The user-agent string is a little-known line of information with a very big impact on how browsers see the web. We recently discussed the benefits of a user-agent switcher and how it can enhance your browsing experience.
However,switching your browser’s user agent no longer requires that you installthird-party software, such as extensions. Over the past few years, mainstreambrowsers have all started including such functionality as a part of theirdeveloper console or within standard menus.
Althoughuncommon, there is a chance for browser extensions to become hijacked formalicious purposes, which could be a risk to your security. They can also addunnecessary bloat to the browser and eventually cause it to slow down.
Inthis article, let’s go over how you can change your user agent in today’s mostpopular browsers without an extension.
How To Change Your User Agent In Google Chrome
- First, you’ll need to openChrome’s developer console. To do so, press the Ctrl + Shift + I keys. A panel should open up on the right side ofyour Chrome window.
- Click on the icon of the three vertical dots(top-right corner).
- In this menu, hover over More tools and then select Network conditions.
- A new panel should open atthe bottom of the current one. If you look or scroll down towards the bottom ofthis panel, you should see a User agentlabel, which includes a respective set of options.
Here, you can select from a set of defined user agents or even enter your own custom user agent string . It’s that simple.
How To Change Your User Agent In Mozilla Firefox OrOpera
Withoutusing a browser add-on, changing Firefox’s user agent is a tricky task thatrequires you to delve deep into the browser’s configuration. For Opera users,you can follow these same instructions – the process is identical.
- The first step is to type about:config in the address bar and hitEnter. If it’s your first time doingso, you should see a disclaimer stating that you’re entering risky territorythat’s for advanced users only. Proceed past this warning.
- Next, in the Search field at the top of this screen,type in general.useragent.override.You’ll likely be met with a blank screen. If your search finds a preferencethough, skip further down this page to where we’re modifying the value of it.
- If the preference isn’t there, right-click on a blank area of the page, hover New, and select the String option. Here, enter the same string that we searched for: general.useragent.override.
- After hitting Enter, the next prompt will ask for the new string’s value. The value has to be the exact name of the user-agent string you wish to use. You can use something completely custom or find millions of valid user-agent strings from WhatIsMyBrowser.com .
- Once you’ve input auser-agent string, hit Enter, andthat’s it. This setting will remain persistent each time you restart yourbrowser. If you’d ever like to reset this setting to its default value, justright-click on the preference name and select Reset.
Thestring will remain in your settings, but setting it to a blank value has thesame effect as deleting it.
How To Change Your User Agent In Microsoft Edge
Edgeis the new browser that Microsoft has been trying to shine a spotlight onlately, but if you still prefer Internet Explorer, the process to change youruser agent is the same.
- First, open Edge and pressthe F12 key on your keyboard.
- In the right-side panel thatopens, look for Emulation across thetop. Depending on your resolution size, you may not be able to find it atfirst, but if you click on the arrowpointing downwards with the Moretools tooltip, you’ll find it.
Edge’semulation options are quite robust, allowing you to change your device, displayorientation/resolution, geolocation, and user-agent string.
Like many other browsers, Edge supports custom user-agent strings .
How To Change Your User Agent In Safari
Safariallows you to change your user agent from the menu bar, but you’ll first needto enable the developer menu.
- To do so, go into the Preferences… menu (either by clickingon Safari or the far-right cog icon, depending on your version).
- On the window that pops up,click on the Advanced tab and thentick the checkbox of the bottommost option, Show Develop menu in menu bar.
- Close this window and lookfor the Develop menu across your topmenu bar, in the same place you see the File,Edit, View, and other menu options.
- If you don’t see this row ofoptions, you may need to click again on either the Safari menu option or cogicon and click on Show Menu Bar.
- Next, click on the Develop menu option, hover User Agent, and you’ll see a list ofuser agents you can switch to.
- While the preset list isn’t very extensive, clicking on Other… will give you the option to enter your own custom user-agent string .
Ifyou’re not afraid to go under the hood, changing the user-agent string via thepreferences or developer console of your browser is a great way to skip out onone extra browser extension. There are millions of valid user-agent strings outthere, so keep in mind that using a custom string is usually an option in thecase that the presets don’t offer what you’re looking for.
Also,remember to clear or undo all changes made to your user-agent string if youwant to browse the internet as intended. Many websites will alter the waycontent is delivered to you based on your user agent, so forgetting this cancause you to view websites in a suboptimal way.