New in iOS 8: Request Desktop Site in Safari

iOS 8 (Safari, Request Desktop Site teaser)

Call me nitpicky, but there’s this tiny little feature in Google’s Chrome for iOS that I wish every mobile browser had: the ability to request a desktop version of a mobile site. Often times when you visit a website the server would detect your mobile device and automatically serve a mobile-optimized webpage.

For the most part, this works for the vast majority of normals. However, power users may have their own reasons for wanting to browse full-blown desktop websites on their mobile devices.

Responding to user feedback, Apple built a new Request Desktop Site feature into Safari on iOS 8. I quite like it and am positive that my Chrome usage will decrease as a result…

While Chrome the this feature under its main menu, Safari on iOS 8 doesn’t make it immediately obvious. Here’s how it works. First, you obviously need to visit a website.

Next, tap on Safari’s address bar, as depicted on the left screenshot below. This will bring up Safari’s new list populated with icons of your bookmarks and frequently visited websites.

Here comes the key part. Pull down on the menu to reveal two new options: Add to Favorites and Request Desktop Site, as evidenced by the screenshot on the right. Choosing Request Desktop Site forces Safari to switch to a desktop-optimized version of the website, if any.

iOS 8 (Safari, iDownloadBlog homepage 003)iOS 8 (Safari, iDownloadBlog homepage 004)

Curiously, the feature doesn’t get a mention on Apple’s iOS 8 webpage.

It works as advertised and I couldn’t be happier that Apple has decided to enhance mobile Safari this way. Again, much of my Chrome iOS usage stems from the need to surf desktop websites rather than their mobile counterparts and iOS 8 Safari now makes this possible with a simple tap.

This feature was first spotted in the first beta of iOS 8 and is, in my personal opinion, one of the most useful unmentioned features of iOS 8.

So, how do you like this essential nice-to-have?

Out of curiosity, are there cases when you need to load a desktop version of the website on your iPhone or iPad?

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