iOS 8 makes it easier to access desktop websites in Safari

Posted:
in iPhone edited October 2014
Users who prefer to browse the web without the constraints of "mobile optimized" websites can now do so easily in iOS 8 thanks to a new "Request Desktop Site" button in Mobile Safari.




Until iOS 8, the only ways to view the desktop version of a website in Mobile Safari were to hope that the website you were visiting either offered a working "desktop version" link, or would allow you to visit the desktop URL without automatically redirecting you back to the mobile version. This annoyed a number of users, especially when sites which would ordinarily render perfectly well in Mobile Safari instead force-fed a feature-crippled mobile version.

Third-party browsers like iCab offered the ability to change their user agent string --?in effect, masquerading as Safari on OS X --?but they couldn't match Mobile Safari's integration with iOS. Apple has now addressed those concerns with a new button titled, aptly, "Request Desktop Site."

To use it, simply load any website that automatically redirects you to its mobile version. Tap the address bar to bring up the Favorite menu, then swipe downward on the icons --?this will reveal the new "Request Desktop Site" button.

Tapping the button will reload the page, and in the process automatically alter Mobile Safari's user agent string.

Ordinarily, Mobile Safari reports a string like this:

Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; CPU iPhone OS 8_0_2 like Mac OS X) AppleWebKit/600.1.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Safari/600.1.4

When loading the desktop site, however, Mobile Safari tells servers that it's running on a Mac:

Mozilla/5.0 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X 10_10) AppleWebKit/538.44 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/8.0 Safari/538.44

The desktop user agent will persist within that website --?even after refreshing -- but navigating to a different site or switching to a new tab will reset it.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 48
    Very nice. I wish you could turn this on as a default setting. Presumably this would also block the ultra-annoying pop-ups at the top of the screen that tell you to download or open the company's mobile app.
  • Reply 2 of 48
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Not very Apple-esque in implementation.
  • Reply 3 of 48
    dugbugdugbug Posts: 283member
    I have had mixed results with it. The worst mobile site in the universe is twitter, where you cannot even enlarge pics to view them well. Selecting the desktop site doesn't seem to work there.
  • Reply 4 of 48
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Retrogusto View Post



    Very nice. I wish you could turn this on as a default setting.

     

    What would be nice would be to have all sites open in private mode by default, except for a user configured whitelist of domains.

  • Reply 5 of 48

    Oh, you know what would be nice for Safari? Cookie controls.

     

    I should be able lock cookies for certain sites, protecting them from deletion when I hit “delete all”. Heck, I should be able to whitelist only certain sites to even accept cookies (and changes thereto) at all.

  • Reply 6 of 48

    I hate those mobile sites. When Jobs first launched the iPhone one of its main advantages was you could view sites designed for large screens on a mobile device for the first time rather than having to have a special site as previous failed attempts to bring the web to mobiles had required...so what to web sites do, make shitty mobile sites with crippled functionality where you cant find anything on them

    TheInternet
  • Reply 7 of 48
    Yay!! For the life of me I don't understand sites that create a "mobile optimized" version that removes functionality!!!!
  • Reply 8 of 48
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by davidc View Post



    Yay!! For the life of me I don't understand sites that create a "mobile optimized" version that removes functionality!!!!

     

    I make websites, and I believe the proper thing to do is make them responsive, ie. dynamically adapt to screen size by adjusting layout. Noone wants to browse a site with 5 columns on their phone. Comes down to useability. What works on a 20"+ screen wont work on a smartphone screen. 

  • Reply 9 of 48

    I am still adapting to the iPhone-like changes to Safari on iPad with iOS8. Quite apart from the extra step required to get to the navigation, new webpage, etc. buttons, I am still getting used to the those buttons being on the top on the iPad (as opposed to the bottom, on the iPhone), and constantly pulling down Notifications by accident....

     

    Not a huge fan of it yet.

  • Reply 10 of 48
    gqbgqb Posts: 1,934member

    Great tip! First move was to disable AppleInsider mobile. :D

  • Reply 11 of 48

    welcome to mobile browser 2012 feature list :err:

  • Reply 12 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by agramonte View Post

    welcome to mobile browser 2012 feature list



    Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic troll.

  • Reply 13 of 48
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     



    Shut up and go away, you useless, pathetic troll.


     

    Sounds like somebody has a sore butt over another Android feature finally being added to iOS years later.

  • Reply 14 of 48
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     

    Oh, you know what would be nice for Safari? Cookie controls.

     

    I should be able lock cookies for certain sites, protecting them from deletion when I hit “delete all”. Heck, I should be able to whitelist only certain sites to even accept cookies (and changes thereto) at all.




    If you want customization, you should switch to Android and stop drinking the Apple juice.

  • Reply 15 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by joshuarayer View Post

    Sounds like somebody has a sore butt over another Android feature finally being added to iOS years later.




    I love it that you can’t help but out yourselves.

  • Reply 16 of 48
    **** android
  • Reply 17 of 48
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post

     



    I love it that you can’t help but out yourselves.




    I've never claimed to hide the fact that I like Android. I also like Mac OS over Windows and have fond memories of my Palm Treo 650. Just because people like Android, doesn't mean they can't like Apple products and enjoy the rumors sites such as this one and MacRumors. For example, I own a 1st gen AppleTV, a MacBook Air, and my wife owns a MacBook Pro, iPhone 5S, and a really old 160GB iPod. Just because everyone on these forums doesn't agree with everything you say, doesn't make them "useless, pathetic troll". I would almost think that you can only find happiness by trying to belittle others and make yourself appear superior. If that is the case, I would recommend you seek counseling.

  • Reply 18 of 48
    This is a great feature. Some sites (due to poor design) lose functionality when viewed in the mobile version.

    It only works if they are giving the mobile version of the site based on the user agent string. If they are detecting screen resolution, it seems to not work.
  • Reply 19 of 48
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    Originally Posted by joshuarayer View Post

    I've never claimed to hide the fact that I like Android. I also like Mac OS over Windows and have fond memories of my Palm Treo 650. Just because people like Android, doesn't mean they can't like Apple products and enjoy the rumors sites such as this one and MacRumors. For example, I own a 1st gen AppleTV, a MacBook Air, and my wife owns a MacBook Pro, iPhone 5S, and a really old 160GB iPod. Just because everyone on these forums doesn't agree with everything you say, doesn't make them "useless, pathetic troll". I would almost think that you can only find happiness by trying to belittle others and make yourself appear superior. If that is the case, I would recommend you seek counseling.

     

    So nothing but strawmen and zero explanation for how his comment means anything to anyone other than to be trolling.

     

    Just to clarify, since we already knew and expected that would happen.

  • Reply 20 of 48
    slurpyslurpy Posts: 5,154member
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by joshuarayer View Post

     

     

    Sounds like somebody has a sore butt over another Android feature finally being added to iOS years later.


     

    Or, you're exactly what he described you, a pathetic troll. Anyone can see that by scanning your posts and noticing that they are 100% negative, not ONE positive comment towards a single Apple product.

     

    I can't even imagine how pathetic my life would need to be, in order to compel me to post incessantly on websites dedicated to companies I despise. Maybe you should ask yourself why you derive enjoyment out of it? Why you would contiguously check a website called "AppleInsider", register on the forums, and posts regularly, when you hate everything about Apple, and have nothing to contribute except abject negativity, derision, and mockery- towards a tech company, no less? The sooner you figure that out, the sooner you can make changes in your life to make you less of a pathetic human being. 

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