View pages that require IE or a PC on your Mac

Need Safari to appear like it’s another web browser like Internet Explorer? Just change the user agent.

Whether you develop for the web and need to see how your site or web app displays itself in multiple browsers, or you just want to visit a site that requires a particular browser that you don’t want to use, you may eventually need to use a browser other than Safari. While most of the web is free to access through any browser you’d like, there are occasionally websites (particularly older ones) that need you to use browsers like Internet Explorer, or worse yet, would like you to be on a Windows PC. Or maybe you’d like to see how your site or web app presents itself in Safari on iPhone or iPad, or Chrome on Windows.

Luckily, Safari on Mac has the answer for you. Safari allows you to masquerade as the user of other browsers and Windows through a tool in its Develop menu: changing the user agent. Changing the user agent tells websites that you’re using a browser other than the version of Safari that you’re using on your Mac. It can event tell a website that you’re running Windows.

Safari for Mac supports the following user agents:

  • Safari for iPhone
  • Safari for iPad
  • Safari for iPod touch
  • Microsoft Edge
  • Internet Explorer 11
  • Internet Explorer 10
  • Internet Explorer 9
  • Internet Explorer 8
  • Internet Explorer 7
  • Google Chrome for Mac
  • Google Chrome for Windows
  • Firefox for Mac
  • Firefox for Windows

Keep in mind that, though Safari will appear to be another browser, it won’t actually be that browser. Any web app or site that requires, say, Chrome’s Blink rendering engine (which Safari doesn’t have) won’t work properly, even if Safari’s user agent is changed to Google Chrome.

Here’s how you go about changing the user agent in Safari.

How to access websites in Safari that require a PC or another browser

  1. Open Safari from your Dock or Applications folder.
  2. Click Safari in the Menu bar.

  3. Click Preferences.
  4. Click Advanced.

  5. Check the box next to Show Develop menu in the menu bar.
  6. Close the Preferences window. The user agent choices will be grayed out and unselectable if you don’t.

  7. Click Develop.
  8. Hover over User Agent.

  9. Click on the user agent of the browser you need. If you need to pretend that you’re using a PC, choose Microsoft Edge, a version of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome — Windows, or Firefox — Windows.

Doing this should get you through a website detection-checker.

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Questions?

If you have any questions about masquerading Safari as a Windows web browser, let us know in the comments.

Updated May 2019: Updated through macOS Mojave.

Serenity Caldwell contributed to a previous version of this article.

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