How To View the YouTube Desktop Site from your Phone

The mobile version of YouTube has come a long way in recent years. Most features available in the version on your desktop or laptop computer have made their way to mobile devices. From comments and playlists to dark mode and annotation, YouTube’s mobile site—in addition to their mobile app—has gotten really great.

There are times when you need to use the desktop site to make the most of video streaming. While more than half of all internet traffic now lives on mobile devices, you’ll occasionally need to switch to the desktop version of YouTube to accomplish a task. Here’s how to load the desktop version of YouTube on your phone or tablet.

View the YouTube Desktop Site from your Android Phone

If you’re using an Android device, we’ll review the steps here to open the desktop site.

Using Chrome on Android

If you prefer the Chrome web browser, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome and type ‘YouTube.com’ in the address bar then click enter. If you don’t type in the URL but instead select the first option that appears from the search engine, your phone may open the mobile app rendering these instructions useless.
  2. Tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Tap ‘Desktop Site’ in the menu that appears.

This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube.

Using Firefox on Android

The instructions to visit the YouTube desktop site are very similar to Chrome. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Firefox and type ‘YouTube.com’ into the address bar. Then, click ‘Enter.’

    Note: If you only type ‘YouTube’ and click on the link that appears; the YouTube app on your phone may open and you won’t see the option to open to the desktop site.
  2. Toggle the switch for ‘Desktop Site’ on.
  3. The desktop version of YouTube will automatically open for you.

Just like Chrome, switching to the Desktop version on Firefox is really simple.

Using the Default Internet on Android

Some Android users have a default or native internet browser. If this is your preferred browser, follow these steps:

  1. Open the internet browser and type ‘YouTube.com’ then click enter. As with the other browsers if you choose YouTube from the search engine it may open the YouTube application instead.
  2. Tap on the three horizontal bars in the lower right-hand corner.
  3. Tap on ‘Desktop Site.’
  4. This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube.

Now, you can browse YouTube on your phone using the desktop version.

Using Opera on Android

Another popular browser is Opera. Fortunately, you can view the YouTube desktop version following these steps:

  1. Open Opera and type in ‘YouTube.com.’ Keep in mind if you click on the link from the search engine you may be directed to the mobile app which will not show the option to open the desktop site.
  2. Tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Toggle the switch on for ‘Desktop Site.’
  4. Opera will automatically open the desktop version of YouTube.

That’s all there is to it! Now you can 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 YouTube’s desktop mode.

  1. Tap Library at the bottom right of the screen.
  2. Tap History.
  3. From there 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, access the menu, Settings, and User-Agent and then switch from Mobile to Desktop.

If you use a different browser, chances are it will have the same kind of option. As most of them are based on Chromium, they will likely be similar to Chrome.

View the YouTube Desktop Site from your iPhone

Just like Android phones, iPhones also have a lot of browser options. From Safari to Chrome, you can easily view the desktop version of YouTube on your iPhone.

Let’s review your options.

Using Safari on iPhone

If you prefer Apple’s default browser, you can follow these steps to view YouTube in the desktop version:

  1. Open Safari and type ‘YouTube.com’ into the address bar. Safari may ask you if you want to open this in the app. Ignore that, the application doesn’t give you the desktop option.
  2. Tap on the ‘Aa’ icon in the upper left-hand corner of the address bar.
  3. Tap on ‘Request Desktop website.’
  4. Safari will automatically provide you the desktop view.

It’s a little bit more difficult to find the menu option in Safari, so the instructions above should help you to open the Desktop version quickly.

Using Firefox on iOS

Firefox is a little more simple to navigate. If you need to access the desktop version of YouTube, do this:

  1. Open Firefox and visit YouTube.com.
  2. Tap on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  3. Tap on ‘Request Desktop Site.’

Just like the 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 use Chrome for iOS or another browser instead of Safari, you can also request the desktop website.

  1. Open Chrome on your iPhone.
  2. Select the three-dot menu icon in the top right.
  3. Check the box next to the Desktop site.
  4. Navigate to your website as normal.

The same is true for Opera Mini, Dolphin, Firefox Focus, or any of the alternatives you may have installed. All will have similar options to select the desktop site from the menu.

The theory behind offering a mobile site over a desktop one is sound. They will be streamlined and pared back to burn less data and will load much faster. They should also be optimized for smaller screens.

That’s fine if the site itself doesn’t compromise the browsing experience and gives mobile users as close to the desktop experience as possible. But that isn’t always the case. In YouTube’s case, there isn’t 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 fairly straightforward with a few extra steps.

How do I get back to the mobile site?

If you need to view the mobile version of YouTube you can. Tap on 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 reverts back to the mobile site. What can I do?

One common issue with the desktop version of websites on a mobile device is that they’re designed to run the mobile version. This means that whenever you open a new web page, the mobile version is displayed. Fortunately, all you need to do is click on the desktop option as we’ve done above.

4 thoughts on “How To View the YouTube Desktop Site from your Phone”

Alan says:
Ok, I have Youtube in Desktop mode (chrome, Android). BUT if I select a video and open in new tab, it defaults back to mobile mode!
Steve Larner says:
It autodetects every time you do that.

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