How to Set Chrome and Firefox To Always Open Sites in Desktop Mode [Android]

In order to provide users with the best browsing experience, more and more webmasters are adapting mobile versions for their websites. These mobile optimized websites provide users with the best view of the site without much scrolling here and there. While these kind of sites look really great on a mobile device, some of those disable specific features that they don’t think would work great on a mobile. In that case, you can just open the desktop version of a website on your device and enjoy the full version of the site.

What some mobile browsers, including Chrome and Firefox, do is they load up the mobile version of the site and unless you select the “Request desktop site” settings, you won’t be able to reach the desktop version of that particular site. So, how do you go about fixing that and enabling your browsers to always open sites in desktop mode? Well, there’s a way.

Set Chrome to Always Open Sites in Desktop Mode

If you’re using Google Chrome on your Android device, you have a way to permanently enable the desktop mode so that whatever websites you visit, you get the full version instead of the mobile optimized version. Here’s how you can do that:

Your device must be rooted before you can do the following steps.

1. Download Chrome Command Line file and transfer it over to your device storage.

2. Download and install a root file explorer, like ES File Explorer, on your Android device.

3. Launch the ES File Explorer app from the app drawer on your device.

4. Head to the folder where you have copied the command line file, tap and hold on it, and select “Copy”. The file will be copied to your clipboard for you to paste it at its appropriate location later.


5. Head all the way back to the root directory. From here, go to “/data/local/” directory by tapping on the folder icons. Once there, tap the “Paste” button to paste the command line file that you copied earlier.


6. Now, remove the “.txt” portion from the file name. To do that, tap and hold on the file, select “Rename”, and just remove the “.txt” portion from the end of the file name. Then, hit “OK” and it will save the changes for you.


7. You now need to change permissions for the file. Tap and hold on the file, then tap on “More” followed by “Properties”. That is where the permission settings for your file are located.


8. Tap on “Change” given next to “Permissions” and you should be able to modify the permission settings for the selected file.


9. Adjust the settings to the following:

  • Read permission: Owner, Group, Other
  • Write permission: Owner
  • Execute permission: Owner, Group, Other

Once that is done, tap on “OK” to save the changes.


10. Reboot your device for it to recognize the changes that you just made to the system files on your device.

And you are good to go.

From now on, you will always get the desktop version of websites that you visit on your device. Your browser will not load the mobile versions of the websites anymore.

Set Firefox to Always Open Sites in Desktop Mode

If you happen to use Firefox on your Android device, you also have an option to always enable the desktop mode for the websites that you visit on your device. Here’s how you can do that:

1. Launch Firefox from the app drawer on your device.

2. Head to the Phony extension page on your device.

3. Tap on “Add to Firefox” button on the extension’s page. It should add the extension to your browser.


4. A prompt should appear asking if you really wish to add the extension to your browser. Tap on “Allow” and it will do the rest of the job for you.


5. When the extension has been downloaded, you will be prompted to install it. Tap on “Install” and it will be installed on your device.


6. Once it has been installed, press the Menu button and select “Phony” to launch it.


7. You should now see a dropdown menu from where you can change the user agent for your browser. Tap on it and select “Desktop Firefox” as the user agent for your browser.


8. Tap on “OK” on the screen that follows.


And you are done.

Firefox should now always open desktop versions of the websites that you visit on your Android device. It won’t look around for the mobile optimized versions anymore.


If you are not used to browsing mobile versions of various websites or if you just prefer the desktop versions and do not want to request your browser to load the desktop version each time you visit a website, you can use the above methods to permanently enable the desktop mode on your Android device.


Mahesh Makvana Mahesh Makvana

Mahesh Makvana is a freelance tech writer who's written thousands of posts about various tech topics on various sites. He specializes in writing about Windows, Mac, iOS, and Android tech posts. He's been into the field for last eight years and hasn't spent a single day without tinkering around his devices.


  1. I tried this with my Galaxy Tab S 10.5. I rooted it downloaded the file and installed the root browser but when I go to /data it shows as empty and won’t let me copy the file there? Please advise.

    1. Hi Steven,

      The data folder just can’t be empty. Are you sure it’s the data folder located inside the root directory and not any other data folder, like on your SD card?

      Tap the directory icon on the top in the file explorer and you should be able to go to the root directory from where you need to go inside the “data” folder.

      Let us know how it works for you!

      1. I’m using a custom ROM, so not really a good one for comparison, but I get much the same result – in ES File Explorer data is empty, but in Root Explorer I see the contents of the data folder.

        Copying the file over and changing the permissions did not work for me though, still getting the mobile sites from various places.

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