Developing web pages for mobile devices or debugging your hybrid app is often difficult. But luckily for folks designing on iOS, starting way back with iOS 6, Apple offers a remote web inspector feature in iOS.
Web Inspector allows web and mobile app developers to use macOS and OS X Safari Developer Tools to remotely debug web content or hybrid apps in mobile Safari on iPad or iPhone.
It’s an easy and practical way to debug, optimize and modify your web pages or hybrid apps on iOS.
To access these development tools, enable the Develop menu on your Mac’s Safari’s Advanced preferences.
Follow these quick tips to get web inspector working so you can debug your site or app for Safari
- Reset your location and privacy settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch. Go to Settings > General > Reset > Reset Location & Privacy
- Make sure you sign into the same Apple ID on the computer as your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- Turn Safari iCloud syncing on for both the computer and any iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
- On the iPhone or iPad, go to Settings > Safari > Advanced and toggle on Web Inspector
- On the computer, open Safari and go to the Safari menu > Preferences > Advanced and checkmark Show Develop menu in menu bar
- View Webpage HTML Source Code on iPad or iPhone. No App Required!
- How To View HTML Source Code in Safari
- How To See Favicons in Safari for iPhones and Macs
Mac Computer Required
Sorry Windows folks but Safari’s Web Inspector is only compatible with Macs!
Use the Same Apple ID and iCloud Sync!
Make sure both your iDevice and your Mac are signed in with the same Apple ID and that you toggle ON Safari in iCloud.
For your iDevice: Settings > Apple ID Profile > iCloud > Safari > toggled ON
For your Mac: Apple Menu > System Preferences > Apple ID or iCloud > Safari > Checkmarked
And Check that Safari is the Same Version Too
Make sure Safari on your Mac is the same version as Safari on your iDevice. You may need to update your iOS version or your version of Safari running on your Mac.
Reset your location and privacy settings
- Go to Settings > General
- Select Reset
- Choose to Reset Location & Privacy
Pro Keyboard ShortCut Tip on Mac for Web Devs
If you press CTRL+Command+R in Safari, you can see how a website would look on a particular device by selecting the device.
Use Web Inspector to debug mobile Safari
2. On your Mac, launch Safari and go to Safari menu > Preferences > Advanced then check “Show Develop menu in menu bar” if you have not done so already
3. Connect your iOS device to your Mac with the USB cable. This is critical–you must connect the devices manually, using a cable. It does not work via WiFi!
4. Now on your iPad, open the website that you want to debug, then, on your Mac, open Safari and go to the “Develop” menu. You now see your iDevice that you connected with your Mac. If you do not have any page open on your iDevice, you see a message saying “No Inspectable Applications.”
iDevice Not Showing Up in the Develop Menu in Safari?
- Clear your Safari cache and cookies
- Update Safari on your Mac and iDevice if an update is available
- If you run a beta iOS or macOS version, you may need to run the latest beta on all devices
- Try another cable and/or port on your Mac. Make sure that cable is a genuine Apple lightning cable or MFI Certified (Made For iPhone)
- Check that Web Inspector is toggled ON. iOS updates sometimes toggle this back to the default OFF setting. So just make sure to check Settings > Safari > Advanced > Web Inspector
- Try toggling Web Inspector Off, wait 10 seconds, and toggle back on
- Try Safari Technology Preview browser instead
- Quit of Safari on your Mac and restart it. See if your Mac’s Safari then recognizes your device and allows debugging
- Check that you are not using Safari’s Private Browsing mode if your iDevice only briefly shows up in Safari’s Develop menu and then disappears
- Open Activity Monitor and check what’s going on with Safari
- If you’re using an older iDevice with iOS 6 or earlier, your device’s Safari web browser has its own built-in Debug Console! Just access Safari’s Debug Console by going to Settings > Safari > Developer > Debug Console
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the original editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.