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Is there any way to make the Android browser browses in true desktop mode, i.e. viewing the same layout as a desktop computer?

I know in Firefox, I can click on "request desktop site" in the menu, and some similar functions in Chrome. However, neither of these modes brings me the same experience as I have on a desktop computer. For example, Gmail has a menu item "filter messages like this", which is missing in "request desktop site" mode, and similarly for many other websites.

I understand the UI differences such as mouse vs. touchscreen. What I mean is to emulate a desktop screen mode. For example, a virtual screen size to mimic a desktop monitor (I can swipe the touchscreen to move the viewport, and can even enlarge/shrink the viewport with two-finger gestures). A touch emulates the mouse's left button click. No mouse right button is acceptable, since most functions should be able to work by just left click. (Remember Apple Mac desktop might even go with a one-button mouse).

The problem is, that what they think as "optimized for mobile" might not be what the user thinks/wants, such as the removal of some functions.

I don't need "mobile optimize". Just the browser to mimic desktop one to the maximum extent, and I want to visit the website in Desktop Mode, as if I connect it from a desktop computer.

Some websites provide a "full site" button to do this. But why can't I pretend myself as a desktop computer in the first place? How on earth does the server identify the browser as an Android browser, even in the "desktop mode"?

Note that this question may seem a duplicate as Bypassing mobile detectability from the browser. But I do express the problem in a more general/broader perspective.

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4 Answers 4

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Try Firefox for Android with a User Agent spoofing addon.

You may also need some addon to lie about the viewport dimensions.

I don't know what exactly the best option to do so is, so I hope these links help point you in the right direction.

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  • This is a great idea! You don't need an addon to fake the viewport dimensions, though. That's the main thing that "Request Desktop Site" does. Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 16:21
  • Ahhh, I see! I had wondered how that 'request' actually worked.
    – Maaark
    Commented Jan 2, 2020 at 10:19
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There are various ways of creating responsive web pages.

The developer can ask the browser to tell whether it is Windows OS, Android, iPhone, or whichever browser it is, etc.

Secondly, most often, responsive design is implemented based on the width available to the browser window. To learn more, you can search the web or try for yourself as I explain below:

In the Firefox browser on PC, go to menu -> Web Developer -> Toggle tools or press Ctrl + Shift + I

Now click on the button on the left of the three dots. You can change the size of the page to see how it looks on browsers of different sizes.

Hope this helps.

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  • to add on to this - chrome has a similar "responsive view" feature, but it also has an option to "show rulers", so you can see exactly where each browser width breakpoint will be hit Commented Dec 31, 2019 at 17:46
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You cannot, unless the site is optimized for mobile by design

Two factors distinguish and also limit mobile website compared to desktop:

  • Touch screen interface

  • Smaller display area

What most websites do (cost being the main reason I guess) is to make a site mobile compatible meaning that a site can be viewed on mobile but all functions or navigation as on desktop are not available (as in your example).

To make the controls or navigation of website as on true desktop mode, the site needs to be mobile optimized. Unless this done, you cannot have the same experience as on true desktop mode. This requires Responsive Web Design (which also doesn't guarantee full functionality) , and is off topic for this site - you can Google about it and here is some information from sister SE sites

How on earth does the server identify the browser an android browser, even in the "desktop mode"?

User Agent information which is shared by all browsers (barring privacy oriented browsers but if you use such browsers, you may face other issues YMMV)

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The best solution I've found, which works for the Gmail filter problem, is using Firefox Beta or Nightly and then setting the devPixelsPerPx setting to 1 as per this SO thread, as well as turning on desktop mode.

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