Get a browser to work where it's not welcome Q. I thought I'd lost my iPad and tried to use Find My Phone on my Android phone. Apple's site said my browser wasn't supported. What'swrong with it?
A Nothing, really. When Apple's iCloud.com greets Google's Chromebrowser for Android with a page reporting, "Your browser is not currently supported," that doesn't mean you can't use a phone running Google's operating system to locate a tablet running Apple's operating system.
You can work around this block with a few taps of an Android phone's screen.
Touch Chrome's menu button (the three dots in the top-right corner), scroll down that menu and select "Request desktop site." Boom: Apple's iCloud portal presents its usual log-in form, and after you enter your username and password, its "Find My Phone" page should function as if you were on a desktop.
What's going on here is one online untruth being answered with another. First a site sees a mobile browser knock on its door it knows what kind because browsers cough up this "user agent" information automatically and refuses it admission with a misleading message. Then the browser responds by saying, in effect, "Never mind what I said before, I'm actually a desktop browser."
It's an old trick for an old problem although Chrome makes this workaround much easier to discover. On other browsers such as Apple'sSafari for OS X, you may have to adjust a setting to expose a hidden menu before you can have that program impersonate competitors.
I asked Apple PR why a page that seems to work great in a mobile browser would shut out that same browser, but company reps did not return two e-mails. The iCloud home page is persnickety in general about presenting different versions of itself to different browsers; if you visit it on an iPhone, you get a page with a link to install Apple's Find My Phone app.
I think Apple's making a basic mistake in throwing up a stop sign for Android users: As a general principle, sites should block only browsers that are too old or incapable to handle basic functions there, not be
cause they represent the wrong market sector or run on the wrong device.
Apple itself should know the problem of treating the mobile Web and the desktop Web as separate universes. Three years ago, the New York Poststarted blocking Safari for iOS, telling users of that browser to buy the paper's app and sign up for a digital subscription instead.
People were understandably irked to see the Post break the Web and be so stupid about it using an alternate iOS browser let you get around its restriction. As a marketing model, discriminating against some mobile readers didn't work: A year later, the Postquietly abandoned this strategy.
That doesn't mean you won't run into real problems using a desktop site on a phone or a tablet. Two recent changes to Google's search engine aim to give you a heads-up about those issues. Last month, it began advising mobile users if a site would detour them to a phone-only portal instead of taking them to whatever link they'd requested. Last week, it added warnings about sites that present information in mobile-unfriendly formats such as Adobe Flash multimedia.
One of the best features of Google's Chromecast is its ability to putany page in Google's Chrome browser on your TV. This frees you from having to install its app or waiting for that app to add Chromecast support.
Some sites for example, ESPN's WatchESPN.com present the stuff you want to view on the big screen in a smaller browser window without the usual Chromecast button in the top-right corner. To fix that,copy the page's address into a tab or a new, standard-size browser window. If you can't even see an address for that page, select "Email Page Location" from Chrome's File menu, and you'll see its address in a new, blank message
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