Do you browse the internet on your iOS device? As you know, Safari on iOS is capable of displaying full webpages, exactly how they display on the desktop (Flash support aside).
Ever come across a site that serves you a different version of their website specifically designed for your device? Sometimes, this is great, but other times, the special mobile version is simply awful and even worse, sometimes sites serve the same stripped down mobile site to iOS as they do to those old smartphones that didn’t support full HTML.
Some sites might be nice enough to include a link to the full site in the footer, but other sites are not. That’s not really want Steve Jobs called “the full internet” during the iPhone launch.
Even though the iPad is much larger than the iPhone and iPod touch, it still identifies itself in the browser user agent as a mobile device, so it often still gets served a mobile site.
In order to bypass these awful mobile sites, your device needs to pretend to be another browser/device by spoofing the user agent. Safari doesn’t have this feature (and I doubt it ever will), but a few alternative browsers available on the App Store do.
Sleipnir Mobile (Free)
Sleipnir Mobile is a free alternative browser with features like page grouping and user agent spoofing. It has many preset user agents and has an option to write your own.
Sleipnir Mobile is a free universal app.
Terra is a free web browser with features like swipe gestures, desktop style tabs, and user agent spoofing. It provides 4 preset user agents.
Terra is a free universal app.
LastPass Tab (Free – iPad only)
LastPass is a popular online password manager we mentioned before. They made a browser for the iPad to make it easier to login to websites, however it is not limited to LastPass users. It works just like a normal browser even without logging in.
LastPass Tab is for iPad only.
Atomic Web Browser ($0.99)
Atomic Web Browser is one of the most popular alternate browsers available on the App Store. Its numerous features include real desktop style tabs, download manager with Dropbox support, multitouch gestures, color themes, ad-blocker, and of course user agent spoofing.
Atomic has 9 different user agents to choose from, although two of them would be duplicates
Atomic Web Browser is a universal app and costs $0.99.
Atomic Web Browser Lite is available for free, however does not include user agent spoofing.
iCab Mobile ($1.99)
iCab Mobile is probably the most feature packed browser I could find and contains even more features than Atomic, such as support for modules (similar to extensions) and a Safari like interface.
iCab Mobile is a universal app and costs $1.99.
SkyFire not only supports user agent switching but also supports Flash (mainly for videos), something Apple does not and will not include into Safari.
SkyFire user agent switching is currently limited to desktop mode or iPad/iPhone mode, which should be sufficient for most people.
SkyFire costs $2.99 for the iPhone/iPod touch version and $4.99 for the iPad version.
All of the browsers mentioned above have a rating of 17+ because of the way Apple rates apps. All web browser type apps have this rating.
Due to Apple’s restrictions, none of these browsers can be set as the default browser, which will always be Safari. Whenever you open a link from other apps, it will always open the page using Safari.
What is your favorite browser for iOS? Have another browser that supports user agent spoofing? Share with us in the comments.