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How to Disable the Mobile Version of a Website on Your Phone

Many websites, including How-to Geek, display a mobile version for users that are browsing the site on their phone.  This is done to reduce bandwidth and look better on a smaller screen and resolution, but sometimes you really just want the full desktop version of a website.  Read on to find out how to view the desktop version of any website on your phone.

There are plenty of reasons why you might want to use the full desktop version of a website on your mobile device.  Some websites disable certain features from their mobile version that they may deem unnecessary or bandwidth-intensive. Other times it can just be a pain to navigate a mobile website when the data you need is displayed much more easily on the desktop version.  Take IMDb’s website for example:

We just want to know the movies that Will Ferrell has been a part of, so we go to his IMDb page:

Okay… let’s click on full filmography.

Wait, now we have to select each link to see his involvement in every film?  Fortunately, IMDb has an option for enabling desktop view, so we don’t have to waste so much time on this nonsense to save a few kilobytes of data.  However, there are a lot of websites that don’t offer us a choice in how we view their site, so we have to take matters into our own hands.  Knowing how to do this is also especially useful when you’re on a Wi-Fi network, in which case the mobile version of a website won’t really load any faster than the desktop version anyway.

Disabling the Mobile Version of a Website on iOS

This part of the guide is for those of you running an iPhone or iPad.  Apple still hasn’t given us any way to elect for a desktop version of a website in the default Safari browser, so you’ll have to jailbreak your device or download an app from the App Store.

Google’s Chrome browser provides this functionality and is available for free in the App Store.  The option is in the menu, easy to access from any tab. Click the Menu icon next to the address bar and choose Request Desktop Site, as shown below.

The only problem is for those who would like desktop view enabled by default.  With Chrome, you’ll always be returning to the menu to re-enable it.  If you’re looking for a browser that allows you to permanently enable desktop view, the Puffin Web Browser has overall positive reviews, is free, user friendly, and has an easy way to disable the mobile view on a website.  There is also a paid version of the app, but the free one seems to accomplish this task with no problems.

If you decide to install the Puffin browser, just go to the Menu in the upper right corner and then > More > Settings > User Agent. Switch the User Agent to Desktop.

You can always resort back to mobile browsing by going through the same menus and selecting iPhone.  The instructions should be similar for whatever third party browser you decide to use.

Disabling the Mobile Version of a Website on Android

Google makes it much simpler and includes an option to enable desktop view in the default Chrome browser.  Just click on the settings menu in the upper right corner and then check “Request desktop site.”

There are a lot of Android apps on Google Play that also carry this functionality, but downloading them just for this ability would be pointless since the default browser is able to do it.  The only drawback to using the default browser on Android is that there isn’t a way to permanently enable desktop view.  If you decide that, by default, you’d like to view every website in desktop view, you’ll need a third party app.

Just as with iOS, the free version of the Puffin web browser is a recommended alternative browser.  Mobile browsing can be permanently disabled or enabled by going to the Menu button in the upper right corner and then > Settings > Mobile browser mode.

Disabling the Mobile Version of a Website on Windows

You can disable the mobile version of a website with Window’s default browser, Internet Explorer.  To configure this setting, open Internet Explorer > More > Settings > Website preference.

Photo courtesy of windowsphone.com.

The Simplest Method

Of course, the easiest way to get to the desktop version of a website is by selecting the desktop view link on the page itself.

Not every website has this option, so you can use the methods in this article as a quick workaround. Just remember that websites force you into mobile view to maximize your experience on their website, reduce your load time, and save you cellular data.

Korbin Brown is an IT enthusiast with a passion for writing. He enjoys troubleshooting complex Windows, Linux, and networking issues and sharing his experiences with fellow geeks.

  • Published 12/10/13

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