How to force nonmobile Web site versions on Android browsers

The native HTML browser on Android phones often load mobile versions of Web sites automatically. There's an easy way to force desktop versions to load, but first you'll need to access some hidden settings.

The native HTML browser on Android phones often load mobile versions of websites automatically. Devices with large, beautiful screens, like the Samsung Galaxy 10.1, can easily take advantage of full versions. Sometimes Web sites give you the option to view the full version of the site, but not always. There's an easy way to force desktop versions to load, but first you'll need to access some hidden settings. Here's how:

Step 1: In the address bar of the Android browser, type, "about:debug" and hit the Enter key.

Android about debug
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 2: Hit the Menu key of your device and select More, then Settings.

Step 3: Scroll down to the very bottom and select UAString.

Android browser UAString
Screenshot by Ed Rhee

Step 4: By default, the UAString is set to Android. Select Desktop instead. The change will take effect immediately.

Android browser desktop UAString
Screenshot by Ed Rhee


With the UAString set to Android, if you go to NBA.com to look up the NBA Finals schedule, it will look like this:

Mobile NBA.com
Mobile version of NBA.com Screenshot by Ed Rhee

With the UAString changed to Desktop, it'll now look like this:

Full NBA.com
Full version of NBA.com. Screenshot by Ed Rhee

To hide the debug settings again, just type "about:debug" in the browser address bar again. Should you want to change the UAString back to Android, just repeat the steps and force stop the browser for the changes to take effect. Enjoy the Interweb in all its glory!

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Tech Culture
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About the author

Ed Rhee, a freelance writer based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is an IT veteran turned stay-at-home-dad of two girls. He focuses on Android devices and applications while maintaining a review blog at techdadreview.com.

 

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