One of the big social media developments of the last ten years is Twitter. Unlike many of the others (Facebook, Instagram, etc) there doesn’t seem to be any Twitter middle ground. Either you don’t use it at all, or you’re on it all the time. And unlike a lot of social media sites, Twitter has a great app presence at every level of use: phones, tablets, smart TVs… there’s even TweetDeck for your home computer.
But for my money, I keep going back to plain vanilla Twitter, which is to say, the desktop website. I like the bells and whistles available through the various apps, but in terms of getting into Twitter up to my elbows and really rooting around in the functions, nothing beats the excellent layout of the original site for me.
Unfortunately, I’m not always in a place where I can use my computer, and when I’m using Twitter from a mobile platform, I start to miss the functionality of the main site. At some point it becomes so much easier to use the Twitter desktop version but it can be difficult to access the full site when you’re on a mobile device.
That’s why I’ve made this tutorial, walking you through the step by step desktop guide. I will also give you tips if you’re on a computer and just want to use Twitter a little easier.
Keep in mind, the tricks below work on pretty much any mobile device, as well as any PC or Mac. Let us know in the comments if you have any other tips or tricks that you found were helpful, or if any of these didn’t work for you. Mobile operating systems change much more frequently than their computer-based big brothers, so it wouldn’t surprised me if some of these workarounds got, erm, worked around. Let me know if anything is different for you, and I’ll be sure to address the change in future versions of this article.
“Every day, I wake up and I say, ‘Why… how… did I end up with 1.7 million Twitter followers?’ It’s freaky to me, every day, but that tells me that there’s an appetite out there that had previously been underserved. There’s an inner geek in us all, an inner bit of curiosity that people are discovering, and they like it.” – Neil deGrasse Tyson
Why Get Twitter Desktop Site?
There are dozens of reasons why you want to get Twitter on your computer or just the desktop version on mobile. Now, I’ve given a lot of people pointers on how to get around the mobile-only set up that most apps force on their users, and it usually comes with third party software and the implied (sometimes expressly stated) warning that you’re social experience might not be quite as efficient or secure as a result. But, to quote Futurama’s Professor Farnsworth, “Good news, everyone”: Thankfully all of the options below are using the Twitter servers and are not violations of the Terms of Service. Now let’s get into some of the reasons why the desktop site is so popular these days.
1. The biggest benefit to using the desktop site is that you can use it anywhere that you’re on a computer. No matter if you’re using a PC or a Mac you can continue to post tweets, read messages, follow new people, and more. The convenience of using the service on any device you’re on is ultimately what we all want. This might not seem very important to you right now, but think about when your battery goes out and there’s something you really need to post. With a lot of other apps, you’re out of luck. But since Twitter is primarily web-based, you can log in wherever you can get online.
2. With the desktop version, you don’t have to worry about pulling out your phone during class or a meeting or any other time when you’re not supposed to be on your phone. This means you won’t get in trouble for being on your phone in class but you can still tweet if you are acting like you’re taking notes. Pretty sneaky right?
3. If you’re at an internet cafe and don’t have internet on your phone, you can use the tricks below to check Twitter right on the computer. This is a good option if you don’t have internet at home and just want to pay hourly to check messages and tweets. Again, this is one of those things that isn’t a concern at all until it’s the most important thing, but if you’re traveling abroad, your phone’s internet connectivity isn’t always going to be assured. And when you’re traveling abroad, there’s always something you want to tweet.
4. There are some limitations or things that aren’t easy to do on the Twitter mobile app and you’d prefer to use the desktop version instead. This includes managing your settings, account information such as your login and password information. These can be easier to manage when you aren’t limited to a small screen and the app. So, yes, with the workaround below, it may still be a little more cumbersome to tweak these settings than with a computer, but if you suddenly need to change your password, you won’t mind the difference in usability so much.
5. Lastly, a big reason why using the desktop is better is because it’s a bigger screen with higher resolution to allow you to see photos bigger, enjoy being able to see more tweets at once, etc. If you’re on a high resolution PC or Mac then you can see the photos in a better resolution than some smartphones.
Get Twitter Desktop On iPhone
There are several solutions that can help you get the desktop site on your mobile device. A lot of it depends on whether you’re on an iPhone, Android, iPad, etc. I’ll walk you through all of these but for now let’s just focus on the iPhone.
With the new iOS 8 you can now request the desktop site of any website with this built in Safari trick. This option will work with both the iPhone as well as the iPad so depending on your device just follow these steps the same.
All you have to do is follow these steps to enable the desktop version of Safari.
- Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad and head over to Twitter.com
- Tap on the address bar so that it comes up with a keyboard and the option to type in the address.
- Now take your finger and slide it down to reveal more options.
- You will see the option to Add to Favorites and the option to Request Desktop Site.
- Tap the request desktop site option and the page will automatically reload with the full desktop version.
You will notice that the desktop site may have small font and be hard to read. You may need to zoom in using your index finger and thumb so that you can read and tap on everything.
Note: This trick works extremely well and on any site you want. However, you will need to redo this every time you want to get to the desktop version. To get around this you can just leave the tab open in your Safari browser so that every time you go to it you won’t have to redo the desktop request.
Twitter Desktop Site on iPad
If you’re just looking to enable this on your iPad then you can follow similar steps as above. If you’re on Safari on your iPad all you have to do is to navigate to Twitter.com and from there tap the address bar and pull down. You will be given the option to request the desktop site same as on the iPhone.
This may be a better device to view the desktop version on since it’s a bit of a larger screen. Especially if you’re on a regular sized iPad, you will be able to see a whole lot more compared to the smaller iPhone screen.
Similar to above, you will have to do this every time if you close out of the tab so try to keep the tab there without closing it so it’ll be quicker next time you want to visit the full site.
Android Twitter Full Site
If you’re on an Android device you may want the same thing but obviously cannot use Safari to get the desktop Twitter site. That’s no problem at all, you can do the same trick with Chrome for Android, which is the built in browser for any Android device.
Follow these steps below and you’ll get the full site in no time. Keep in mind that there are some limitations to this method that I’ll discuss below.
- On your Android smartphone head over to Chrome.
- Type in Twitter.com into the web browser at the top.
- You’ll notice three vertical dots at the top right, tap on the dots.
- This brings up their settings and options table.
- The seventh option down you will notice a button to “request desktop site” which will do the same as what I talked about above on Safari.
- Tap the button and you’ll notice that the page will automatically reload and from there you will see the full site.
Keep in mind this only works for the current tab that you’ve chosen. If you close out of the tab or go to a different tab you will find that you’ll be served the mobile site again and have to go through the steps above.
How Does Request Desktop Site Work?
You may or may not be interested to hear how exactly this works to request the desktop site for Twitter. Here’s a brief outline going through how this works in the background and what requests are different to call the desktop site instead of the normal mobile site.
The basis of why you receive the mobile version is dependent on the User-agent headers that are sent by Chrome or Safari on your Android or iPhone when you access a site. This is something your phone sends to the website host servers denoting what type of device it is, what operating system and what web browser, among other information.
Here is an example of the User-Agent headers sent by an Android device running Chrome from a Stack Overflow page.
Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 4.0.4; Galaxy Nexus Build/IMM76K) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.166 Mobile Safari/535.19
Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64) AppleWebKit/535.19 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/18.0.1025.45 Safari/535.19
If you look at the header you will notice that there is information that this device is Android and that it has “mobile” in the header. These both tip off the server that you’re on a mobile device and that the website served should be mobile. However, when you request the desktop site, the User-Agent headers are manually modified to make the device appear to be a laptop or desktop device.
Twitter Desktop App on PC or Mac
Finally, if you’re already on a PC or a Mac and would rather not use the standard http://twitter.com as your go to platform for Twitter, there are a few different apps you can choose from to make the service more user friendly and convenient.
The best option that I would recommend is using an app to display all of your Twitter information. The best app out there in my opinion is TweetDeck, which is available for Mac or PC.
TweetDeck allows you to view all of your favorite Twitter followers, tweet text and/or pictures, respond to tweets, etc. On top of all of that you can report spam to Twitter, recommend someone to be followed, play back video and change your profile and settings.
There are several other options out there. Let us know if you have any other apps that you find are super helpful or let you do something that TweetDeck doesn’t allow you to do.
That wraps up this guide and hopefully gave you a good sense of how to request the Twitter desktop version and access the full site no matter if you’re on an iPhone, Android, iPad, or even a computer.
Please share this post if you found it helpful and comment below with your very own tips and tricks!