How To Trick Websites By Changing Your User Agent [Chrome]

Justin Pot 05-04-2012

user agent switcherFool websites into thinking you’re using a different web browser or device. Whether you want to trick that ancient IE-only website into letting you in or explore what the web looks like for iPhone users, User Agent Switcher for Chrome is a great way to fool sites you visit by changing your user agent.


The Internet used to be just that – the Internet. There was more or less one version, and everyone saw it. That’s no longer true. The websites you visit today know things about you, and serve content to you differently depending on what they know. Use Google in Germany and it will be in German, for example. It’s also a little different depending on what browser or device you’re using. Mobile versions of sites are very different, for example, and some ancient sites are still blocked for people not using Internet Explorer.

How do websites know what device and browser you’re using? Simple – your user agent. This is basically a single line of information that lets people know what kind of computer and browser you’re using. You can see your user agent right now at this site, if you’re curious.

You can also alter your user agent to trick sites into thinking you’re using a different browser or operating system. We showed you how to change your user agent on Firefox Impersonate Other Browsers With User Agent Switcher [Firefox] The User Agent Switcher extension is a secret agent in disguise for Firefox. You can put on your IE hat and slip past virtual bouncers into Internet Explorer-only websites; blend in as an iPhone and... Read More , but naturally Google Chrome users will want to get in on the action as well. User Agent Switcher for Chrome makes doing so easy.

Secret Agent Style

Let’s go undercover, then. Once you’ve installed the plugin you’ll see a standard issue Chrome extension button. Click it and you’ll get a list of choices:

user agent switcher

Click what you want and that’s it – you’re done. You can now browse the Internet knowing every site you see thinks you’re using a different device or browser.

This can be very handy at times. If a site believes, for some stupid reason, that it isn’t compatible with Chrome, you can easily use this to pretend to use some other browser. In most cases everything will work perfectly, regardless of the restriction.

Browsing the web with a different user agent can also be fascinating, however. For example: pick any “Internet Explorer” for your user agent and visit the Google homepage. You’ll see this message:

switch user agent

That wasn’t there before! It seems that Google puts ads for Chrome on the Google homepage, targeting Internet Explorer users.

Other pages are different for practical reasons. Did you know that Gmail is completely different on the iPad than it is on the desktop? You can check out this alternate interface by setting your user agent to “iPad” and opening Gmail:

user agent switcher

I prefer the standard Gmail, myself, but give this a shot. You might like it.

It’s also fun to browse the mobile version of your favorite news sites and blogs. You just might find them cleaner and easier to explore, particularly if your computer isn’t the most powerful one on the block.

My advice – play around. It’s geeky, sure, but it’s also fascinating.

Install User Agent Switcher

This is a Chrome extension, so it’s extremely simple to install. Just click here to find User Agent Switcher in the Chrome Web Store. You’ll be done in a couple of clicks.


Occasionally this plugin might be useful: for accessing sites that block Chrome, for example. Beyond that, though, it’s simply fun exploring how different the Internet behaves depending on what it thinks you’re using.

Have you guys noticed anything particularly cool or interesting? Please share it in the comments below, because I’d love to hear about it.

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  1. Chris
    June 24, 2018 at 3:21 am

    Yes I'm using and ad blocker and your white opaque clearly visible text underneath actually makes for a better reading experience. Thanks.

  2. Matthew B
    September 26, 2016 at 1:47 am

    Is there any way to do something similar if you're on the mobile version of chrome?

  3. Ramraj
    August 23, 2016 at 5:32 am

    how about changing countries?

  4. Alison
    August 18, 2016 at 12:20 pm

    Sounds good and I'd dearly love to fake google out so that I can still use Google Drive with FF40. I've downloaded & installed U.A. Switcher but HTF do you use it?? It's not in any menu, there's no toolbar and there's nowhere to click so that it opens.

    • matthew
      September 4, 2017 at 7:49 pm

      If you want to use FF40 to access Google Drive you'd need to find an equivalent extension/plugin for FF40 that allows you to trick Google Drive into thinking that you are using Chrome.

      UASwitcher would be used if you are trying to access a website that says FF40 only but you are using Chrome.

  5. Karolina
    June 16, 2016 at 4:26 am

    I was looking for precisely this!! But unfortunately, not for my computer but for my phone...

    You see, facebook no longer allows me to view my messages in my phone browser, only by messenger app. And the app doesn't allow me to search for a message!! So it really sucks. :(

  6. Random Internet User
    December 14, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    I started to read this page thinking that it might help me.

    Understanding what was content versus what was an Ad was distracting. I stopped reading and counted. You've got 20 ads on your page. That is insane dude.

    Next stop - download an ad blocker and manually add your entire site to the block list.

  7. Imoh
    July 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I want to do more things in my phone

  8. Shahzad
    June 22, 2012 at 6:58 am

    Had not ever thought that !!!!!!!!

  9. Fayz
    May 2, 2012 at 1:07 pm

    This is freakingly amazing! A definite like for me!

  10. Vishal Makkar
    April 6, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    The link ( is no more valid. The page says 'Item not found. This item may have been removed by its author'. The extension is now available here -

  11. Vishal Makkar
    April 6, 2012 at 3:30 pm

    Dolphin Browser HD has an option to change the User Agent. I once unknowingly changed the user agent to iPhone on my Android device and was wondering why Facebook mobile is detecting my phone as iPhone.

  12. Bill
    April 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

    I need an add-on that disguises my location more than one than disguises what browser I'm using,as websites occasionally will restrict access for non U.S users.

    • Justin Pot
      April 6, 2012 at 2:09 pm

      That requires more than a plugin, I'm afraid. You're going to need a proxy or a VPN. Try TunnelBear:


      • Bill
        April 6, 2012 at 2:28 pm

        Thanks,I should have said before I have played with various options for disguising my location,such as FoxyProxy Basic.I haven't heard of Tunnelbear,and I will check it out.

        • Krishnapriya
          April 6, 2012 at 2:59 pm

          I use tunnelbear and it is an awesome application but it still does not work some websites.

  13. davisr
    April 6, 2012 at 1:27 am

    You don't need an extension, user agent switching is baked right in WebKit browsers (like Chrome and Safari). Just go into Developer Tools, click the gear in the bottom right-hand corner, and check the "override user agent" box.

    • Justin Pot
      April 6, 2012 at 1:59 pm

      Well that's true, but I think this method is a lot easier for non-techy people.

    • Vishal Makkar
      April 6, 2012 at 3:51 pm

      I changed the User Agent to iPad using this method and opened Gmail to try its iPad interface but no luck. Then I installed the extension and changed the User Agent to iPad. Gmail is now loading in iPad mode.

  14. Tim
    April 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm

    Sometimes I change the user agent setings in my Android's brow. ser in order to force some sites to load the full-sized site because some mobile sites are quite limited.

  15. Meidimi
    April 5, 2012 at 8:58 pm

    pretty geeky, cool

  16. iakshayy
    April 5, 2012 at 8:16 pm

    Amazing! liked it... :)