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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites... Web Browsers
Okay, I'm sure everyone knows that they can use the menu 'Debug>User Agent' to change what Safari presents itself as to a webserver. But many people claim this is a bad idea, and I tend to agree, initially.

The reason they say to not do this is because then web developers will think you are using Internet Explorer or Netscape, and not change their webservers to work with Safari (not that it takes much work!) But what to do when the site you want to use doesn't work with Safari?

Instead of having your User Agent set to Internet Explorer or whatever by default, leave Safari to 'Automatically Chosen' and first load the page with Safari's default user agent (which identifiies itself as Safari). Then after the page has loaded, go to 'Debug>User Agent' and change it. It will only change it for that window (or tab), and will automatically reload the page for you.

Why do this, you may ask. Well, it lets the webserver know that you tried to use Safari, therefore, the developer will hopefully see in their logs that people want to use Safari, but can't because of him. Maybe it'll get him to fix his site.

I use this hint with Citibank's online banking, because while Safari works quite well on the site, it only works when it identifies itself as Internet Explorer! Boo.
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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: raider on Mar 25, '04 11:42:14AM
Thanks, this is actually a good idea!

Another one, which I am not sure about really... If Safari allows you to make custom user agent strings, make one that has the same stuff as IE but maybe ads one more thing like:

"Apple Safari posing as IE"

into the string, so that it will show up in logs or analisys - but most browser detection codes will get the pertinant version info out of the beginning of the string... I dunno, but something to think about. When I check my server logs I get all sorts of creative User Agent strings showing up...

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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: kd8cyb on Apr 11, '09 06:41:19AM

Type this in the Terminal to change the default user agent:

defaults write com.apple.Safari CustomUserAgent "\"user agent string\""



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: reh on Mar 25, '04 12:17:13PM

Good point!

Side note: I use Safari to manage my Citibank MasterCard and it works just fine set on the default User Agent.

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12" iBook ~ 800MHz G3 ~ 640MB ~ 30GB ~ Combo drive ~ Panther



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: MattHaffner on Mar 25, '04 01:13:55PM

One final tip to help the cause:

When you find pages/sites like this, remember them and at every unique IP/machine you sit down at, periodically hit them with Safari set as itself. Don't change the user agent and hit it again (only do this when you need to get work done) or you'll just cancel out the statistical blip you just made.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: daybrother on Mar 25, '04 02:12:42PM

I can only access a question bank site I need with IE 5.2.1. Trying Safari 1.2.1 (v125.1) and setting user agent to Mac or Windows IE does not work at all for some reason. I find this very odd. Since the site's tech support refuses to answer my emails I guess I have to hope for yet another version of Safari. In the meantime I hit it once a day with Safari anyway and keep IE in the dock. It is nice to know I'm not alone.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: raider on Mar 25, '04 06:49:34PM
Sometimes their "detection" mechanisms don't use User Agent strings, but instead tries something and watches the behavior of the browser... LIke using Document settings or setting a property that only one browser supports or something like that....

In this case the only hope is to get a web designer at the site to "fix" it... Good luck....

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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: joshuajabbour on Mar 25, '04 10:22:13PM

yeah, but even then it will still show up that you tried to use Safari in their logs I believe.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: kray on Mar 25, '04 02:24:01PM

Citibank's mastercard site and banking sites are two totally different beasts. I've been complaining to Citibank for YEARS about this problem. My statement, sitting on a Mac or Linux ... has been ANYTHING but IE. Heck, as IT ADMIN I've always blocked and disallowed IE usage on ANY corporate systems for (now) obvious security reasons. Of course today no new systems are allowed to be Windows and are either a Mac or Linux. :)

The sad thing about Citibank is -- their site stinks, is laggy, and has a tendency to "hang up" on you. It's not my Internet connection -- which is a 10Mbit wireless uplink at 5Ghz which also now serves my home phone line(s) via VoIP (thanks to number portability ... finally :). The really sad part? Citibank's is one of the best I've seen (yet).

PS: Citibank's web site won't even work with IE made for OS X... Good luck trying to get Netscape 4.79 for OS X. About once a quarter I send off a complaint to them electronically and always have a chat with whatever branch manager is available when I need to see a live person. They do NOT get "it" yet.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: poultryfarm on Mar 25, '04 05:25:43PM

i feel your pain! citibank's site sucks booty
in the meantime, it does seem to work allright in camino.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: DanPritchard on Mar 29, '04 04:20:01AM

Hey! I like citi's (banking) website. I just use Firefox for it. Once I believe I got Safari to work (by spoofing my UA) but Firefox works flawlessly.

It has a lot of useful functionality that mostly make up for having to fire up Firefox. It would have to literally require me to use Mac-IE or Windows before I'd give up Citibank.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: hisbonenus on Mar 25, '04 02:34:10PM

Make sure to email Citibank! I emailed BankNorth and told them that Safari worked when spoofing as IE, and a few weeks later, they added Safari to their list of approved browsers.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: GaryLehman on Mar 25, '04 02:56:11PM

Am I blind? I can't see the "menu 'Debug>User Agent'". Where do you find it in Safara 1.2.1?



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: kray on Mar 25, '04 03:16:03PM

You may want to look on version tracker for Safari Enhancer -- this will allow you to easily turn on the Debug menu (and back in the day tabbed browsing :).



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Safari Debug
Authored by: abriening on Mar 25, '04 03:21:38PM
Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: timcrawf on Mar 25, '04 07:11:53PM

First, change banks ;-) sorta
I suppose I would not change my bank if it didn't work, but I love my small local bank.
Their on-line banking web site is outsourced to cib.ibanking-services.com. It supports Safari, Netscape and IE in 9 or X. When they first sent us flyers in the statements I called to make sure they would support Macs and ws assured they would.
Leave Citibank and find a neighborhood or other local bank.



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Safari User Agent and unsupported websites...
Authored by: joshuajabbour on Mar 25, '04 10:24:42PM

I'm in the process of doing this anyway! The only problem is I move A LOT. So I'm looking at NetBank... I don't know if their site works or not...


But still a good idea for all those sites that don't work...



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Safari User Agent and this thread going totally off topic!
Authored by: ibroughton on Mar 26, '04 02:19:07AM

Sorry, I must have logged into the wrong site, I thought that this site was about MacOS hints, not about which bank you use, or which bank is best. I can understand where this thread initially started, but cmon guys, it'll be about which phone provider works best with MacOS next! Please lets get back to the point of certain sites not working with certain user agents, and how best to get around this whilst promoting Safari!

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The server is up but the site is down and I don't know which direction you are trying to go



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Safari User Agent and this thread going totally off topic!
Authored by: keaka on Mar 26, '04 04:18:01AM

For the original poster, Netbank works fine for me with Safari! Although I think at the moment other sites such as VirtualBank might have better rates. And I'm *always* happy to hear which products in category xyz work best with OS X... sounds like an OS X hint to me!



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Safari User Agent and this thread going totally off topic!
Authored by: joshuajabbour on Mar 28, '04 08:40:35PM
I'll have to agree with keaka.

No one was saying that X bank was good because they offer low rates for refinancing and no ATM charges. Simply that their site worked in Safari. Which IS the point of this hint.

And seriously, these are comments, so get over it. Really. Some people are making comments related to the original post. Sorry if they venture slightly off-topic for you. If you aren't used to this by now, you must not participate in many web forums.

So thanks for the confirmation on NetBank. I would never choose a bank solely on whether their site works in Safari, but it's nice to know!

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Safari User Agent and this thread going totally off topic!
Authored by: rworkman on Jun 13, '04 05:19:31AM

Is there anyway of making ie the default identification for safari., the website I am trying to access uses pop ups that open in the automatically chosen mode thus rendering them useless as this site considers any other browser as invalid?
You mentioned in your original article that it doesn't take much work to open up a site to safari, is it merely a matter of a few tweaks by the site developer, I'm looking for some ammunition so any answers would be greatly received!



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