Change Browser User Agent on Chrome, Safari, & Firefox

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A web browser user agent is how a website knows what type of computer, operating system and browsing app you are using. Some sites have different themes, CSS, content or even different sites for different browsers and operating systems, and many developers often need to change their own user agent to test these skills and build these alternative sites.

We cover how to change the user agent for all popular modern web browsers available to the desktop user in Mac OS X and Windows, including Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

How to Change the User Agent in Chrome

All new versions of Chrome include the ability to change the user agent very easily, and it is more powerful with more options than the simplified ones available to Safari users. Chrome’s user agent overrides also allows the user agents device resolution to be specified, forcibly redrawing the page within that resolution. There is no need to enable the user agent settings in Chrome, you just need to find them under the developer options:

  1. Open Chrome and pull down the ‘View’ menu, go to ‘Developer’ and select ‘Developer tools’ to open the developer panel
  2. Click on the three dots button in the right corner, select ‘More tools’ and select ‘Network conditions’
  3. Search for ‘User Agent’ and uncheck the box next to ‘Automatically select’ to show all user agent options in Chrome
  4. Select an optional user agent from the drop-down menu to activate that user agent in Chrome

How to    change user agent in Chrome

This works in Chrome for Mac, Windows and Linux.

In old versions of Chrome, you can change the user agent as follows:

  • Open Chrome and pull down the ‘View’ menu, go to ‘Developer’ and select ‘Developer Tools’ to open the Developer panel
  • Click the Settings gear icon button is located in the lower right corner
  • Click on the ‘Overrides’ tab to find the User Agent options, select a user agent from the drop-down menu, modify an existing one or enter a new user agent

Change the User Agent in Chrome

Chrome also immediately redraws pages with the new user agent, and if device statistics are set, it also uses the set resolution size of the devices when redrawing the page.

How to Change the Browser User Agent to Safari

By far the easiest way to change a user agent on the Mac is through Safari’s develop menu, if that’s not already enabled we’ll cover and show you that too how to change user agents easily:

  • Open Safari and pull ‘Preferences’ from the Safari menu
  • Click on the ‘Advanced’ tab and check the box next to ‘Show development menu in menu bar’
  • Close the preferences and find the new “Develop” menu next to “Window”, pull that down and select “User Agent”
  • Choose a pre-specified user agent or select “Other” to use a different user agent string

Change the User Agent in Safari

Note that if you hover the mouse pointer over a specific user agent, the exact UA string used will be displayed in a yellow box next to the menu item.

After selecting one of the user agents, you will see the currently open web page being refreshed. If the page in question happens to provide different information to other browsers, the page may look different. For example, if you change a user agent to a mobile device and mobile browser may cause some web pages to take you to their mobile websites, or display a page that looks different through a responsive layout.

How to Change Browser User Agent in Firefox without using an extension

Firefox can also do this by default, although it is arguably the most clunky of the modern browsers and is therefore not really recommended as some Firefox extensions handle it better.

  • Enter about: config in the URL box and press return
  • Search for “useragent” (one word) and create a new string called “general.useragent.override”
  • Place the user agent and choose “OK”

Keep in mind that changing the user agent does not change the way the web browser renders the pages itself, unless it provides user agent specific content. For example, using an IE8 user agent is not the same as visiting a page with IE8 and having it render the page, a need that is often mandatory for web developers. For that, you really need to take the time to run Internet Explorer on a virtual machine on top of Mac OS X, which is free and fairly easy to set up up.

How about spoofing user agents from the command line?

For the command line junkies, you can also use curl for this purpose and get the source code of a page if another browser or operating system, the basic syntax is:

curl -A “UserAgentString” http://url.com

The videos below demonstrate how to enable and change the browser user agent in Safari under Mac OS X, and also how to do this in Chrome on Mac OS X, Windows or Linux:

And Chrome:

Keep in mind that changing the user agent does not change the way the web browser renders the pages itself, unless it provides user agent specific content. For example, using an IE8 user agent is not the same as visiting a page with IE8 and having it render the page, a need that is often mandatory for web developers. For that, you really need to take the time to run Internet Explorer on a virtual machine on top of Mac OS X, which is free and fairly easy to set up up If necessary.

Thanks to @ImpechCerrato for the tip idea, you can also follow @OSXDaily on Twitter.

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Change the Browser User Agent in Chrome, Safari, & Firefox: FAQ

Tutorial Summary: Change the Browser User Agent in Chrome, Safari, & Firefox

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What is actual time in which this method complete?

The time to complete the Change the Browser User Agent in Chrome, Safari, & Firefox tutorial is 10+ minutes.

What are the supported Device?

Apple

What are the supported Operating system?

mac OS


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