iOS 8 has made many improvements to Apple’s built-in browser. Safari supports the mobile version of websites quite well. However, no matter now well a site’s mobile version fits into a handheld device’s smaller screen, there are instances when you want to view the desktop version instead. Searching through Safari may lead you nowhere unless you know how to find the option to enable desktop browsing. Hidden somewhere in Apple’s browsing app is a link where you can request the desktop version of a site. To find out how to locate that link, read on.
How to View the Desktop Version of a Website in Safari (iOS8)
The option to enable desktop browsing in Safari is somewhat hidden within the app. To find and enable it, follow the steps below:
1. Go to your iPhone’s Home screen by pressing the Home button.
2. Open Safari by tapping on its icon.
3. Go to the website you want to view.
4. Once the website opens, tap on the Address bar.
5. Icons, bookmarks and frequently visited sites will be shown. Scroll down the screen.
6. You will now see an option to Request Desktop Site. Tap on the link to enable it.
7. Wait for Safari to reload, and you will now see the desktop version of the website.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: Can I switch back to the mobile version of the website once I am on the desktop version of it?
A: No. Once Desktop View is enabled, you cannot switch back to the mobile version. You can always open a new tab if you want to view the mobile version of the site.
Q: Is there an option where I can enable the Desktop Version of websites on all tabs?
A: For now, you can only enable Desktop View by following the procedures above. You need to repeat the procedures for every tab that you want to view in Desktop Mode.
Do you have problems when viewing a website in Desktop Mode in Safari? Do you have some tips for our readers? We would like to know them! Share them in the comments.
By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack – March 30, 2020
Why view the desktop version of a website on a mobile browser?
Both Safari and Chrome are well optimized for accessing the web on mobile devices. However, a few websites still exist that do not provide an optimal surfing experience on mobile devices. As a result, the user might not be able to access critical functionalities of that web page on a mobile browser.
In such a case, users need to switch to the desktop version of a website from their mobile browsers. Doing this enables them to view the entire web page at once.
Note: Safari is the second most preferred browser in the world after Chrome. Naturally, anyone catering to iPhone users has to optimize their web applications for both mobile and desktop versions of Safari.
Post demonstration, this article also explains how teams can test their websites instantly on Safari directly from their browsers on real desktop and mobile devices.
Now let’s get started with the demonstration.
How to request a desktop site on the iPhone?
Listed below are the steps one can follow to view the desktop version of a website in Safari running on iPhone (iOS 13)
- Open the Safari browser and navigate to any website.
- Once the website loads, click the “aA” icon available in the top corner positioned before the address bar. It opens the website view menu.
- From the available options, choose the “Request Desktop Website” option.
In case, one wants access to the latest iPhones for testing,
Most popular question: Want to learn how to debug iPhone Safari on Windows? Check out how.
Users who are using iOS 12 and earlier versions, follow these two steps:
Step1: Open the Safari browser window and navigate to the desired website. Once the website loads, tap and hold on the “Refresh” button next to the address bar.
Step 2: A pop-up appears at the bottom of the screen, choose Request Desktop Site from the two options.
Following the steps above will help in viewing the desktop version of any website.
Now, let’s understand how teams can ensure that their website is optimized for both mobile and desktop versions of Safari.
There are two easy methods:
Method 1: Manually downloading latest and legacy browser versions of Safari
Developers and QAs can download the latest and older versions of Safari manually on their devices and test websites on it. However, this process is extremely time-consuming and effort-intensive. Downloading and installing individual browser versions is an inefficient task.
Besides, testing different versions of Safari on real iOS devices means requires teams to have on-premise device labs. Having such labs incurs huge investments, both financially and in terms of human effort. Maintaining and updating it on a regular basis comprises an additional overhead.
Method 2: Using BrowserStack to test websites on real devices
For comprehensive cross browser testing across a variety of browser versions and devices, teams need the ideal test infrastructure. BrowserStack exactly does that by providing teams cloud-based access to 2000+ real devices and browsers. BrowserStack’s real device cloud provides the following:
- Real Android and iOS devices (latest and legacy handsets)
- Windows and macOS environments running on real machines
- Popular browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera and others
QAs or developers just need to choose the desired environment (macOS or iOS), followed by the device type and browser versions. Then, they start testing.
BrowserStack enables effortless testing on both mobile and desktop versions of Safari. This is because teams can select the desired test environment with a few clicks. The image below represents the real iOS devices and macOS environments provided by BrowserStack for testing.
Now, let’s have a look at a sample Safari session running on iPhone 11 Pro.BrowserStack also provides the following vital features:
- Geolocation testing to evaluate the geography-based behavior of the website.
- Integrations with popular bug reporting tools like Jira, Trello, and Slack.
- Instant access for developers and QAs to Safari DevTools.
- Testing of haptic features like pinch to zoom in or zoom out or device rotation.
Thus, one can easily view desktop versions of websites on iPhones. One can also conclude how platforms like BrowserStack can make the process easier, faster and foolproof.
Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on iPhoneHacks, Zapier’s blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has seven years of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet. Read more.
Safari is fast and optimized for mobile devices. That’s usually a good thing. But there are still a few websites that refuse to adapt to mobile Safari or provide an inferior experience on their mobile site. In times like these, you can switch to the desktop version of the website.
How to View Desktop Site in Safari
Like many iOS features, especially ones for Safari, the Request Desktop Site feature is hidden. With iOS 13, Apple has changed the placement of this option, which makes it a bit easier to find. As iPadOS 13 automatically loads desktop websites, iPad users won’t need to look for this feature after updating.
Here’s how this feature works on devices running iOS 12 and iOS 13.
iOS 12 and Below
Open the Safari app on your iPhone or iPad and load a website. Now, tap and hold on the “Refresh” button next to the URL bar.
You’ll see a popup at the bottom of the screen. From here, select “Request Desktop Site.”
The website will reload, and you’ll now see the desktop version of the site. To go back to the mobile version, tap and hold on the “Refresh” button again and select “Request Mobile Site.”
iOS 13 and Above
With the iOS 13 update, Apple has improved the Safari browser in a couple of important ways. While most improvements are seen on the iPad version, iPhone users get access to the new Safari Download Manager as well as a new customization menu for websites.
Tap on the “Aa” icon to see a couple of new menu options. From here, select the “Request Desktop Website” button to open the desktop version of the website.
Come back to the same menu to switch back to the mobile version.
And that’s it. You now know how to access desktop websites on your iPhone and iPad using mobile Safari.
In today’s guide we will show you how you can open mobile websites on your Mac in Safari running macOS. Let’s dive right into it!
Want to View Mobile Websites in Desktop Safari Just Like How You Would See it on iOS or Any Other Mobile Device? – Here’s How
Open up Safari on your Mac, type in a URL, hit Return and you’ll see a desktop version of the website, as you should. But what if you want to see the mobile version of the website? Sure, you can do so by resizing Safari by dragging inwards from the corners, which is a trick that works on a very few websites by the way, but I’m talking about the real-deal mobile website as you’d see on your iPhone or an Android device. Well, it’s pretty easy. Follow the steps below and you’ll know it too.
1. Open up Safari on your Mac.
2. Now click on ‘Safari’ in the menu bar.
3. Now click on Preferences, then Advanced.
4. At the very bottom you’ll see an option called ‘See Develop menu in menu bar.’
5. You’ll see a brand new entry in the menu bar called Develop. Click on it to open.
6. Now select User Agent then select ‘Safari – iPhone.’
7. Now open up any website in Safari and the mobile version will open up.
If you wish to revert the changes, just open up the Develop menu, hover your mouse over User Agent then select Default at the top. That’s it.
Now, at this point you must be wondering: why do I wanna open mobile websites in desktop Safari? Well, first of all, you know how to do it. Secondly, if you are a developer, you can test your website without having to open it up on an iPhone immediately. Last but not the least, it’s fun! So why not share your newfound knowledge with the people around you, eh?
Apple has changed the way we request desktop site in Safari on the iPhone and iPad. Earlier in iOS, this option was buried deep in the Share Sheet. But now, it is visible just by a single tap. Let’s learn how you can request a desktop site in Safari on the iPhone or iPad.
How to Request Desktop Site in Safari on iPhone in iOS 14 or 13
The page will automatically reload in the desktop version.
To return to the mobile version, tap on AA and then tap on ‘Request Mobile Website.’
How to Set Specific Site to Always Open in Desktop Mode in Safari
From now onwards, this website will always open in a desktop view. You may have to force quit Safari and reopen it (or restart iPhone) for these changes to take place.
To stop it from always loading the desktop version in Safari, follow the above steps, and turn off the toggle for Request Desktop Website.
How to Permanently Set All Sites to Always Open in Desktop Mode in Safari
From now onwards, all the websites you visit in Safari will load the desktop version.
- Do not see All Websites in step 3 above? Turn on the toggle for ‘Other Websites’ or tap on ‘Edit’ from top right and then tap on ‘Clear All Settings.’ Now you will see the option named ‘All Websites.’
- To stop all websites from loading the Desktop version, follow the above steps and turn off the toggle for ‘Request Desktop Website.’
How to Request Desktop Site in Safari on iPhone
To view desktop version for a site on iPhone, tap on share icon from the bottom bar and then tap on Request Desktop Site.
Please understand that you might not see much changes with all websites in the desktop version before you go. For sites like Wikipedia, you can see a complete revamp of the layout. But if you enable Desktop mode for many sites, including ours (go ahead and try), you won’t see much difference. However, when you scroll to the end, you might see our fixed right sidebar ad on mobile only available on the desktop version.
So, we can conclude that you may not see any significant visual changes in the desktop version for many websites, but your browser does load the resources of a desktop version when you enable it.
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Most popular websites these days come in both desktop and mobile versions, with the latter rendering content in a more responsive fashion for a consistent browsing experience across a variety of tablet and smartphone screens.
Mobile-friendly websites are often stripped down and streamlined for easier navigation, with the result that some full-page content isn’t displayed at all – and even when it is, finding that content can sometimes be a chore, especially if you’re used to the desktop version of a site.
Recognizing this, Apple has had the foresight to let you bypass mobile versions of websites and view original desktop versions on its mobile devices instead. To request a desktop site on your iPhone and iPad, simply follow these steps.
- Launch Safari on your iOS device and navigate to the website in question.
- Long press the Reload button in the far right of the address bar.
- On iPhone, tap Request Desktop Site at the bottom of the screen. On iPad, the same option appears in the dropdown menu below the Reload button.
Note that you can also access this option by tapping the Share button (the square with an arrow pointing out) and selecting Request Desktop Site from the third row of the Share Sheet.
With that done, Safari should remember your preference for that particular website and load the desktop version the next time you visit it.
In Safari for iPhone, as far back as iOS 7, you can request the full desktop version of websites. The process was streamlined starting in iOS 9, but the process remains relatively hidden and easily missed. Now, iOS 13 shines a light on it, as well as adds functionality to set the desktop view for individual websites indefinitely.
As convenient as mobile sites are in Safari, they are inherently more limited when it comes to content and often lack necessary features when compared to their desktop counterparts. Banking sites, for example, usually require you to switch to their desktop version to make important changes to your account. Many websites do provide a desktop option enabled from the site directly, though the setting is often hard to find, displayed in small, hard-to-read text.
That’s where Safari’s built-in option for requesting desktop versions of websites comes in handy. In iOS 9 through iOS 12, just long-press the refresh button in the search field or open up the Share sheet, then select “Request Desktop Site.” In iOS 13, tap the “AA” icon, then choose “Request Desktop Site.” But to set desktop view on a per-site basis in Safari, there’s a little bit more involved.
Set Specific Websites to Use Desktop View by Default
On a website that you always want to view the desktop version for, tap the “AA” button in the search field up top to access the new menu of options. Now, instead of selecting “Request Desktop Website” to temporarily open desktop view, tap on “Website Settings,” hit the toggle for “Request Desktop Website” under While Viewing, and tap “Done” right after. The site in question will now always be displayed in its desktop appearance — even when viewed in Private mode.
Temporarily View Mobile Sites When Needed
When you want to use the mobile website temporarily, you can always tap “AA” then “Request Mobile Website.” Subsequent visits to the domain will still default to desktop view.
Change Sites Back to Use Mobile View by Default
If you ever want to revert the site to use its mobile layout by default, follow the steps highlighted above for setting desktop view as the default, but toggle “Request Desktop Website” off instead. Beyond that, you also can view and manage all of the sites you’ve personalized settings for as well as turn desktop mode on for all webpages in the Settings app, as discussed below.
Manage All Sites with Custom ‘While Viewing’ Preferences
To manage Safari’s website preferences, open the “Safari” page from within the Settings app, and select “Request Desktop Website” under Settings for Websites. From here, a list of all the websites you’ve requested desktop view by default will appear, where you can toggle each off or on as needed.
Keep in mind that any sites that you set to always show up in desktop format will automatically add themselves to the “Request Desktop Website” menu in Safari’s settings — even when browsing in Private mode. That said, these sites will remain saved in the page even if you’ve cleared your history and website data.
Set Desktop View to Be the Default for All Sites
Still in the “Request Desktop Website” menu in Safari’s settings, you can toggle on “On other websites” to make desktop view the default for all supported webpages. By doing this, you can then use the toggles for each website above to disable desktop view for just those sites.
Remove Sites from Safari’s Desktop Settings
To remove saved websites within the “Request Desktop Website” page in Safari’s settings, tap on “Edit” in the top right to go into edit mode. From there, select the sites you want to remove and hit “Delete” to erase them. To get rid of all your stored websites in one fell swoop, tap on “Clear All Settings” while in edit mode, and confirm your selection from the prompt that appears.
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Want to see the full desktop version of a website when browsing the web with Safari on iPhone? It’s easy when you learn how.
Most iPhone users like to read and use websites specifically designed for mobile usage, which tend to simplify the user experience and focus attention a bit more. Since many websites detect you’re using an iPhone and automatically serve a mobile site (ours included) over the standard desktop site, there isn’t much involvement required from the user end. While this is generally a very good thing, sometimes users wish to see or use the full desktop version of an website on their iPhone, and that’s what this feature in iOS Safari allows for.
How to Request Desktop Site in Safari on iPhone
- From Safari, go to the mobile webpage you want to view the Desktop Site for
- Tap on the Sharing action icon, it looks like a box with an arrow flying out of the top
- Swipe through the options to find “Request Desktop Site” and tap on that
The webpage will instantly reload into the desktop version of that site (assuming one is available anyway).
Here is an example of what two versions of a website look like, side by side, in this case osxdaily.com with the mobile site and the desktop site:
The ability to switch from a mobile to desktop site is really intended for the iPhone and iPod touch, though the request feature in Safari does exist on iPad as well. Because most websites serve a full desktop site to the iPad by default, it’s a bit less useful there.
This method works for requesting the desktop site in Safari for iOS 13, iOS 12, iOS 11, iOS 10, and iOS 9. If you have an iPhone or iPod running an earlier version of iOS, you can still perform this action though it’s done in a different way as discussed below.
Request a Desktop Site & Switch from a Mobile Site on Safari for iPhone with iOS 8 & iOS 7
This method is for iOS 7 and iOS 8, you’ll find it’s slightly different when requesting a desktop site in Safari on iOS 13, iOS 12, iOS 11, etc.
- From Safari, load the website mobile version that you wish to switch to a desktop site for
- Tap on the URL bar, then pull down from directly below the URL bar with a swipe gesture to reveal the menu options
- Choose “Request Desktop Site” and let the current webpage reload to the full desktop version of that site
For example, here’s what this looks like on your favorite website of all time, OSXDaily.com. Pulling down on the URL bar and choosing the request desktop site option:
And here’s the before and after, with the simplified mobile version of the website visible on the left, and the full “Desktop” version of the site visible on the right:
Again, most users will strongly prefer mobile versions of basically all websites, since they tend to be easier to use and read on smaller screens. Nonetheless, sometimes a desktop site is desirable for a variety of reasons, whether it’s to access a specific feature of a website, personal preference, or, for developers and designers, for troubleshooting purposes.
Note that if you’re partially scrolled down on any particular mobile site, you’ll need to tap on the URL bar twice. The first tap makes the Safari navigation buttons visible, and the second URL bar tap will make the URL field editable, or, for the purposes here, the ability to pull down and request the desktop site.
It’s worth mentioning that the Request feature does not go both ways. That may seem like an oversight, but it’s because Safari for iPhone will automatically re-send the iPhone specific user agent the next time the URL or website is visited, which has the effect of loading the mobile version of the given website again. Accordingly, if you requested a desktop site and want to switch back to the mobile view in Safari for iPhone or iPod touch, you’d just need to close that browser tab and then re-open the URL again, there is no need to specifically request a mobile site. For those interested, you can mimic this effect on a desktop computer by changing the browser user agent to resemble a mobile device or desktop device.
Wondering how to switch back to a mobile site after requesting a desktop site in Safari for iPhone? You may have noticed there’s not a “Request Mobile Site” option in Safari on iPhone and iPod touch, but changing back to the mobile version of a desktop site is quite simple on iPhone with Safari as we’ll show you in this tutorial.
As you likely know, many websites serve a mobile-specific version to smaller screened devices like the iPhone or iPod touch. But sometimes users will use the “Request Desktop Site” feature in Safari for iPhone to view the full version of a website rather than a mobile site. But how do you switch back to the mobile site again? That’s easy, here is all you need to do:
How to Switch from Desktop Site Back to Mobile Site with Safari for iPhone
Returning to the mobile version of a website in Safari on iPhone is simply a matter of closing the tab and opening the website again:
- From Safari on iPhone, go to the desktop webpage that you want to view the Mobile Site for
- Tap on the Tabs button in Safari and then close that webpages tab while it’s still in Desktop Site view (optionally, you may want to copy the URL first for easy retrieval)
- Now open a new Safari tab and go back to the website URL you just closed, it will load automatically in Mobile Site view
Simply closing the Safari tab on iPhone and re-opening the webpage will switch it back to the Mobile Site default view.
Alternatively, you can also delete the specific sites website data in Safari Settings on iPhone and then refresh the website to accomplish the same thing. Doing that will also refresh the webpage into Mobile Site from Desktop Site, as the default user agent on iPhone is for a mobile device.
While we’re obviously focusing on iPhone here, this process is the same on iPod touch and iPad too, though most websites will show an iPad the full desktop version of a website rather than the mobile site anyway.
Currently this is how you switch from the desktop site back to a mobile site, and while it would make a lot of sense for the iOS “Request Desktop Site” option to switch to a “Request Mobile Site” option in the Sharing action menu, for now that feature does not exist. Instead, you’ll want to just close the tab and then open it again to achieve the same result.
This is probably mostly relevant for web workers, but sometimes regular users find themselves having to switch between desktop sites and mobile sites too.
If you know of another approach to requesting a mobile site again on Safari for iPhone, share with us in the comments below.