Safari on iPadOS Optimized to Work With at Least Some Desktop Versions of Websites

Discussion in ' News Discussion' started by MacRumors, Jun 6, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot


    Apr 12, 2001

    Apple's upcoming iPadOS is designed to bring more desktop-class functionality to iPads with bigger screens, and as part of that aim, Safari is receiving a major overhaul that will enable it to display desktop versions of websites.


    In the first instance, Apple is going about this by adapting Safari's mobile "user agent" - that aspect of the software which retrieves and renders interaction with web content - to enable the iOS browser to retrieve the desktop variety of a website by default, rather than its mobile counterpart.

    In addition to that, Apple appears to be custom-optimizing the iPadOS Safari user agent to include touch- and keyboard-based interaction with at least some popular websites. As highlighted by The Verge's Dieter Bohn in his brief testing of Google Docs, Apple has made it possible to use touch to hit the menu buttons.
    For the productivity suite, Safari for iPadOS seems to be re-rendering the web-based interface to align it more with the site's desktop functionality. Granted, we don't know yet how far this optimization extends - is it only available for a handful of commonly used desktop sites, for example, or will Apple's implementation be more extensible? - but it's at least a sign that Apple is doing a lot under the hood to make Safari on iPad more of a desktop-class user experience.

    iPadOS will incorporate several features that recognize the tablet's function as a potential computer replacement, including a new Home screen, an updated Split View to enhance multitasking, improved Apple Pencil support, and additional keyboard shortcuts for use with physical keyboards. iPadOS is due to get its public release in the fall.

    Article Link: Safari on iPadOS Optimized to Work With at Least Some Desktop Versions of Websites
  2. WiseAJ macrumors 6502


    Sep 8, 2009
    Trying to use the G-sheets app on iOS is garbage unless you need only very very very basic things. Will be glad to get my hands on this.
  3. newyorksole macrumors 68040

    Apr 2, 2008
    New York.
    Apple really made major leaps and bounds this year so far.
  4. oneMadRssn macrumors 601


    Sep 8, 2011
    New England
    This whole narrative is a bit frustrating. iPhoneOS 1.0 promised a "desktop class browser" back in 2007. Look at this press release for example:


    The whole point from the very beginning of iPhone was that the browser was a proper real browser and better than that WAP crud we had before. Then mobile optimization happened and we seemed to have ended up with something better than WAP but still not the promised desktop-class browser.

    We keep being promised desktop-class browsing, but that seems to be elusive. What gives?
  5. Pbrutto macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2015
    Eastern PA
    I just wanna be able to log into my damn Synology router on my iPad instead of having to be at my Mac or remoted into my pc on my iPad
  6. MikhailT macrumors 601

    Nov 12, 2007
    I just did that yesterday to whitelist some site in Safe Access, it works the same way as it does on the desktop.
  7. Pbrutto macrumors 6502a


    Apr 21, 2015
    Eastern PA
    That’s the problem, I’m running threat detection and that isn’t a tab (at least not yet) in the app so I have to use the desktop. I haven’t been running it that long and I am still monitoring the load on the router to make sure I don’t max far so good.
  8. cflem macrumors regular


    Mar 11, 2011
    And YES! Wix website editing works!

  9. Donovan Dillon macrumors regular

    Jan 31, 2014
    Denver, CO
    I’m loving the improvements — however is still rendering the mobile site which launches the discrete apps. I can’t wait for this to be corrected.
  10. Pakaku macrumors 68020


    Aug 29, 2009
    Like what, requesting a desktop version of a website? Because IMO it is painful to use full-sized websites on a phone-sized screen, especially when you consider the fact that they were only 3.5" back then.

    Mobile-optimized websites do work fine in theory, it's just a matter of when they actually work, and Google clearly is the one at fault for not making their own websites properly support phones.
  11. petvas macrumors 601


    Jul 20, 2006
    Mannheim, Germany
    Well, I understand how this could be confusing, but the iPhone did change mobile Internet. DO you remember how things were before the iPhone? The iPhone did improve things a lot and of course content was made especially for the iPhone. Websites are optimised for the iPhone and work really nice on the iPhone. On the iPad though, all we got was the same browser, with the same restrictions, with no way to distinguish between Safari on the iPhone and on the iPad. This is apparently changing now, so let's hope that we will get a better experience in Safari on the iPad.
  12. LawJolla macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2013
    The demo they showed at the keynote was misleading. Most responsive web design is done with CSS media queries that adjust element sizes and layouts based on the browser's viewport size. There is no way for Apple to change those (nor would they want to)
  13. Shawn Parr macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2008
    I don't think I have ever seen a more inaccurate summary in my life. Holy cow this is off the rails:

    No, a user agent doesn't retrieve or render anything. It is a string, just some text, that say what browser it is and what version, and often lists similar browser rendering engines that it should be compatible with. It is literally just a description of the browser. The server then determines what to send back based on that.

    Not even close. Safari on iPad changes how it responds to certain events in on the page. There is no re-rendering. The big obvious one is that if an element has both a hover and a click event, iPad Safari sends the hover first, then waits to see if the page changes at all (as it would on any desktop browser when hovered over, i.e. not re-rendered), and if it does change then it doesn't send the click, so that the user can see the new content and decide to tap on a new option. If the page doesn't change it sends the click after a short delay (a couple hundred milliseconds is what they said in the session on Desktop class browsing at WWDC).

    The big change is that Safari on iPad now reports, via the user agent, that it is MacOS, not iOS, and they've updated how it handles events that can have conflicts on a touch based device.
  14. mi7chy macrumors 603


    Oct 24, 2014
    Needs comparison with Chrome on ChromeOS which is the gold standard for desktop class browser on mobile devices.
  15. Shawn Parr macrumors regular

    Oct 31, 2008
    If the site is responsive they just go with it, with one caveat. If they determine that the metadata to say be responsive is there, but the CSS causes the page to break out of the viewport they might shrink the page to fit.
  16. macduke macrumors G4


    Jun 27, 2007
    Central U.S.
    Stupid developers doing stupid things with user agent strings and crap they shouldn't be messing with.

    Mobile first with progressive enhancement. Boom, done. Don't get why so many companies and developers don't do this. If anything it's easier than making a bunch of custom versions for different user agent strings. You only maintain a single codebase for your site, and everything is neatly packaged into breakpoints with fewer and fewer modifications as you scale up. Build your site to be lean and functional on mobile and you have a great foundation for a desktop class site from the start. Instead, a lot of companies keep their existing desktop site and do stupid device tests that load completely separate bits of code. Sometimes the iPad version is so stripped down that it's practically unusable. Drives me crazy because it doesn't have to be that way.
  17. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    12 years
    12 years!

    Since iPhone was first revealed and many websites are completely unusable on iOS. The web experience on iPhone is so hit or miss due to VERY lazy webmasters. It's often like 1995 (or a lot worse) browsing the web on iPhone.

    Wake up lazy webmasters! There's a billion of us iPhone users
  18. BootsWalking macrumors 65816

    Feb 1, 2014
    Sounds promising. Besides the user-agent customization Apple is doing, Web designers will also need to adjust to this hybrid mobile-and-desktop version of the Safari agent to tweak the layout for best rendering.
  19. kirky29 macrumors 65816


    Jun 17, 2009
    Lincolnshire, England
    Looking forward to using Squarespace as mentioned in the Keynote! Funny though, Squarespace have just released an iOS app but didn't originally release one for iPad, then because of 1000's of bad reviews they released a version a few weeks ago.... now Apple has done this!
  20. haydn! macrumors 6502a

    Nov 10, 2008
    Times have changed ALOT since then. iPhone did offer desktop standard browsing. The full internet (minus flash) was accessible from an iPhone. But in reality, browsing a website on a 3.5inch screen sucked - hence the shift to responsive web design.

    iOS hasn’t back tracked, the internet changed to become more optimised for smaller screens. Largely because it made business sense as it makes content easier to interact with.

    Now, many websites have taken responsiveness to the next level. Not just changing how a site looks based on the screen size, but offering different functionality based on device/screen size too. What this change appears to do, is deliver all websites as if they’re being accessed from non mobile/non-touch focused device.
  21. sfwalter macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Dallas Texas
    Did they make under the hood improvements to Safari for the desktop experience or are they just returning a different browser agent so that websites think its the desktop version of Safari?
  22. rafark, Jun 6, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 6, 2019

    rafark macrumors 6502a


    Sep 1, 2017
    But they were right. Safari for iPhone has been a desktop class browser since version 1. Safari mobile uses the same engine as its desktop counterparts.

    Websites have optimized their sites to be **displayed** in a different way on mobile, but in most cases, the mobile and desktop versions of a modern site are running the same code base.

    The "desktop class" terminology used this past keynote was bs and I do think they bastardized the term first used in 2007.

    Also, the author of this article has little idea what a user agent is (it's just a line of text), and this user agent is set to safari desktop when you request a desktop site, which is in a lot of cases worthless as most websites use the viewport dimensions to adapt its layout to the screen, while others use a combination of ua + viewport dimensions and then a few minority just use the user agent.

    I'm guessing apple is now rendering a 1200px wide safari + setting the user agent as Mac os safari on the iPad pros.
  23. squizzler macrumors regular


    Feb 11, 2019
    You Kay
    Can anyone check if WhatsApp for Desktop works alright? Literally can’t use WhatsApp on my iPad and it drives me.
  24. lunarworks macrumors 68000

    Jun 17, 2003
    Toronto, Canada
    None of this is on Apple. The iPhone did provide a desktop class browser back in 2007. If you compared it to what was available on Symbian, Windows Mobile, and BlackBerry, it was like night and day. It's the web developers that crafted mobile-optimized sites who made phones feel second class again.

    What's going on is that iPad will no longer identify as a mobile device, so webservers will properly serve non-mobile sites to it.
  25. eatrains macrumors 6502

    Mar 11, 2006
    There's no reason Safari couldn't just render a larger viewport. The media queries would be none the wiser.

Share This Page

69 June 6, 2019