How to Safely Unshorten Any URL on Your iPhone


Clicking on shortened links can sometimes be risky. So, we’ll teach you how to expand these links on your iPhone without needing a third-party app.

Shortened links take up less character space and provide a clean look to an otherwise wordy web address, hence their popular use on social media platforms. However, clicking on a shortened link can sometimes be risky because you can’t decipher its actual destination based on the URL alone.

The solution to overcome this security concern is to simply expand (or unshorten) the link. In this article, we look at how you can create an iPhone shortcut that helps you expand a link on your iPhone for free.

Using a Shortcut to Unshorten URLs on Your iPhone

Before we delve into the instructions in detail, here’s a quick solution if you’re in a hurry to unshorten a link on your iPhone. Launch your browser and visit Unshorten It. Then, copy and paste the shortened URL into the site. Tap the Unshorten It button to expand the link.

The only downside to this method is that the site isn’t mobile-friendly. Therefore, a handy iPhone shortcut is still the way to go if you want a link unshortener that perfectly adapts to your iPhone’s screen.

To create an iPhone shortcut, you need Apple’s Shortcuts app. It’s a native app that should already be installed on your iPhone. If not, you can download Shortcuts for free from the App Store and follow these steps:

  1. In the Shortcuts app, tap on New Shortcut (+).
  2. Tap the downward arrow next to New Shortcut. Tap Rename, type Unshorten URL, and tap Done to name your shortcut.

  3. Next, tap on Add Action. In the Search field, search for Ask for Input. Tap to add it as the first shortcut action.
  4. Tap on Text and change it to URL.
  5. Tap on Prompt and type Paste the URL.
  6. To add the second shortcut action, tap the Search field at the bottom of the screen. Find and select the Expand URL action.
  7. To add the third and final shortcut action, go to the Search field again. Find and select Quick Look.
  8. Tap Done on the top-right to save your completed shortcut.

To use your shortcut to unshorten links, you’ll need to first copy the shortened URL. To avoid loading a preview of the URL (and falling victim to a potentially harmful site), long press on a word near the URL and drag the slider to select the URL text, and tap Copy.

copy shortened url in iphone safari

Alternatively, you can opt to disable website previews in Safari altogether.

After copying the link, go to the Shortcuts app and tap on your Unshorten URL shortcut. Tap the empty URL field, select Paste, and tap Done. Wait for a moment. A pop-up window will display the expanded link, which will help you identify if a site is secure and safe.

Now, if you want to visit the site, tap the down arrow next to the expanded link. Next, tap the Share icon, choose Copy, and paste the URL into Safari or any other browser you prefer to load the site.

At the moment, the few iOS apps that work as link expanders are paid apps. But why use up storage space and pay for an app when you can easily create an effective iPhone shortcut for free?

If you follow the above steps carefully and add the correct shortcut actions, you’ll have a free, convenient tool to help you expand shortened links on your iPhone. Even if the iPhone is already a relatively secure device, it’s always good practice to verify the safety of a shortened link to protect yourself from malicious sites.


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