Avoid­ing grey user agents

Mac Format - - MAC SOS -

Q I have just tried to switch Sa­fari to us­ing HTML5 video play­back as you sug­gested in MF275, and have got to the fi­nal step, se­lect ‘User Agent’, but all the op­tions are greyed out. It’s stuck on De­fault (Au­to­mat­i­cally Cho­sen) and I can’t see where to switch off De­fault. Alan Hunt

A Al­most cer­tainly, this is sim­ply be­cause you don’t have a browser win­dow open. The user agent is set on a win­dow-by-win­dow ba­sis, so that de­vel­op­ers can have the same page open in dif­fer­ent win­dows, each one pre­tend­ing to be a dif­fer­ent browser. So if you have all the win­dows closed, the user agent menu is greyed out, be­cause there’s noth­ing for it to ap­ply to.

An­other, much less likely cause is a browser tool­bar or other ex­ten­sion that was in­stalled by one of those down­loads that is al­most-but-not-quite mal­ware. Go to user-agents.me/whats-my-user-agent and see what it says your user agent is cur­rently set to. If you are run­ning the lat­est ver­sion of OS X and Sa­fari, it should be Mozilla/5.0 (Mac­in­tosh; In­tel Mac OS X 10_9_4) Ap­pleWe­bKit/537.77.4 (KHTML, like Gecko) Ver­sion/7.0.5 Sa­fari/537.77.4

If you don’t see that – and in par­tic­u­lar if you see some­thing like BLNGBAR tacked on the end – a rogue ex­ten­sion is prob­a­bly the cause. Click Sa­fari > Pref­er­ences > Ex­ten­sions and dis­able or unin­stall any­thing you don’t recog­nise and see if you re­gain the abil­ity to change your user agent.

You can’t set the user agent un­less you have an open browser win­dow for it to ap­ply to.

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