Share Sheet and Canonical URL

The Share Sheet is a native feature that allows users to share content from your app to other apps. When you share a URL, the Share Sheet will use the URL of the current page.

But, did you know?

What happens if there is a canonical URL?

When there is a canonical URL in the page, the Share Sheet will use the canonical URL instead of the current URL. If your canonical and current URL are different, you might end up confused and pulling your hair our trying to figure out why the Share Sheet is not using the current URL.

If the canonical URL is resulting to a 404 page, the Share Sheet will preview and still share the 404 page. This might be very confusing for the user and for the developer to debug as well.

If the canonical URL is not set, the Share Sheet will use the current URL.

Now you know!, make sure to set the canonical URL correctly in your pages and if you are facing issues with the Share Sheet, check the canonical URL first.

Update on 10 May 2024

Now, I noticed another thing related to this. Since these pages were shared earlier and the Facebook/Instagram platform cached the URL, even if I update the canonical URL, the Share Sheet will still use the old URL and I was seeing the same issue again.

I started suspecting this because the pages that were not cached were working fine with the updated canonical URL. So, went on to check with the Facebook Sharing Debugger tool and found that the URL was cached and the canonical URL was not updated and the last fetch URL was long time ago. So, I had to refetch the URL, which invalidated the cache and now the Share Sheet is using the updated canonical URL.

The Facebook Sharing Debugger tool is a great tool to debug such issues and I recommend using it if you are facing similar issues or want to preview the meta data / open graph details and suggestions of corrections and improvements as well.

Check it out here -