The mobile version of YouTube has come a long way in recent years. Most of the features available in the version on your desktop or laptop have made their way to mobile devices. From comments and playlists to dark mode and annotations, YouTube's mobile site, in addition to its mobile app, has gotten really awesome.
There are times when you need to use the desktop site to get the most out of video streaming. With more than half of all internet traffic now residing on mobile devices, sometimes you'll need to switch to the desktop version of YouTube to complete a task. Here's how to sideload the desktop version of YouTube on your phone or tablet.
View YouTube desktop site from your Android phone
If you're using an Android device, we'll go over the steps here to open the desktop site.
Use Chrome on Android
If you prefer the Chrome web browser, follow these steps:
- Open Chrome and type "YouTube.com" in the address bar, then click Enter. If you don't enter the URL but instead select the first option that appears in the search engine, your phone may open the mobile app, rendering these instructions unnecessary.
- Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
- Tap "Desktop Site" in the menu that appears.
This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube.
Use Firefox on Android
The instructions for visiting the YouTube desktop site are very similar to those in Chrome. Just follow these steps:
- Open Firefox and type "YouTube.com" in the address bar. Then click "Enter".
Notes: If you enter only "YouTube" and click on the link that appears; the YouTube app on your phone may open and you won't see the open option on the desktop site.
- Enable the switch for "Desktop site".
- The desktop version of YouTube will automatically open for you.
Just like Chrome, switching to the Desktop version on Firefox is very simple.
Use Default Internet on Android
Some Android users have a default or native internet browser. If this is your preferred browser, follow these steps:
- Open the Internet browser and type "YouTube.com", then click Enter. As with other browsers, if you choose YouTube from the search engine, it may open the YouTube app instead.
- Tap the three horizontal bars in the lower right corner.
- Tap "Desktop site".
- This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube.
Now you can browse YouTube on your phone using the desktop version.
Use Opera on Android
Another popular browser is Opera. Luckily, you can view the desktop version of YouTube by following these steps:
- Open Opera and type in "YouTube.com". Keep in mind that if you click on the search engine link, you may be directed to the mobile app which will not show the option to open the desktop site.
- Tap the three vertical dots in the upper right corner.
- Activate the "Desktop site" option.
- Opera will automatically open the desktop version of YouTube.
That's all we can say about it! You can now browse the desktop version of YouTube on your phone.
View your watch history and search history
You can view all your watched videos and search history in desktop mode of YouTube.
- Tap Library at the bottom right of the screen.
- Tap History.
- From here, you can see your Watch History and Search History.
View any desktop website from your Android phone
The above process will work with any website you choose to visit. You can also make the same selection with other mobile browsers. In Firefox, you select the menu and “Request desktop site”. In Opera, go to the menu, Settings and User-Agent, then switch from Mobile to Desktop.
If you are using another browser, chances are it has the same type of option. Since most of them are based on Chromium, they will probably be similar to Chrome.
View YouTube desktop site from your iPhone
Just like Android phones, iPhones also have plenty of browser options. From Safari to Chrome, you can easily view the desktop version of YouTube on your iPhone.
Let's review your options.
Use Safari on iPhone
If you prefer Apple's default browser, you can follow these steps to view YouTube in the desktop version:
- Open Safari and type "YouTube.com" in the address bar. Safari may ask you if you want to open it in the app. Ignore this, the app does not give you the desktop option.
- Tap the "Aa" icon in the upper left corner of the address bar.
- Tap "Request Office Website".
- Safari will automatically provide you with the desktop view.
It's a little harder to find the menu option in Safari, so the instructions above should help you open the Desktop version quickly.
Use Firefox on iOS
Firefox is a little easier to navigate. If you need to access the desktop version of YouTube, follow these steps:
- Open Firefox and visit YouTube.com.
- Tap the three dots in the upper right corner.
- Tap "Request Desktop Site".
Just like other browsers, the desktop version of YouTube will automatically revert to the desktop site.
View any desktop site from your iPhone
As with Android, you can repeat the above process on almost any website you choose to visit. If you're using Chrome for iOS or another browser instead of Safari, you can also request the desktop website.
- Open Chrome on your iPhone.
- Select the three-dot menu icon in the top right.
- Check the box next to the Desktop site.
- Access your website normally.
The same goes for Opera Mini, Dolphin, Firefox Focus or any other alternative you may have installed. All will have similar options for selecting the desktop site from the menu.
The theory behind offering a mobile site over a desktop site is sound. They will be streamlined and scaled down to burn less data and load much faster. They should also be optimized for small screens.
It's good if the site itself doesn't compromise the browsing experience and gives mobile users an experience that's as close to the desktop experience as possible. But it's not always the case. In YouTube's case, there's not enough screen real estate to emulate the desktop experience in a way that works well enough to satisfy Google. Users, on the other hand, have other ideas.
Frequently Asked Questions
As you can see, using the desktop version of YouTube on a mobile device is quite simple with a few extra steps.
How do I return to the mobile site?
If you need to view the mobile version of YouTube, you can. Tap the menu icon as we did above and uncheck the desktop option. Your page should automatically refresh showing you the mobile version again.
If I play a video in a new window, it jumps back to the mobile site. What can I do?
A common problem with the desktop version of websites on a mobile device is that they are designed to run the mobile version. This means that every time you open a new web page, the mobile version is displayed. Luckily, all you have to do is click on the desktop option like we did above.