Once upon a time, the Mac and the Internet did not always get along. Long before Safari came along, Netscape and Internet Explorer were busy waging a war to define the future of browsing — a future that didn't often include the Mac. Most of the time, Mac users were stuck using browsers one or two versions behind their Windows counterparts, with no access to popular plug-ins essential to browsing various parts of the Web.

It was a dark day for the rebellion.

Thankfully, that age is over and gone: The Web is largely bedrocked on HTML and CSS now, with only the occasional need for a plugin — and all the major ones are Mac-compatible. That said, there are still a few websites stuck in the dark ages for one reason or another, requiring Internet Explorer (which has been since discontinued for the Mac) or a Windows PC. While this sounds like a ridiculous case of webmaster insanity, I've seen this happen with quite a few job, healthcare, and government-related websites — built by organizations that don't trust (or have time to learn about) other systems.

But you can get around most of these arbitrary restrictions with my favorite hidden menu in Safari: Develop > User Agent.

How to access websites that require a PC or Internet Explorer

  1. Open Safari and navigate to Safari > Preferences from the menu bar.
  2. Click on the Advanced tab.
  3. Check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" setting. The Develop menu should now show in your menu bar.
  4. Go to Develop > User Agent.
  5. If you need to pretend you're using Internet Explorer, choose one of the Internet Explorer options.
  6. If you need to pretend you're using a PC, choose "Google Chrome — Windows" or "Firefox — Windows".

Doing so should get you through the website's detection-checker. Of course, the page may still be using ancient codecs or plugins not supported by Safari — in which case, you might have to look into one final alternative: installing Windows on your Mac.