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View Mobile Websites in Windows with Safari 4 Developer Tools

Want to try out mobile websites designed for the iPhone and other mobile devices on your PC?  Safari 4 for Windows lets you do this easily with their developer tools.

By default, Safari will show standard desktop websites.  But by making a simple change, you can switch it to work like Safari Mobile on the iPhone or iPod Touch.

Getting Started

First make sure you have Safari 4 for Windows installed.  You can download Safari directly (link below) and install it as usual.

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Or if you already have another Apple program installed, such as QuickTime or iTunes, then you can install it from Apple Software update.  Simply enter apple software update in the Start menu search box.

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And then select Safari 4 from the list of new software available.  Click Install to automatically download and install Safari.

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Accept the license Agreement, and then Safari will automatically install.

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Once this is finished, Safari will be ready to use.

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View Mobile Sites in Safari

First, we need to enable the developer tools.  Click the gear icon on the toolbar, and select Preferences.

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Click the Advanced tab, and then check the box that says “Show Develop menu in menu bar”.

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Once you’ve closed your settings box, click the page icon, select Develop, then User Agent, and then choose one of the Mobile Safari settings.  In our test we chose Mobile Safari 3.1.2 – iPhone.

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To make your browser emulate a mobile device better, you can hide the bookmarks and tab bar to have a more streamlined interface.

Click the Gear icon, and select “Hide Bookmarks Bar”, and then repeat and click “Hide Tab Bar”.

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You can also shrink your window to be closer to the size of a mobile device screen.  Once you’ve done these things, Safari should look similar to this screenshot.  Here we have loaded Google.com, and you can see it in its iPhone-style interface.

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Simply enter any website into the address bar, and it will load in its mobile interface if it has one.  Here is Google’s other mobile offerings, right inside Windows.

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Gmail loads messages with the default iPhone interface.

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One especially interesting mobile site is Apple’s online iPhone User Guide.  When loaded in Safari with the iPhone setting, it loads with a very nice mobile UI that works just like an iPhone app.  In fact, you can even click and drag to scroll, just like you would with your finger on an iPhone.

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Conclusion

Even if you do not have a Smartphone, you can still preview what websites will look like on them with this trick. Not all sites will work of course, but it’s fun to play around with different sites that have mobile versions.

Links:

Safari 4 Download

Apple iPhone online user guide

Matthew digs up tasty bytes about Windows, Virtualization, and the cloud, and serves them up for all to enjoy!

  • Published 03/11/10

Comments (2)

  1. Roi

    Thats cool!

  2. Amber Mejias

    Thanks, what a neat trick. Still works on safari 5 :D

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