Websites have greatly increased their level of sophistication over the last five years or so. With so many people browsing the web from their smartphones and the emerging dominance of mobile web browsing, nearly every website now offers a light-weight version of itself made for smartphone or tablet displays. These light mobile website versions let you browse without zooming in and out on articles, photos, and other page elements. A lot of sites even use responsive or adaptive web design, allowing the web page to change and modify itself to fit screens of any shape or size while still displaying content in a reasonable layout.
Mobile sites aren’t always perfect, however. Often, sites will hide certain functionality behind their desktop versions, limiting what mobile users can see or do while browsing the site. Though this is done to retain usability and smoothness for mobile users, it can often leave power users out in the cold when they’re looking for specific abilities or options on their favorite sites. This can be incredibly frustrating when the only reason one is trying to visit a particular site is to use a particular feature, which happens to have been abridged from the mobile site.
Facebook is no different. Though their mobile app on iOS and Android theoretically features most of the same capabilities as the desktop version of Facebook, many prefer to access Facebook through the browser on their smartphone to save room or resources on their phone’s internal storage, or just to avoid the sometimes annoying design of the Facebook mobile app. It’s no secret that the Facebook app takes up a lot of room, battery, and memory on your phone, and the mobile site can be a faster or easier way to access your social feed on the go.
Unfortunately, Facebook’s mobile browser site is a bit more limited than the app in terms of capabilities. Facebook won’t let you use Messenger on the mobile browser, and instead insists on you installing yet another standalone app (although, to their credit, the mobile Messenger app isn’t terrible.) Changing your settings or hiding posts from your news feed can be nothing short of aggravating. If you’re fed up with the restrictions facing you while using the Facebook mobile site, or if you need to change a setting you can’t change from the mobile view inside your browser—you’re in luck. Both Android and iOS allow you to easily change between Facebook’s mobile and desktop versions of the site with a single option. You can even bookmark the desktop version of the site for use whenever you need it.
Let’s break down just what you need to do to access the full desktop version of Facebook right from your iPhone or Android device. There are two methods to loading the desktop site on your phone. The first involves typing in a specific web address to your browser (Chrome, Safari, etc.), and can be done on any device, regardless of your operating system choice.
To begin, open your web browser and tap the URL bar at the top of your screen. Your phone’s software keyboard should extend. At this point, you’ll have to type in the following link into the URL bar:
You don’t need to add either “http://” or “www.” in front of the link; it will load the page regardless. If you’ve previously logged into your Facebook account on your mobile browser, the desktop version of Facebook should load on your display, in its full, zoomed-out glory. If you haven’t logged into your Facebook account on your mobile browser, or you’ve been logged out, you’ll be taken to the mobile login screen, with a display that asks you to first login before accessing the following page. Log into your account, and you’ll still be taken to either the mobile web version, or the Facebook app on your device. Don’t worry, you haven’t done anything wrong. Clear the tab or exit the mobile app and head back to your browser. Retype the above link into your phone’s URL bar, and you should be redirected to the desktop version of the page now that you’ve logged into your account properly.
At this point, we recommend bookmarking the “home.php” link for future use. You have to specifically tell your device to load this homepage; if you simply type “facebook.com” into your mobile browser, you’ll still load the mobile version of Facebook. By including the “home.php” section in your link, you’ll load the desktop version every time, so long as you’re already logged into Facebook on your browser.
Of course, there’s a good chance you don’t want to always view Facebook in this desktop view; instead, you want the option available as a sort of toggle, available when you need it, but hidden away when you don’t. Good news for those users looking for something like this: your browser probably has this exact option available baked right into it. Both Chrome and Safari, on Android and iOS respectively, have the option to view web pages in their full desktop view. Let’s take a look at each platform’s setting.
If you’re using an Android phone, start by opening your web browser. The standard browser for Android is Chrome, which we’ll be using to demo this method in our screenshots below, but if you use a third-party or alternate browser, you’ll likely find a similar option hidden in the settings of that browser.
Start by opening Facebook inside your browser. Don’t use the “home.php” version we wrote about above; instead, load the standard mobile site. If you’re logged out, log into your account. Once again, if your browser redirects you to the mobile application after you’ve logged in, just reload the page inside the browser.
Once the mobile version of your page has loaded, tap the triple-dotted menu button on Chrome’s URL bar. Near the bottom of the menu list, you’ll find an option that reads “Request desktop site,” along with a checkbox. Click this option, and the checkbox will fill itself in. The menu list will automatically close, and your page will reload. Chrome may prompt you to set your location settings; if it does, allow or deny Facebook at your own discretion. Once you’re past this prompt, the desktop version of Facebook will load and display on your web browser. You can then check your messages, change your settings, or do anything else the desktop site requires.
To switch back to the mobile site, tap the triple-dotted menu icon again and uncheck “Request desktop site,” as you did before. The page will reload back to Facebook’s mobile view. You can do this at any time you wish.
The process for switch sites from the mobile to the desktop version on iOS is really similar to Android’s, just with a slightly different button layout. Begin by loading the mobile version of Facebook, just as we mentioned above for the Android method. If you aren’t logged in, enter your info and credentials into the prompt. Once the mobile site has loaded, tap the “Share” icon on the bottom taskbar on Safari.
In addition to the typical sharing options, you’ll receive a few additional menu icons, including Print, Find on Page, and, for our uses, Request Desktop Site.” Just like with Chrome, tap this option. The page should reload, and you’ll have the desktop version of Facebook live for usage on your iOS device.
Once you’ve decided you’ve had enough of the desktop site, use the “Request Mobile Site” option in settings to change back to the traditional mobile Facebook site.
While the above methods are helpful and easy enough to accomplish, it’s important to note that Facebook will occasionally (read: constantly) try to reroute you back to using the mobile version of their site. If you reload the homepage or try to use certain settings, Facebook will push you back to the mobile site. If this happens, you can always use the above methods to reload the desktop version of their site without too much of an issue.
Finally, while testing the above methods on Android, we ran into the occasional problem where requesting the desktop site through Chrome would instead return is with a tablet version of the mobile site, with the same functionality as the mobile version but zoomed out. If this happens, it means the page is requesting a desktop version of “m.facebook.com,” which redirects to the mobile version of Facebook no matter the device you’re using to load and access the site. Just reenter “facebook.com” into your browser with the “Request desktop site” box still checked, and you should load the traditional display.