Bypass Mobile Sites on the iPad

You know my eyes, they don’t see so well. My iPad ushers me around this lack of retinal sharpness, allowing me to read digital print. The ability to take two fingers to the screen and move them apart in the “zoom out” gesture pleases me for a millisecond every time. I feel included again, in the know.

This is all well and good until I surf onto a website and its server recognizes my iPad as a mobile device by my iOS user agent and it pushes the Mobile Site onto my screen. Sure, for you sighted wonders the Mobile Site is well-appointed like a great hotel room, neat, pleasing to the eyes. But to someone visually impaired like me, it eliminates zooming and creates an annoyance, a need to search for that (often buried) link, “Full Site” or “Desktop View.” When I find it I’m relieved. I’m back to zooming in as needed to consume more words.

Not all websites give users the option of reset links though. Sometimes, I find myself backed in a cyber corner without even the “a A” logo up top that indicates I can upgrade a few font sizes. My annoyance turns to rage. The zoom is why I love my iPad (besides the other accessibility features like VoiceOver and Siri and brightness controls) and I don’t want to be forced to view Mobile Sites.

After much googling and reading of message boards, I discovered workarounds to bypass mobile sites on the iPad:

  • Enable VoiceOver and have it read the page. Alternatively, highlight a text block and select Speak. I was already doing these things, but maybe you didn’t realize these options, so voilà.
  • Download the Goggle Chrome web browser app. It’s free. It gives an option in the drop-down menu to Request Desktop Site, which I choose to override servers from sites like Twitter that would otherwise bump me to the dreaded Mobile Site.
  • Download the Atomic Web Browser Lite app. It’s free. It allows me to force sites like Slate to relent even when Chrome’s Request Desktop Site fails. From the cogwheel icon up top, choose Increase Font. Bingo. Even better, at the end of the cogwheel drop-down menu select Settings then toggle on the Increase Zoom Level. Heaven.

Are you using your iPad or iPhone or other mobile device as your main way to access the internet? What do you think of Mobile Sites vs Full Sites? Tell me about it.



7 Comments Add yours

  1. Trisha says:

    I didn’t know about these workarounds! Being the impatient person that I am, I just click off sites that I can’t zoom to a size large enough to read. I can definitely understand your frustration. Some of the fonts are so small!

    1. Static pages make me crazy–until now!

  2. Casee says:

    I use the workarounds everyday. Having voiceover read the pages even character by character is quite a big help, especially when I want to know how something is spelled. Internet spelling is the worse! I sound like my mom now so I’ll stop. 🙂

    1. The older we get, the more Momisms emerge.

      1. Casee says:

        I am so happy she is still around so I can tell her how much “smarter” she got as I got older. 🙂

  3. Thanks for this post. The organization I work for is very concerned about our mobile site. It’s good to keep this in mind.

    1. Great. I’m glad the post was relevant for that.

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