A lot of people seem to want to change their mobile browser’s User Agent header. The subject comes up all the time on the Opera Mini MyOpera forum. The complaint is always the same, some web site is redirecting Opera Mini users to a limited mobile version of the site when the user wants the full site. This happens because every browser sends a User Agent header which identifies it. Web developers often use the User Agent to direct browsers to what the developer believes is the most appropriate version of the site’s content. Well designed sites offer a Full Site link on their mobile pages to allow users to override the browser detection if desired but many sites do not.
You can see your browser’s User Agent by visiting ua.yeswap.com. Bolt 2.0’s normal User Agent is:
Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; BOLT/2.001) AppleWebKit/530+ (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Safari/530.17
While their isn’t any way to change Opera Mini’s user agent, it quite easy to change Bolt’s. If you want to impersonate a desktop browser like Firefox, for example, download Bolt to your PC using that browser. To download Bolt with a PC you have to visit boltbrowser.com/betadownload.html and fill out a web form that asks for your name and email address. As soon as you submit the form you should get an email containing download links for all the various signed and unsigned versions of Bolt. Download any version of Bolt and side-load it on your phone using your something like Nokia’s PC Suite or Bluetooth. When you need to have Bolt impersonate Firefox, go into Bolt’s Preference menu and select “Mobile Layout”
This works because when you download Bolt, the User Agent of the browser you use for downloading gets stored in the Bolt jad file. Normally Bolt is downloaded with a phone browser so its user agent is stored in the jad. When you switch to Mobile Layout Bolt uses the User Agent in the jad file instead of its own which makes requests coming from Bolt look like they came from the native phone browser.
If you want to impersonate a different browser, edit the jad file on your PC and change the last line which starts with “BOLT-UA: “. When I downloaded Bolt with Firefox the last line of the jad file was:
BOLT-UA: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv:22.214.171.124) Gecko/20100316 Firefox/3.6.2 GTB6
Changing it to:
BOLT-UA: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_0_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7A400 Safari/528.16
causes Bolt to impersonate an iPhone when Mobile Layout is selected. With the iPhone User Agent sites will give you their iPhone version instead of the desktop or mobile one. This is a fun hack that sounds cooler than it actually is because most iPhone sites don’t look or work all that great with Bolt. The screenshot above shows Bolt reporting the iPhone User Agent at ua.yeswap.com.