3 best ways to open sites in mobile mode in Safari for iPadOS

3 best ways to open sites in mobile mode in Safari for iPadOS

Safari is a greatly improved web browser on iPads running iPadOS. You can customize websites, use content blockers, manage multiple file downloads, perform tons of keyboard shortcuts, and more. And it also loads websites in desktop mode – which is so handy for browsing the web.

By default, Safari for iPadOS masquerades as a desktop browser (with a Safari for Mac user agent chain to start). And with the desktop-oriented nature of iPadOS, that makes complete sense.

However, the iPad still mainly uses touchscreen input, and there are several cases where some office sites won’t work with your favorite gestures.

So, you may want to switch some sites to mobile mode when their desktop versions don’t respond so well. But how do you do this?

Fortunately, Safari for iPadOS offers several ways to launch sites in mobile mode. Let’s check out the top three we tested and can confirm that they work perfectly.

1. Load a single site in mobile mode – temporarily

You can easily ask Safari to switch from a tab to a mobile view whenever you have problems with the desktop view of the site. Start by touching the ᴀA icon in the left corner of the Safari address bar.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 1

In the menu that appears, tap View mobile website. As soon as you do that, Safari will reload the tab automatically and show you the mobile version of the website.

The tab site will continue to display in mobile mode, even if you access a different page on the same site.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 2

Note: The change only applies to the active tab you are currently viewing and not to the entire browser. You must repeat this action for the other tabs if you want to switch the other sites to mobile view.

If you want to return to desktop mode, tap the menu based on the ᴀA icon again, and then tap the Show desktop site option. Safari will automatically return the tab to desktop mode in case you move away from another website.

2. Load a single site in mobile mode – always

If you want to load a specific website in mobile mode permanently, regardless of which tab you are on, then you need to configure the site content settings slightly. Display the ᴀA menu, and then tap Website settings.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 3

On the website settings sheet that appears, clear the button next to Request desktop site and tap Done to apply your changes.

Safari will automatically refresh the website and relaunch it in mobile mode. And it will continue to do so, even when you launch the site (and all associated web pages) in other tabs. This will continue even if you quit the Safari app and reopen it.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 4

If you want to return to using the desktop version of the website, be sure to open the site in the tab you’re currently on, reopen the Website Settings sheet from the menu based ‘aA icons, then activate the switch next to Request Desktop Site.

Alternatively, you can temporarily request the desktop version by tapping the View desktop site option in the ᴀA menu.

3. Load all sites in mobile mode

Tired of sites that load in desktop mode? You can configure Safari to load all websites in mobile mode by default. This is ideal if you don’t have a keyboard or mouse configured on your iPad and rather want an exceptional tactile experience with Safari.

Start by opening the Settings app on your iPad. Go down on the left side, select Safari, then scroll through the list of Safari settings until you get to the Website settings section. Tap the Request Office Website option below.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 5

On the Request Desktop Website screen that appears, turn off the switch next to All websites. This should prompt Safari to load all sites in mobile mode.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 6

Note: Safari will continue to open sites in mobile mode until you return to the Request desktop website setting in Settings> Safari and turn on the switch next to All websites.

If there are sites that you have manually configured to display in mobile mode using the previous method, the Request desktop website screen is displayed slightly differently.

Open sites Ipados Safari in mobile mode 7

In this case, you will see a list of all excluded websites and the All websites option will appear as Other websites – turn off the switch next to it to make Safari load all websites in mobile mode.

Mobile mode to the rescue

Apple did the right thing by setting up Safari on iPadOS to launch sites in default desktop mode. However, using a keyboard and mouse to interact with some of the more complicated sites will certainly make a difference. So the next time a website causes you grief, know that mobile is at your fingertips.


Did you know that you can use multiple Safari windows in iPadOS? Here’s everything you need to know about using them.

Last updated on May 1, 2020

The above article may contain affiliate links that help support Guiding Tech. However, this does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains impartial and authentic.

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