The Fastest Way to Request a Desktop Site in Safari for iOS 9

Posted by Jim Tanous on January 19, 2016
request desktop site ipad reload

Many websites offer specific mobile versions of their layout and content that is intended to be better suited for use on smaller devices such as tablets and smartphones. These websites can detect the type of device attempting to load the site and automatically serve up the mobile version. While often helpful, the mobile versions of some sites lack certain elements or content, and sometimes they’re not as easy to navigate for users who are accustomed to a site’s full-size desktop version. Thankfully, Safari for iOS lets users request the desktop version of a site via a special button in the app’s user interface. We’ve previously covered this “long way” to request a desktop site in iOS 9, but there’s a hidden shortcut to make this process even faster.
To quickly request a desktop site in Safari for iOS 9 and up, first launch the Safari app on your iPhone or iPad and navigate to a website that uses a specific mobile version. Popular examples include Wikipedia (shown in our screenshots below), The New York Times, and NHL.com. Note that you need to choose a site with a separate mobile version; many modern websites (including TekRevue) have “responsive designs,” which adjust the layout of the same underlying site code based on the resolution the user’s browser window. These sites won’t respond to the “Request Desktop Site” function discussed here.
If you load a website with a mobile design on your iPhone or iPad, the site will automatically detect the device and display a mobile version. Instead of following the “long” steps in our previous article, you can request the desktop version of the website in iOS 9 by tapping and holding your finger on the Reload icon in Safari’s address bar. After a second or two, a button labeled Request Desktop Site will appear (it pops out of the reload button on the iPad and slides up from the bottom of the screen on the iPhone).
request desktop site reload icon ipad
Tap this button and the website will reload and display its full desktop layout:
request desktop version safari ipad
Note that depending on the site’s design, the size and resolution of your device’s screen, and the quality of your eyesight, a website’s full desktop version layout may be too small to read comfortably at its default zoom level. In this situation, simply use multitouch to zoom and scroll as needed.
Also note that, as we mentioned in our previous articles on the subject, Safari for iOS won’t remember your mobile vs. desktop settings for a particular website. This means that if you request the desktop version of a website but later navigate to a new website or close Safari, the mobile version of the site will load the next time you visit and you’ll need to request the desktop version again if that view is desired.

3 thoughts on “The Fastest Way to Request a Desktop Site in Safari for iOS 9”

Michael says:
Awesome, Jim. Thanks for saving users useless strokes. Cheers. Michael.
GWBear says:
Sorry. This s Not a good answer.
All such answers give the “happy stupid” answer always, rather than the one most people want. Why any browser designer thinks a user wants to load any and all pages twice to use their full features is beyond me, and is beyond countless other mobile users too, who practically rip their faces off in frustration. What mst are asking when we ask this question is:
The reason is simple. It is utterly intolerable for a site or browser to decide to just “dumb down” the user experience, *just because*… and the user now has to sometimes fight tooth and nail to get it back. It’s arrogance in the extreme, and a form of censorship. Many tablets and iPad type devices are high enough resolution and large enough in screen, that the full desktop experience is entirely appropriate, and highly preferred. Therefore, any sute that zombie-like says, “I see tablet, must make sure the user only sees mobile” is truly pathetic.
If I want a mobile experience or view, I’ll ask for it, otherwise, no site back end or browser should be making that choice for me as the user.
marcoselmalo says:
Thank you, Jim. This type of thing is really useful and why I stay subscribed to the email weekly update. If you have content blockers installed, another cool thing with tap/holding the reload button is there is also the option of reloading the page w/out the content blockers. I think I might need to whitelist TekRevue. I just need to figure out how. (That might make another good iOS 9 tip. Hint hint.)

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