named Minerva or MinervaNeue. It can be turned on in Special:Preferences/Appearance

You can customize the web interface by creating Special:MyPage/minerva.css and Special:MyPage/minerva.js.

There are some specific user scripts for Minerva:

Alternatively, you can use Vector with User:TheDJ/mobileVector.css, which can be enabled on Special:MyPage/skin.js or Special:MyPage/common.js by adding


Wikipedia apps

On many devices, apps for Wikipedia are available that use an Internet connection to read the most recent version of any article. Some, such as the official Wikipedia app, enable both reading and editing; others reading only. The editing feature lacks the WYSIWYG features of the Web site's WP:Visual Editor.

See also

External links