You must have come across shortened links that start with the domain Bit.ly or something similar. These shortened links then expand when opened in a new tab or window leading to the destination site/URL. While there are obvious benefits of using such links including saving space and tracking visitors stats, it can also lead to phishing/hacked sites that are designed to steal your data. How do you unshorten links on smartphones and browsers so that you know where the link is leading to before even clicking on it?
What hackers and other bad actors are doing is using these URL shortening services to hide phishing links that are designed to steal user data like credit card information, banking details, calls, messages, media files, and other personal/professional data. You don’t want that which is why you need to learn how to unshorten links before clicking/tapping on them.
How to Unshorten Links on a Browser
The first site that I will share with you is Unshorten.it. I like the clean and ad-free user interface of the service provider. It is clutterfree with a search bar in the middle where you will paste the shortened URL that you want to reveal the destination URL of.
Press Enter or the button that says Unshorten It! and what it will do is parse the URL to reveal the true destination. Note that the service failed to unshorten the URL in the first attempt, throwing an error for some reason. If that happens to you, try again.
The webpage preview is of the homepage rather than the landing page where the link will take you. Still, not bad seeing how you can still get an idea of what is waiting for you when you click on that link.
I want to mention another website that will help you unshorten links in the brower without having to copy-paste anything. The reason Unshorten.link made the list is because it also offers a browser extension for Chrome and other Chromium-based browsers.
That means you no longer have to leave the site or open a link shortner in a new tab. Now, when you click on a shortened link, it will be unshortened automatically and the extension will even scan it for malware and other threats. This will save you previous time and reduce your headache.
How to Unshorten Links on Android
As is the case with everything else in life these days, there is an app for this too. Aptly named Unshorten, the Android app will do exactly what the name suggests. There are two ways to use it.
The first way is the long way where you will long-press on the link to copy it and then paste it inside the app to unshorten it. This works just fine but takes more time and taps.
The second way is where you give the app necessary permissions it asks for and then, the moment you copy a link, it will be unshortened on the fly. This works right inside your favorite apps like Reddit, Twitter, and others.
There is an added benefit too. It will save you a lot of time because usually what happens is, you click on a link and it opens in a browser before opening the native app. Using Unshorten app will fix this issue where tapping on the link will directly open the associated app rather than redirecting via your default browser.
How to Unshorten Links on iOS and macOS
The macOS app has been designed by the same developer who came up with Stop the Madness Safari app. Link Unshortner will do exactly what it says but on your Macbook. You should get this if you are working deep within the Apple ecosystem. The app works really well with developer’s all other apps too if you are using any of them.
Few other features includes removing tracking parameters used by the person/company that shortened the link, converting http into https automatically to secure the connection, and it also comes with a share extension.
Coming to the iPhone and iPad, there is no dedicated app to unshorten links however there is a shortuct. Apple released the Shortucts app recently that you can use to unshorten links on the fly.
Just open the Unshorten Shortcuts link on your iPhone after you have installed and set up the Shortcuts app to make it your own and you are done. It will show the unshortened URL in a quickview window so you don’t have to open the app every now and then. There is also an option to copy the unshortened link URL to the clipboard.
Wrapping Up: Unshorten Links
There are limiteed ways to unshorten links on smartphones but there are quite a few services available for those who work with browers. I am surprised because most of us have transitioned to the smartphones and use them for pretty much everything these days. It doesn’t matter which platform you are using, there is a way for you to work with shortened links now. Hope we were of help.