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 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 evolved for the better.

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

We’ll review the steps here to open the desktop site if you’re using an Android device.

Using Chrome on Android

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

  1. Open the Chrome browser on your Android device.
  2. 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.
  3. Tap on the three vertical dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  4. Tap Desktop site in the menu that appears.
  5. This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube. YouTube Desktop Site

Using Firefox on Android

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

  1. Open Firefox, type ‘YouTube.com‘ into the address bar and 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. Tap on the three vertical bars in the lower left-hand corner.
  3. Toggle the switch for Desktop site to on.
  4. The desktop version of YouTube will automatically open for you.

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

Using the Default Internet Browser 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, type ‘YouTube.com‘ and 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 Hamburger menu icon in the lower right-hand corner.
  3. Then, tap on Desktop site.
  4. This will automatically redirect you to the desktop version of YouTube.

Note: These instructions may vary depending on the make and model of your phone and the software version you’re running.

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.
    YouTube Options
  2. Then, tap History and you’ll see your Watch History and Search History.
    YouTube 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 then Request desktop site.
  • In Opera, access the menu, Settings, and User-Agent and switch from Mobile to Desktop. YouTube Premium Desktop Site
  • Many browsers offer a similar option and tend to be based on Chromium, so they’ll likely be similar to Chrome. YouTube Desktop Site Android

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. Then, tap on Request Desktop Website.
  4. Safari will automatically provide you the desktop view.

It’s a bit more challenging to find the menu option in Safari, so the instructions above should help you 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, visit YouTube.com and tap on the three dots in the upper right-hand corner.
  2. Now, tap on Request Desktop Site.

Like the other browsers, the desktop version of YouTube will automatically revert to the desktop site.

Using Chrome for iOS

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.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Chrome browser on your iPhone (not the Google app). Then, type youtube.com and tap the return key to visit the webpage.
  2. Tap on the Share icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser.
  3. Scroll down and tap on Request Desktop Site.

If you’re running an older version of Chrome, the following steps may work better for you:

  1. Open up Chrome on your iPhone.
  2. Select the three-dot menu icon in the lower right-hand corner.
  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.

Before requesting the desktop site, be aware of the benefits of the mobile version. For example, mobile sites are streamlined and pared back to burn less data and load much faster. They are also typically 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 relatively 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. Some browsers may have the option to request the mobile site. Either way, your page should automatically refresh, showing you the mobile version again.

If I play a video in a new window, it reverts 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 the mobile version is displayed whenever you open a new web page. Fortunately, all you need to do is click on the desktop option, as we’ve done above.

Phones and Browser Settings

Most phones and browsers can support the desktop version of a site. All you really need is a browser you find reliable and trustworthy; the developers did all the hard work for us.

Share your thoughts and experiences on viewing desktop sites on your phone below.

7 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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