How to emulate a mobile device in a desktop browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Internet Explorer, and Opera)

There are websites which offer more options and features only when visited from mobile devices. When that happens and you must use a desktop browser, you get frustrated because of the limited user experience you get. Other times, you want to test and see how a website looks on a particular mobile device like the iPhone, the iPad or a Google Nexus smartphone. No matter why you need to access a website from a desktop computer or simulating a mobile browser, here’s how it is done:

NOTE: This guide covers Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Internet Explorer and Opera on Windows. Go to the section for the browser that interests you, to find the instructions you must follow.

How to emulate mobile devices in Google Chrome

In Google Chrome, first load the website that you want to view as if you were using a mobile device. Then, click or tap the three vertical dots on the top-right corner. They are the button for “Customize and control Google Chrome.” In the menu that opens, choose More tools and then “Developer tools.”

The developer tools now open in Google Chrome. To achieve the same result, you can also press the CTRL+Shift+I keys on your keyboard.

Click or tap the “Toggle device toolbar” button (it is a small button that looks like a smartphone and a tablet near each other) or press CTRL+Shift+M on your keyboard. This activates the device toolbar where your web page is loaded. Click on it and choose the mobile device that you want to emulate: Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad and iPad Pro. The web page is reloaded and it sees that you are using the smartphone or tablet that you have chosen from the list. It does not know that you are using a desktop computer.

How to emulate mobile devices in Firefox

In Mozilla Firefox, open the web page that you want to access as if you were using a mobile device. Then, click or tap the burger button on the top-right corner. It is named “Open menu.”

In the menu that opens, choose Developer.

You now see many options that are useful to developers. The one that interests you is “Responsive Design Mode.” Click or tap on this option.

This particular mode of viewing a web page is now loaded in Firefox. The same result can be achieved by pressing CTRL+Shift+M on your keyboard. The Responsive Design Mode is enabled. In the center of the screen, you see the parameters used by this mode. If no device is selected, click or tap on the drop-down list with devices available for emulation and choose the one that you want to simulate.

Your web page is now reloaded as if it were loaded on the mobile device that you selected for emulation.

How to emulate mobile devices in Microsoft Edge

In Microsoft Edge, first load the website that you want to view as if you were using a mobile device. Then, click or tap the “Settings and more” button that is found on the top-right corner of the browser window. Its icon looks like three dots. Then, choose F12 Developer Tools.

The Developer Tools are opened on the bottom of the browser window. You can achieve the same result by pressing F12 on your keyboard. You see several tabs in the Developer Tools. Go to Emulation and click or tap the Device drop-down list.

You can choose to emulate the following devices: Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, Surface Book, Surface Pro 4, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad Mini, iPad, Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, and Nexus 6P.

How to emulate mobile devices in Internet Explorer

In Internet Explorer, first go to the web page that you want to view as if you were using a mobile device. Click the Tools button in the top-right corner or press ALT+X on your keyboard. Then, choose F12 Developer Tools.

The Developer Tools are shown on the bottom of Internet Explorer. The same result can be achieved by pressing F12 on your keyboard. Click or tap the Emulation tab and then the Browser drop-down list. Here you must select Windows Phone as your mobile device and the web page is reloaded, as if you were using a smartphone with Windows Phone.

Unfortunately, Internet Explorer doesn’t offer you the option to emulate Android smartphones or iPhones and iPads.

How to emulate mobile devices in Opera

In Opera, first load the website that you want to view as if you were using a mobile device. Then click the Opera icon on the top-left. It is the “Customize and control Opera” button. In the menu that opens, choose Developer followed by Developer tools.

The Developer tools are displayed on the right side of the browser window. The same result can be achieved by pressing the CTRL+Shift+I keys on your keyboard.

Then, click or tap the “Toggle device toolbar” button (it is a small button that looks like a smartphone and a tablet near each other) or press CTRL+Shift+M on your keyboard. This activates the device toolbar where your web page is loaded. Click on it and choose the mobile device that you want to emulate: Samsung Galaxy S5, Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, iPhone 5, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus, iPad and iPad Pro. The web page is reloaded, and it sees that you are using the smartphone or tablet that you have chosen from the list.

On which websites do you need to emulate a mobile device?

Now you know how to emulate all kinds of smartphones and tablets on your desktop computer, from your favorite web browser. Before you close this tutorial, let us know which websites you need to use this emulation feature. We’re very curious. Is it the (in)famous Instagram or another site?