A user agent spoof changes how different services including Gmail treat Windows Phone

While Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 doesn’t offer too many headline features, it does bring several nifty additions that users will likely appreciate. One such feature is how blatantly it fakes a user agent string to fool Gmail (probably among many other services) to make it believe that it the operating system in use is iOS.

The result, Gmail thinks that the person is actually using an iOS device and instead of returning the WAP version of the email service — which is what Windows Phones are typically catered with — it serves users with a modern HTML5 laced interface boasting gradients, transitions, animations and other features.

Here’s the user agent that Internet Explorer is using post-Windows Phone 8.1 Update.

Mozilla/5.0 (Mobile; Windows Phone 8.1; Android 4.0; ARM; Trident/7.0; Touch; rv:11.0; IEMobile/11.0; NOKIA; Lumia 930) like iPhone OS 7_0_3 Mac OS X AppleWebKit/537 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile Safari/537

If you’re interested in knowing what’s happening behind the scenes, here’s a quick rundown. What you see within the parenthesis is the device/platform information. Everything after “like” is what the website would interpret. So for instance, when the service will read “iPhone OS 7_0_3 “, it will return the iOS version of its Web page (or Web app).

The latest changes made to the user agent make the browser embrace many more HTML5 features. What’s your thought about this? Did you find any other website rendering differently? Share with us in the comments below!

Thanks Gouthaman for helping me decode the user agent :)