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October 17, 2007

Google on an iPhone

Google's mobile sites look a little different on an iPhone. The iPhone versions don't have special URLs, as Google checks the user-agent to detect different devices. I changed my Firefox user-agent by typing about:config in the address bar and creating a new string value:

Name: general.useragent.override
Value: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU like Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKit/420+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.0 Mobile/1A538a Safari/419

To go back the original value, you just have to right-click on the item and select "Reset".

While the iPhone versions usually have a better user interface, in some cases they also have more features (Mobile Google Docs lets you view presentations only on the iPhone). I wonder how they will look on a Google Phone.

Picasa Web (compare it with the standard mobile version)

{ Thanks, Martin Porcheron. }


  1. Can't you link "about:config" in your post?

  2. That doesn't seem to work. I think it only works in Opera.

  3. I use the "User Agent Switcher"-Add-On for Firefox and a self created iPhone-Setting.

    See attached.

    You can switch from iPhone-View to any other custom view.

    [The comment was edited because it linked to a page that contained malware. - Ionut]

  4. There is no malware behind, Ionut - just the screenshot with my working settings for this add-on:

    BTW: the link you corrected is not working!

  5. @worlbit:

    The image loads fine here. The link you posted launches an annoying ad from that triggers a warning from my anti-virus.

    I uploaded your image to ImageShack.

  6. Any idea how to get it work with the iPod Touch? because I have not been able to get it to work. When I visit my gCalendar or gReader in the iPod's safari browser I get the full size pages instead of the "iPhone" versions.

  7. Use the following bonus : !

  8. Wish you could do this in Windows Mobile 5/6.
    That would be really nice.

  9. "Wish you could do this in Windows Mobile 5/6. That would be really nice."
    I completely agree!!!

  10. Good news and Bad news -

    Good - I had the Google iPhone interfaces for GMail, Reader, and mobile hompeage working by changing the useragent in pocket internet explorer (PIE).

    Bad - the new AJAXified version of the mobile homepage now loads a blank page in PIE :( :(. Now when I got directly to GMail or Reader, they have both reverted to their rather lame standard mobile versions!! I liked the big text and nicer look of the iPhone versions on my touch screen PPC phone.

    Now - who can find if google mirrored their old iPhone interfaces to a new url so that we can still access it?

    P.S. changing the useragent in PIE is done by using a registry editor