July 5, 2020

Safari: How to Request Desktop Mode on iPhone or iPad

Like many other iOS features, especially ones for the Safari browser, the Request Desktop Site mode is hidden. With iOS 13, Apple has changed the placement of this option which makes it a bit easier to find.

NOTE: If you are on iPadOS, the desktop mode is enabled by default for all sites in Safari.

In this Tech Tips & Tricks, we will show you how to view desktop mode in Safari on iPhone or iPad.


How to View Desktop Site in Safari

On iOS 12 and Below

1. Open the Safari app on your iPhone or iPad and load a website.

2. Tap and hold the 'Refresh' button next to the URL bar.

3. You’ll see a popup at the bottom of the screen. From here, select 'Request Desktop Site.'

The website will reload, and you’ll now see the desktop version of the site.

To go back to the mobile version, tap and hold the 'Refresh' button again > Select 'Request Mobile Site.'

On iOS 13

If you have updated your iPhone to iOS 13, Safari won’t show the option to launch sites in desktop mode in its usual location any longer. That isn’t surprising considering the various features that Apple has moved around in other native apps 

There are three ways you could consider using to enable desktop mode in Safari on iOS 13 depending on your purposes.

1. Enable Desktop Mode for a Site TEMPORARILY

1. Press the aA icon.

2. Tap Request Desktop Website.

The setting only applies to the tab that is currently active. However, any links within the tab that you choose to open in new tabs will load in desktop mode as well.

The tab will continue to load sites in desktop mode unless you either close the tab or specify it to load the mobile versions of websites again.

To make a tab, let's go back to loading the mobile version of a site again, tap the aA icon > Tap 'Request Mobile Website.'

2. Enable Desktop Mode for a Site PERMANENTLY

1. Tap the aA icon.

2. Tap 'Website Settings.'

3. Toggle the switch on next to the Request Desktop Website.

4. Tap 'Done.'

The site will now load in desktop mode all the time despite whichever tab you use.

If you want to stop that from happening in the future, open the Website Settings pane while you have the site loaded > Toggle the switch off next to Request Desktop Website.

3. Enable Desktop Mode for All Sites PERMANENTLY

1. Tap the Settings icon on the Home screen.

2. Scroll down > Tap Safari.

Safari - Enable Desktop Mode for All Sites PERMANENTLY (1)

3. On the Safari Settings screen, scroll down > Tap Request Desktop Website.

4. Toggle the switch on next to Request On All Websites.

Safari - Enable Desktop Mode for All Sites PERMANENTLY (2)

Exit the Settings app, and then launch Safari. All sites will now load in desktop mode until you decide to turn the option off via the Settings app.

If you want to exclude certain sites from loading in desktop mode, bring up the aA menu > Tap Website Settings > Toggle the switch off next to Request Desktop Website.

As you just found out, you can make a tab load in desktop mode while using Safari on your Apple device, as well as configure respective sites or all websites to do that. The desktop sites don’t really look all that good on the iPhone screen, and also there are interaction challenges involved. That said, the additional flexibility that the browser now provides means that you can have desktop mode enabled just for those sites that you visit often.