How to make your Android browser a desktop browser

One of the common complaints of mobile browsers is that you get served mobile versions of websites, a particular problem for Honeycomb devices, but also anyone using Gingerbread on a cheaper tablet. But you can easily make your Android browser identify itself as a desktop browser and we'll show you how.

Mobile versions of websites can be great - fast to navigate, light on data requirements, just the essential information. However, sometimes you can't get to what you actually want.

For example, the ITV Player website will direct you to download the ITV Player app, rather than just playing the video, which any Flash-supporting Android device will do.

The problem comes about because the Android browser identifies itself as such and the website takes what it thinks is the appropriate action. Fortunately, the native Android browser has the ability to identify as desktop built in, it's just hidden from sight.

Here's what you do:

  1. In the address bar, type: about:debug and hit return
  2. This might look like it hasn't done anything, but head to the settings menu and you'll find new options there.
  3. You're looking for a new menu called UAString. Open up UAString and select Desktop.
  4. Return to your browser and head back to that pesky page.

 

That's all there is to it. Your browser will be seen as a desktop browser when you visit sites.

It isn't foolproof though. Occasionally you'll still run into a mobile site, but generally speaking they will no longer be a problem. Some elements of full sites might not work too, so be warned.

You can turn the UAString (user agent string) back, by simply opening up the menu again and switching. Leave all the other settings alone, and if you want to hide those extra options, then type about:debug again to turn them off.

It's worth noting that if you're lucky enough to have Ice Cream Sandwich, you don't need to do this, as there is a "view desktop version" in the settings menu.

If you don't fancy fiddling with settings, you could also try a different browser, like Dolphin Browser HD, which also comes with the option in the settings.



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