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How to enable Desktop Mode in the BlackBerry 10 browser

Desktop Mode
By Kevin Michaluk on 6 Feb 2013 03:11 pm EST
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If you've been a BlackBerry user for a while, you may remember that on older versions of the BBOS you had the option to enable desktop view for web pages in the browser. It was a cool feature for when you wanted to easily get away from a mobile site but sadly went missing in more recent versions of the BlackBerry web browser.

Thankfully it has made its way back in BlackBerry 10 -- it's hidden a bit deep in the settings -- but it's there. If you want to enable Desktop Mode on your BlackBerry Z10 or BlackBerry Q10 it only takes a few taps, so keep reading to see how it's done.

To turn on Desktop Mode and view full web pages, you just have to toggle one setting:

Desktop Mode

  • In the Browser, tap the overflow icon (3 dots)
  • Tap Settings, then Developer Tools
  • Tap the toggle for Desktop Mode to turn it on 

That's that. Now when you load web pages you should be directed to the full desktop view of websites. Take note that sometimes you may still get redirected. Diferent websites have different redirect rules in place for how they direct traffic once they identify a device. But this setting should make it more easy for you to  

Making Desktop Mode an option vs. a feature

It's a little curious as to why BlackBerry chose to hide Desktop Mode within the Developer Tools menu vs. making it an option on the main settings panel. For a lot of people, myself included, I want to get the full version of a website vs. the mobile site. Especially with LTE speeds and a web browser as great as that on BlackBerry 10. Sometimes the mobile version of sites feels like a disservice on the Z10, given it's big 4.2" display and awesome rendering abilities. Some other mobile browsers -- such as the Google chrome browser -- include Desktop View as an option that is on the main browser features menu, something that I would like to see come to the BlackBerry 10 web browser too.

Talking to Matt from the Browser Team at BlackBerry (formerly RIM), I asked him about this curious location for the Desktop Mode setting. The short answer was that on a mobile device like a phone, BlackBerry wants you using the mobile version when available as that should deliver the fastest and most optimized browsing experience. That's logic I don't disagree with, but I do like to have the option to see the full version of a desktop site easily.

A lot of websites have crappy mobile experiences, so you want to be able to pull up the desktop view quickly. Having this setting moved so it can be more quickly toggled would be a benefit. I noticed while visiting some sites on the Z10, that when Desktop Mode is disabled and you choose to exit the mobile view on a site to view the full desktop site (by tapping a link on the webpage), the mobile default would override my choice (even though I was leaving the mobile site, I was directed back to it). When this occurred, turning on Desktop Mode allowed proper access to the mobile site.

Nitpicking over the location of this feature aside, it's there and usable on BlackBerry 10. So put it to use!

Reader comments

How to enable Desktop Mode in the BlackBerry 10 browser

21 Comments

This would have helped 30 minutes ago when I was playing with a Z10 at Virgin Mobile. I was a fully funtioning Z10 with a SIM card.

B4 left I made sure crackberry.com was bookmarked & also had a shortcut on the homescreen ;)

"I noticed while visiting some sites on the Z10, that when Desktop Mode is disabled and you choose to exit the mobile view on a site to view the full desktop site (by tapping a link on the webpage), the mobile default would override my choise (even though I was leaving the mobile site, I was directed back to it)."

I've had this happen on the PlayBook too.

I wonder if sites like Netflix and Hulu will work with this setting... Probably not as they probably can still identify that it's coming from a BlackBerry.

Still don't work. Those sites block BlackBerrys. Both Z10 & PB. Guess they are mad that these devices accually work on their sites without an app.

shhhhh, Apple doesn't want people knowing that they don't need apps.

So to rewrite your comment,......

Still won't work, you REALLY NEED an app, because apps are the next big thing....oops, Samsung might come after me for that one

Most of the issue of seeing a complete desktop view gets addressed with something in WordPress called "Responsive Design" where how the website is presented on various size devices is determined by the actual device detected. My website in the signature below has incorporated it and one can easily view all the elements going from PC to PlayBook (different layout in landscape vs portrait mode) to iPhone 5 and BlackBerry Z10.

Basically the main page is narrowed; the sidebar is moved below the main page and the menus are available in separate view on the smaller screens.

Several WordPress themes, such as WooThemes, now include responsive design as an option.

Jim Courtney
Editor and Publisher
Voice On The Web (voiceontheweb.biz)

I wish I had this feature on my blackberry playbook browser.... does anyone know if this will ever show up on the playbook browser? a lot of mobile sites stink

I wish for the same on the PlayBook. One website that only comes up as the mobile version is mlb.com. I just cannot find a link away from m.mlb.com. This appears to have been imposed after the upgrade to version 2.0 of the os and the change from 2 to just 1 browser.

That's what SimpleBrowser is for :)

I wish they would just allow us to change the freaking user agent. Problem solved.

True, I remember having no problems running full sites, on certain sites I like to visit, in the early version of OS 2.0 but it seems like the recent updates have affected this.

they need to make the switch a gesture. Draw a lower case "d" in the middle of the screen to go to desktop mode, draw a "m" in the middle of the screen to go mobile. These are both patterns you wouldn't encounter in normal browsing, and you could put a toggle in the developer section to turn off the gesture shortcut if somehow you ended up on a website where this was a problem. Or, you could make it multi-touch where you put your left thumb on the corner of the screen and draw the shortcut with your right finger. Now that I think about it, you could embed a lot of shortcuts that way. Be nice to see thumb + swipe up/down to go to top/bottom of page just like t and b on the qwerty models. It should be more than smart enough to know the difference between a stationary thumb and a pinch to zoom gesture where both fingers are moving

Cheers for the Tip @Kevin - Done and done!

Now I can surf the Tube (etc.) the way I like it - un-mobily on my mobile device :-D

tc

Matt from the Browser Team at BlackBerry is part of the problem that still plagues BlackBerry, the company formerly known as Research In Motion.

If you want the desktop site to come up on the PlayBook, contact the webmaster. I'm not naive enough to believe that one user will change a website policy on how the site handles different browsers, however at the same time I had a very good experience with discovermagazine.com. I sent some feedback about the mobile site (awful in my opinion) and told him/her that the PlayBook browser could handle the full site. The next day the full site came up and I haven't seen the mobile site since. Could be coincidence, but it would be a really big coincidence. It never hurts to politely point out the power of the PlayBook.

Maybe they will re-organize the location of some of these settings / options. Either way, no biggie, glad the option exists. It beats having to always scroll for the "exit mobile" button.
____________________________________________________________

in the time of your life, live so that in that good time, there should be no ugliness or death for yourself or for any life that your life touches, seek goodness everywhere

I used it to listen to SiriusXM online. Make sure you enable flash, then no need for an app!
player.siriusxm.ca

Ignore the password warning, just type in your username and password, and you're good to go.

Sweet!

Nice feature. Ironic that crackberry is one of those sites that ignores this setting and keeps showing the mobile version... lol