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How to request a desktop site on the iPhone

By Jash Unadkat, Technical Content Writer at BrowserStack -

Why view the desktop version of a website on a mobile browser?

While Safari and Chrome are great for surfing on-the-go, there are still a few sites out there that haven’t caught up with the times. When you encounter these pesky pages, fear not! Simply switch to desktop mode and experience the full functionality of the website, all from the palm of your hand. 

Note: Safari is the second most popular browser in the world, right behind Chrome. So if you’re catering to iPhone users, it’s important to make sure your web applications are optimized for both mobile and desktop versions of Safari.

In this guide, we will demonstrate how to switch from mobile view to desktop mode. Additionally, we’ll also show you how to test your website on real desktop and mobile devices using Safari. Say goodbye to endless guesswork and hello to instant results! 

So, without further ado, let’s dive in and take your mobile browsing experience to the next level!

How to request a desktop site on the iPhone

To view the desktop version of a website on Safari running on iPhone (iOS 13), follow these simple steps:

  1. Launch Safari on your iPhone, and navigate to the website you wish to view.
  2. After the website loads, tap the ‘aA’ icon in the top corner before the address bar to open the website view menu.
  3. From the pop-up menu, select ‘Request Desktop Site’.

How to Request Desktop Site on iPhoneHow to Request Desktop Site on iPhone

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If you’re rocking iOS 12 or an earlier version, the process is a tad bit different. Just follow these two simple steps:

1. Launch Safari and navigate to your desired website. When it’s fully loaded, give the ‘Refresh’ button a long tap and hold.

How to Request Desktop Site on iPhone

2. Choose “Request Desktop Site” from the pop-up menu that appears at the bottom of the screen.

How to Request Desktop Site on iPhone

By following the steps above, you can easily view the desktop version of any website.

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Optimizing your website for mobile and desktop

Now that you know how to view a website in mobile as well as desktop mode, you can view your website in both modes. This will help you optimize your website for both the views.

Let’s explore further the two different methods that can be adopted to ensure your website is optimized for both mobile and desktop versions of Safari.There’s the traditional method, and then there’s the BrowserStack method. 

Once you compare these two methods, you’ll understand why BrowserStack is the clear winner.

Method 1: Manually downloading latest and legacy browser versions of Safari

As much as we (the Developers and QAs) love Safari, manually downloading and installing different versions of it can be quite the snooze-fest. Plus, it’s time-consuming and effort-intensive.

Well, if you want to test different versions of Safari on real iOS devices, you better have some serious cash and a team of dedicated lab technicians. Setting up an on-premise device lab is a major undertaking, both in terms of money and manpower. And don’t even get us started on the ongoing maintenance costs!

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Method 2: Using BrowserStack to test websites on real devices

If your team needs a solid infrastructure for comprehensive cross-browser testing, BrowserStack has got you covered. With cloud-based access to over 3000+ real devices and browsers, BrowserStack makes it easy to test across a wide variety of browser versions and devices. BrowserStack’s real device cloud offers a range of benefits, including:

  • Real Android and iOS devices (including latest and legacy models)
  • Windows and macOS environments running on actual machines
  • Popular browsers like Chrome, Safari, Firefox, Opera, and others

Get started with cross-browser testing for free

Just pick your preferred playground (MacOS or iOS), select your device type and the browser version that floats your boat. With BrowserStack, testing your website on both mobile and desktop versions of Safari is a piece of cake! All you gotta do is select your test environment and voila! Check out the image below to see the real iOS devices and macOS environments that we offer for your testing pleasure.

But wait, there’s more! BrowserStack also offers these essential features:

How to Request Desktop Site on iPhone

  1. Pinpointing where in the world your website is most popular with geolocation testing.
  2. Bug reporting made easier with BrowserStack’s integrations with Jira, Trello, and Slack.
  3. Safari DevTools at your fingertips for instant debugging.
  4. Give your fingers a workout by testing haptic features like pinch to zoom or device rotation.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Does iPhone have a desktop site?

Well, the short answer is no, iPhones don’t have a desktop version of the operating system like your favorite desktop computer. iPhones have their own mobile operating system, which is like a fancy tailored suit for mobile devices, called iOS. However, don’t fret, my friend! When using the Safari browser on an iPhone, you can request a desktop version of a website to have a complete and feature-rich experience. Just tap the “aA” icon in the top-left corner of the browser and select “Request Desktop Site.” It’s like asking for the VIP treatment at a club, but for websites.

2. How do I get desktop site on iOS 15?

If you want to view a website on your iPhone or iPad in desktop mode, here’s how you can do it in iOS 15:

  • First, open up Safari.
  • Next, go to the website you want to see in desktop view.
  • Look for the “aA” icon in the top-left corner of the browser and tap it.

From the menu that appears, select “Request Desktop Site.”

  • And voila! The website should reload in its desktop form. Keep in mind though that not all websites have a separate desktop version, so some may still appear as mobile sites even after selecting the desktop view.
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