I’m not sure about you, but i find the Taobao mobile App obnoxious. When i tried it more than a year ago, it drained my phone battery, reducing my mileage to half a day. It was always doing something in the background (wasting your data allowance and phone storage), and it popped up ads way too often than i can tolerate.
I get redirected to the Google play store when I access the Taobao site through Chrome browser (i’m not sure what happens on the iPhone), prompting you to install the Taobao App. It’s annoying that they try to force you to use the App, but there’s an easy way around this – use the Desktop mode on your browser. This works, except some pages are cropped on the right hand side, like the shipping consolidation page. So, unfortunately, you don’t have a fully functional Taobao this way, but this still beats installing the App. Update: the Taobao mobile site works fine in the CM browser, i.e. I don’t get redirected to install Taobao app.
Incidentally, if you access Taobao via the Shopback App, you are not prompted to install the App, so it is fully working. Might as well, since you should do all your Taobao purchases through Shopback anyway to earn cashback.
The other important function that you miss out when you opt not to install the Taobao App is notification of seller messages. Sometimes, sellers need to reach out to you to inform you of stock shortage, or to clarify with you on your chosen options. To mitigate this problem, install the Wangxin (旺信) App. This is the Taobao instant messaging (Aliwangwang) App. Besides providing the instant messaging functionality, it also gives updates on all your parcels, which is really handy. I muted the App notifications, and it doesn’t run in the background unnecessarily. Perfect.