When browsing the web, you must have come across some sites with a link to "switch to mobile site." Viewing the mobile version of such sites is easy, but what if you want to view a mobile version of a site that does not offers any such link. Even though there is no such option, many sites automatically switch to mobile site when viewed from a mobile device like smartphones and tablets. Its possible to open mobile websites from your desktop browser using a desktop extension. Let's take a look at this process in detail.
Installing User Agent Switcher Extension
If you want to view mobile websites on your desktop browser, then the most easiest way to do this is to use a browser extension.
- For Firefox: You can install the User Agent Switcher extension from Mozilla's addon library.
- For Chrome: Install the User-Agent Switcher for Chrome extension from Chrome's Web Store.
- For Internet Explore: Install the UAPick User-Agent Switcher add-on.
Changing Mobile User Agent
To change your user agent on Firefox, press Alt to view the menu bar, go to Tools > Default User Agent and then select a mobile user agent as per your wish. For example; iPhone.
Alternatively, you can also add the User Agent Switcher icon to Firefox’s toolbar, by right-clicking on the toolbar, selecting Customize, and then drag and drop the User Agent icon to the Firefox's toolbar.
Now all you need to do is to visit the site or refresh the current site that you are on. You can access the mobile website for any site that you wish to, including our own ValueWalk site. Here's how the mobile version of Wikipedia looks like on desktop.
Once you are done, simply switch back to the "Default User Agent" by again navigating to the same location, or from its icon on the toolbar.
If you want to add more user agents, then you can do so from its options. For example; there's no option to switch to iPad's user agent and for that you’ll need to manually add this user agent.
You can download additional user agents by going to Tools > Default User Agent > Edit User Agent. From here, click on "Download lists of user agents to import." From the web page, you will be able to download more user agents. You can also add a user agent string directly by clicking on "New" button.
So that's how you can easily switch browser user agent to view the mobile site. This is very useful for testing purposes or to the view light-weight version of any site.
Tip: One more advantage of this method is that you can avoid Flash and instead view the HTML5 website, for example on YouTube, etc sites.