Before we begin with the guide of understanding how to change your User Agents and trick the websites for allowing you to access the information, here is a brief understanding of what exactly we mean by “User Agent”.
“User Agent” is basically a bridge between you and the internet. Every browser that you use, helps you connect to the internet via the “User Agent” that is unique to each user. The various websites that you surf over the internet identify you with your “User Agent”. Your User Agent in return reveals the technical information about the device and the software you use to surf the internet. This data can help web-developers in creating a more rich and dynamic user experience and help display about the particular information, the user is most interested in.
However, there are some websites that are incompatible with your browser or inaccessible from the region of your location. Well, you can easily trick these websites by using your browser’s built-in User Agent switchers and pretend to be browsing from other browsers.
Today we will discuss about changing the user agents in some of the most widely used browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox or Safari. The most important thing, you don’t need to install any extensions for the same.
Once you open the Chrome browser, navigate to Menu > More Tools > Developer Tools.
In case you are using Chrome from the Windows OS you can have an direct access to Developer Tools by using the shortcut Ctrl + Shift + I.
From all the available options click on “Network” and the click the Menu button (precisely the three-dotted vertical line at the right). Once you do this go to More tools > Network Conditions.
In the Network conditions tab, uncheck the “Select Automatically” option just next to the User Agent. After this, you can get an access to select the User Agent from the available list. You can even copy and paste a custom user agent in the box.
However, it is to bring to your notice that this setting would be temporary and would apply only to the current tab you have opened.
Once you open the address box, type “about:config” in the address bar and press Enter. You will be directed to a warning page. Just be careful with each step as any further unknown exploration into its this section might lead into major changes in the browser’s Settings.
For now click on “I Accept the risk!” button and proceed further.
Just type the keyword “useragent” in the filter box(search box). We want to see for general.useragent.override.
In case if it does not appear, right click on the about:config page and go to New > String.
A new pop-up box for New String Value will appear. In the box just enter the preference name general.useragent.override and click on OK.
You will have to search for your desired user agent for the value of the preference. Search on web and you will get it exactly. For e.g. Googlebot uses the following user agent
Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html)
You can get an extensive list of user agents here.
This changed settings will persist for all tabs and would even exist when you close and re-open the Firefox browser every time. In case you want to come back to original settings right-click on general.useragent.override and select Reset.
The User Agents settings are available in the Developer Tools section. Once you open Internet Explorer, just click on Menu and F12 Developer Tools. You can navigate by even pressing just F12 key on the key-board.
In the Developer Tools pane, click on the down pointing arrow at the right and select “Emulation”. You can now select the User Agent String from the available options. If your desired User Agent String is not available in the options, select “custom” and type your preferred string in the box. You can get an extensive list of user agents here.
This setting is temporary and will be available only while the F12 Developer Tools is available and applies to the existing tab.
For Mac users using the Apple Safari, open safari and go Safari > Preferences.
Navigate to the “Advanced” tab and select the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option available at the bottom of the Window.
Click on Develop > User Agent and select the user agent that you want to use from the list. In case your preferred user agent is not available, click on Other option and provide the details for your own custom user agent.
Note that this setting will only be applicable for the existing opened tab.