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Can You Get IE for iPhone?

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IE for iPhone
iPhone copyright Apple Inc.; Internet Explorer copyright Microsoft Inc.

Question: Can You Get IE for iPhone?

While it's less common these days than it used to be, it's not unheard of to come across websites that only work with certain web browsers. And when you do find one of those sites, it's Internet Explorer (also known as IE) that they most often require.

That's all well and good on desktop computers where IE is readily available (unless you're a Mac user), but what if you're trying to access those sites on the iOS? Can you get IE for iPhone?

 

Answer:

The shortest answer is no, there's no IE for iPhone. And, sorry to tell you this Internet Explorer lovers or those of you who are required to use it, there probably never will be. Things could change, of course, but it's pretty unlikely.

While there are a lot of alternative browsers available for the iPhone and iPad, notice that none of them, with the exception of Opera, are the major browsers used on desktop computers. You don't find Firefox or Chrome on the iPhone.

When it comes to Internet Explorer, the likelihood is even lower, especially because Microsoft doesn't even make Internet Explorer for the Mac anymore, let alone the iOS. If it doesn't develop IE for the Mac, instead leaving the platform to Apple's Safari and the other browsers, it seems very unlikely that Microsoft would suddenly bring IE to the iPhone.

But does that mean you're totally out of luck? Maybe not.

Change Your User Agent

It's possible that you may be able to fool some websites that require IE into thinking it's running on your iPhone by changing your user agent. The user agent is a bit of code that is how your browser identifies itself to each website you visit. Safari on the iOS tells sites that that's what it is. However, if you've got a jailbroken device, you can change this.

If your iOS device is jailbroken, grab a free app called User Agent Faker from Cydia (though remember that jailbreaking has its downsides). With it, you can make Safari tell websites that it's one of a range of non-Safari browsers, including IE 8. In some cases, this may be enough to get you into the IE-only site you need. If the site you're trying to visit requires IE because it uses technologies that only Internet Explorer supports, this won't be enough. In that case, no matter that Safari calls itself, it won't have the features that the site needs.

Use a Remote Desktop

Even if that's the case, you're not completely out of luck. You can try a remote desktop program.

Remote desktop programs let you log into a computer at your home or office over the Internet on an iPhone or iPad. When you do that, you have access to all the files and programs on that remote computer including, if it's installed there, Internet Explorer.

Using a remote desktop isn't for everyone. For one thing, since you have to stream all data from the computer to your device, it's much slower than using a native app installed on your iPhone. For another, it's not something that the average user will generally be able to take advantage of. It requires some technical skill or a corporate IT department to help you configure.

Still, if you want to give it a shot, search for Citrix or VNC apps at the App Store.

The Bottom Line

So, as you can see, there are some ways to try to get IE for iPhone. None of them are perfect, but they may work in a pinch. If they don't, though, you'll have to hope that the site that requires IE changes its requirements. There are fewer and fewer sites that require a specific browser; hopefully the site you're using will modernize soon.

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