Smartphones have recently become the preferred way for any user to access websites for their needs. Thus, websites have increasingly begun offering two separate versions of themselves: a mobile version, and a full desktop version.
The light mobile website versions generally present the same basic content, but lack functionality better-suited to a full-screen environment, such as zooming in and out on articles, and large photos. Sites increasingly use responsive or adaptive web design to change and modify themselves to fit screens of any shape or size while still displaying content in a reasonable layout.
However, mobile sites hide certain functionality behind their desktop versions, limiting what mobile users can see or do while browsing the site. Though this is done to retain usability and run more smoothly on mobile platforms, it mostly than not, leave power users out when they’re looking for specific options on their favorite websites.
This can be incredibly frustrating when the only reason one is trying to visit a particular site is to use a particular feature (such as dark mode), which might happen to be excluded from the mobile site.
It’s now standard for websites to have a mobile version. Conveniently, we can browse the web with a mostly mobile-optimized experience. Browsing with the desktop version may be preferable with larger devices.
At times, the user may just prefer the layout of a desktop browser. However, some websites prioritize the desktop web, which could make the mobile counterpart buggy, and not fully featured.
Request Desktop Version of a Website on Android Phone
With most people using their Mobile devices for web browsing and also for making purchases, most websites are now designing the mobile version of their websites to contain the same features as available on the desktop version.
However, some websites still offer a trimmed-down version of their websites on mobile browsers in order to speed up webpages and other design considerations.
Luckily, Android Phones make it easy to Request the Desktop Version of a website whenever limitations on the particular websites the user visits.
Request Desktop Version of Website on Chrome for Android
Follow the steps below:
- Open up the Chrome Browser on your android device.
- Next, visit the website that you wish to request a desktop version for.
- Now, tap on the 3 dot Chrome icon, located in the top right corner of your screen.
- Scroll down the options, and tap on the Request Desktop site option.
This will ensure the current website will only be loaded in the desktop version.
To disable this feature, follow the steps below.
- Open up Chrome browser on your Android Phone or tablet.
- Next tap on the 3-dot menu icon.
- From the list of options, tap on Request Desktop Site.
You can also disable the request desktop site feature, by closing the current Chrome tab and opening a new tab.
Alternate way – On Web Page Option
Some web pages have a link for switching to the desktop version. The link is usually hidden somewhere at the bottom of the page.
Look for links that say “non-mobile”, “classic”, “full site” or “normal page”.
This option, however, is no longer common with websites opting for responsive websites rather than static ones
Make Chrome open desktop mode by default on Android
Many users are experiencing the Chrome app reverting to mobile sites after a time, despite “Request Desktop Site” being enabled.
This is because from Android Nougat and onward, Chrome cannot read from /data/local/ due to restrictive SELinux permissions.
Some guides on this issue may instruct you to simply change /data/local to /data/local/tmp. This, however, does not work with the latest versions of Chrome and Chromium. The apps will not even attempt to use the files unless you are in Debug Mode. Just set Chrome into Debug Mode in your Android’s Developer Options.
First, install a Chrome command-line file from the Downloads section, and flash it via TWRP or another custom recovery.
You can also simply download and place it manually (using a rooted file explorer) into /data/local/tmp, but this requires setting the file permissions to 755.
Lastly, you can also do it over ADB, using the ADB command line below:
adb push chrome-command-line /data/local/tmp/chrome-command-line
If you use a manual deploy method (root file explorer or ADB method), you will need to manually adjust the scale factor in the “chrome-command-line.txt” file, then rename it to “chrome-command-line”.
In the Developer Options, scroll down to “Select Debugging App”.
Choose Chrome, then disable the option “Wait for Debugger”. If Chrome is not available in the Debugging App options, you can force this over ADB using the ADB command:
adb shell am set-debug-app --persistent com.android.chrome
Chrome will now be forced into debugging mode. Confirm in the Developer Options by checking under “Select Debugging App”, to see that Chrome is set.
Next, launch the Chrome app, navigate to Settings > Accessibility, then enable the option “Force Enable Zoom”.
Close the Chrome browser, and relaunch it. The permanent Desktop mode is now active.
Since June 2018 builds for Chrome on Android, it seems they have been making major changes to how the Android version decides which interface method is used – such as whether you’re on a phone or tablet.
Previously, when using the phone, you could simply set the scale factor to whatever you desired, and you would still get the mobile interface. That changed for if you set the force-device-scale-factor to a number too low, it will give you a tabbed tablet-style interface. Another option is to increase the scale factor until it returns to the mobile style interface.
You no longer need to make scale changes in increments of 0.25, which is positive, as you can now fine-tune things a bit more to get a larger viewport.
Some websites may decide what site version you receive by your user agent, but most of them will also look at the available viewport size, that is, the screen width. So if you set the scale factor too high, you could still end up with the mobile version of a website. In Portrait mode, you may also still receive a mobile version due to restricted width, but by changing to Landscape mode, you find that you receive the Desktop version of the site.
Some of the best scale factors to use to consistently get Desktop sites, based on screen resolution include:
- 720p and below: Choose a scale factor between 1 and 1.25, going up to 1.5, you will most likely start getting mobile websites.
- 1080p: use a scale factor of either 1.5, 1.75, or 2. At a scale factor of 2, a good majority of websites will display the desktop version, but if the device is in portrait mode, restricting width takes you to the mobile websites
- Higher than 1080p: use between 1.75 or 2, or go higher if you have a 4k screen.
Some mobile sites are less than user-friendly, and getting to the desktop version of the site can be cumbersome at best. This is a welcomed additional feature to Chrome for Android devices
Nowadays, many websites are built as responsive websites. They adapt themselves according to the device and the screen size it is accessed from. So, even if you prefer the full desktop version of the website, viewing it on your mobile might still not be possible.
It is, however, a good implementation as the mobile version of the website uses fewer resources and consumes relatively less data.
Mobile Responsive View is currently the preferred way by most websites as a way to view web pages. Even though this helps to view the entire page without the overflow in the screen, some websites still support only the desktop sites.