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Enhancing Mobile View with Safari Developer Tools

London, UK - July 31, 2018: The buttons of the Apple internet browser app Safari, surrounded by Firefox, Firefox Focus, News and other apps on the screen of an iPhone.

Greetings, fellow web enthusiasts! Welcome to our comprehensive guide on leveraging Safari’s Developer Tools for mobile view optimization and app testing. With the surge in mobile browsing, it’s imperative for developers to ensure seamless user experiences across various devices.

In this guide, we’ll navigate through Safari’s Developer Tools to empower you with insights for impeccable mobile view and app functionality. Whether it’s your website or mobile application, we’ve got you covered, regardless of your expertise level.

So, grab your preferred beverage, get comfortable, and let’s delve into the realm of Safari Developer Tools!

Table of Contents

  • Preparing Your Safari Browser
  • Accessing Developer Tools in Safari
  • Leveraging Responsive Design Mode
  • Pro Tips for Mobile View Testing
  • Debugging and Element Inspection on Mobile View

Section 1: Preparing Your Safari Browser

Let’s gear up your Safari browser for mobile view wizardry! Before we plunge into Safari’s Developer Tools, let’s address a few prerequisites. Rest assured, we’ll guide you through each step for a seamless experience.

  • For macOS Users:
    • Open Safari and click on “Safari” in the top-left corner.
    • Select ‘Preferences’ from the dropdown menu.
    • In the Preferences window, navigate to the ‘Advanced’ tab.
    • At the bottom, check ‘Show Develop menu in menu bar’.
    • Close Preferences to find the Develop menu in your Safari bar.
  • For Windows Users:
    • Regrettably, Safari for Windows is no longer supported by Apple. Consider using macOS or explore alternative browsers with their developer tools.

With the Develop menu enabled and an updated browser, you’re poised to explore Safari’s Developer Tools and refine your website’s mobile view.

Section 2: Accessing Developer Tools in Safari

You’ve done a fantastic job setting up your Safari browser! Now, let’s delve into accessing and navigating the Developer Tools.

Step 1: Opening Developer Tools in Safari

  • Click on the “Develop” menu in the menu bar.
  • Choose ‘Show Web Inspector’ or use the shortcut – Cmd + Option + I (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + I (Windows).

Voilà! The Developer Tools window is now at your disposal.

Step 2: Introducing Developer Tools Panels

Safari’s Developer Tools offers various panels, each providing unique insights and controls. Here’s a brief overview:

  • Elements: Inspect and modify HTML and CSS in real-time.
  • Network: Monitor network requests and analyze loading performance.
  • Sources: Debug JavaScript code and manage project files.
  • Timelines: Analyze rendering and scripting performance.
  • Storage: Inspect and manage site’s cookies, local storage, IndexedDB, and more.
  • Console: View messages, errors, logs, and execute JavaScript code.

Section 3: Leveraging Responsive Design Mode

With familiarity in the Elements panel, let’s make your website shine on mobile devices using Safari’s Responsive Design Mode!

Understanding Responsive Design Mode and Its Importance:

Responsive Design Mode in Safari’s Developer Tools simulates your website on different devices. This aids in identifying layout issues, testing media queries, and ensuring seamless functionality across devices.

Enabling Responsive Design Mode in Safari:

  • Open Safari, visit your webpage.
  • Click on “Develop” in the menu bar.
  • Select “Enter Responsive Design Mode” or use the shortcut – Cmd + Option + R (Mac) or Ctrl + Shift + R (Windows).

Section 4: Pro Tips for Effective Mobile View Testing

You’re on the right track! Now, let’s discuss some essential practices and tips for efficient mobile view testing. By following these guidelines, you’ll be well-equipped to create an exceptional user experience across various devices.

  1. Test Early and Test Often:

Ensure mobile view testing is integrated from the design phase itself. Regular testing helps identify and rectify issues early, saving time and effort in the long run.

  1. Test on Multiple Device Presets:

While testing on every device is impossible, covering a diverse range of device presets is crucial. This includes different screen sizes, resolutions, and aspect ratios for comprehensive compatibility.

  1. Test in Both Orientations:

Accommodate user preferences by ensuring your website looks and functions well in both portrait and landscape modes.

  1. Test with Real Devices:

Simulators are valuable, but real hardware testing can reveal nuances that simulators might miss. Whenever possible, conduct tests on actual devices.

  1. Consider Touch Interactions:

Given the prevalence of touch-based interactions, make sure your site is user-friendly for touch gestures. Buttons and links should be adequately sized for easy tapping, and gestures like swiping and scrolling should work smoothly.

  1. Optimize Performance:

Mobile devices often have limited resources. Optimize your site’s performance by reducing image sizes, minifying JavaScript and CSS files, and leveraging browser caching. This ensures swift loading and smooth performance.

  1. Keep Accessibility in Mind:

Ensure your site is compatible with screen readers, and text is legible without zooming. Pay attention to color contrasts for users with visual impairments.

By adhering to these best practices and tips, you’re well on your way to crafting a website that offers a seamless experience on a wide array of mobile devices. Remember, diligence and attention to detail are key.

Section 5: Debugging and Element Inspection on Mobile View

With a strong foundation in mobile view testing, let’s explore how to debug and inspect elements using Safari’s Developer Tools. We’ll focus on the Elements and Console panels, and also touch upon optimizing performance using the Network panel.

Inspecting and Modifying Elements in Mobile View:

The Elements panel empowers you to inspect and interact with the HTML and CSS of your site in real-time, allowing you to refine your site’s appearance and layout.

Inspecting and Modifying Elements in Mobile View:

The Elements panel empowers you to inspect and interact with the HTML and CSS of your site in real-time, allowing you to refine your site’s appearance and layout.

  • To inspect an element, right-click (or Ctrl-click on Mac) on the element within the Responsive Design Mode window and select ‘Inspect Element.’ Alternatively, you can click the “Inspect” icon (a magnifying glass) in the top-left corner of the Elements panel and then click on the desired element in the window.
  • Once an element is selected, the Elements panel will display its HTML and CSS. You can click on any HTML attribute or CSS property to edit it directly in the panel. Changes will be reflected in real time within the Responsive Design Mode window, allowing you to experiment with different styles and layouts.
  • Use the ‘Styles’ & ‘Computed’ tabs in the right-hand pane of the Elements panel to view and modify an element’s CSS properties, as well as to analyze how the browser is applying them.

Debugging JavaScript Issues with the Console Panel:

The Console panel is your go-to for debugging JavaScript issues on your site. It displays messages, errors, and logs, and allows you to execute JavaScript code directly.

  • Open the Console panel by clicking on the “Console” tab within the Developer Tools window.
  • Keep an eye on any error messages or warnings in the Console panel. These messages can help you identify issues with your JavaScript code, such as syntax errors or references to undefined variables.
  • To execute JavaScript code directly, type your code into the input area at the bottom of the Console panel and press Enter. This is especially useful for testing functions or manipulating your site’s DOM in real time.

Optimizing Website Performance with the Network Panel:

The Network panel is a treasure trove for analyzing your site’s performance on mobile devices. It helps you identify bottlenecks and optimize load times.

  • Open the Network panel by clicking on the ‘Network’ tab within the Developer Tools window.
  • Reload your site within the Responsive Design Mode window. The panel will display a list of network requests made by your site, along with detailed information such as load times, file sizes, and response codes.
  • Sort the network requests by size or load time to identify the largest or slowest-loading resources. This can help you pinpoint areas where optimization is needed, such as compressing images or minifying JavaScript and CSS files.
  • Use the “Waterfall” view to visualize the order and timing of network requests, making it easier to identify potential performance bottlenecks.

By mastering the Elements, Console, and Network panels, you’re well-equipped to debug and optimize your website for mobile devices. Remember, a website that looks great and performs smoothly on mobile devices is crucial for providing an excellent user experience, so don’t hesitate to invest time and effort into perfecting your site’s mobile view.


In this comprehensive guide, we’ve delved into the power of Safari’s Developer Tools, equipping you to create a seamless and captivating mobile experience for your website. With these tools and practices, you’re ready to tackle mobile view optimization confidently. So, dive into Safari’s Developer Tools and make your website shine on all devices. Happy testing and optimizing!

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