The Mobile Web should just work for everyone

Update 8/4/2014 – Developers can now preview these updates by joining the Windows Phone Preview for Developers or downloading the Windows Phone 8.1 Update Emulator. Details on platform changes described in this post can be found on MSDN. We have also published updated best practices on updating tailored sites to support standards.

Windows Phone 8.1 Update includes hundreds of Internet Explorer 11 enhancements that greatly increase compatibility with the mobile web.

Based on your feedback, we pursued a web experience for IE users consistent with what is available on iOS and Android devices – even where this meant we would be adding non-standard web platform features. We believe that this is a more pragmatic approach to running today’s less-standardised mobile web.

We tested more than 500 of the top mobile web sites and found that the IE11 update improves the experience on more than 40% of them.

For example, if you visit with IE11, you used to see:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

Here is what you see in IE11 with the update, on Firefox OS and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with Firefox OS

Firefox OS
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

Similarly, if you visit with IE11 and Firefox OS, you see:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1
Screenshot of with Firefox OS

Firefox OS

Here is what you see in IE11 with the update and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

Analysing the most popular web sites

Unlike the mostly standards-based ‘desktop’ web, many modern mobile web pages were designed and built for iOS and the iPhone. This results in users of other devices often receiving a degraded experience.

A few weeks ago we talked about our vision and priorities for the web. We believe that “The Web should just work for everyone – users, developers and businesses.” We started researching what it would take to make the mobile web “just work” for our customers.

As we investigated the most popular mobile web sites from around the world we started to see common patterns causing problems. Often sites would use poorly written browser detection code that would result in the desktop site experience for Windows Phone users. Desktop web sites tend to be larger and slower to load costing more of a user’s data plan. These sites end up with tiny text and you have to spend a lot of time zooming and panning around to read the content. They also expect you to be using a mouse and so menus and forms are hard to work with.

When Windows Phone 8.1 reached RTM, it included the same fast, standards-based, IE11 browser engine that powers the PC version of IE on the desktop. For the last several years we’ve talked about providing the same mark-up to all browsers using feature detection and graceful degradation. Although we still see broken desktop sites not following this guidance from time to time, the situation has improved on the desktop. We found a much different situation on the mobile web. Many sites use features via a legacy vendor specific prefix without supporting the un-prefixed standard version or only support vendor prefixes for certain devices. Other sites use non-standard proprietary APIs that only work with Safari or Chrome. Of course there were also bugs or missing features in IE that became particularly apparent on mobile sites designed specifically for our competitors’ browsers.

Updating Internet Explorer in Windows Phone 8.1 Update

We gathered all of this compatibility data and then we began to plan what changes we should make to IE. The remainder of this blog post discusses some of the most important changes and the rationale for why we made them. The issues affecting mobile web sites fall primarily into five main categories:

  • Faulty browser detection not recognising IE as a mobile browser and giving the desktop experience
  • Using only old webkit-prefixed features that have been replaced by standards
  • Using proprietary webkit-prefixed features for which there is no standard
  • Using features that IE does not support with no graceful fall-back
  • Running into interoperability bugs and implementation differences in IE

Changing the User Agent string

One of the most significant issues we saw was related to sites not detecting that IE on Windows Phone is a mobile browser and therefore providing desktop content. This often results in sites displayed with tiny text that you need to zoom in to read and then pan around. It also often means more data is transmitted over the phone’s data connection because the content isn’t mobile optimised. Images are large and many more ads are downloaded and shown.

There are many different ways that sites try to detect whether to deliver the mobile experience. Here is one such check we found on a real site:

window.mobileCheck = function() {

var check = false;

(function(a){if(/(android|bb\d+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada\/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)\/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up\.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows (ce|phone)|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s\-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|\-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw\-(n|u)|c55\/|capi|ccwa|cdm\-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd\-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc\-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|\-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(\-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf\-5|g\-mo|go(\.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd\-(m|p|t)|hei\-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs\-c|ht(c(\-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i\-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |\-|\/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |\/)|klon|kpt |kwc\-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|\/(k|l|u)|50|54|\-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1\-w|m3ga|m50\/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m\-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(\-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)\-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|\-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn\-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt\-g|qa\-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|\-[2-7]|i\-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55\/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h\-|oo|p\-)|sdk\/|se(c(\-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh\-|shar|sie(\-|m)|sk\-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h\-|v\-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl\-|tdg\-|tel(i|m)|tim\-|t\-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m\-|m3|m5)|tx\-9|up(\.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|\-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(\-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas\-|your|zeto|zte\-/i.test(a.substr(0,4)))check = true})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera);

return check;

We updated the User Agent string in IE on Windows Phone to increase the number of sites that would correctly deliver the best mobile content. This continues an unfortunate pattern that all browsers have had to deal with and most web developers have run into. For example, there is an interesting discussion from as early as 2006 in a WebKit bug entitled “Safari lies. Reports itself as Mozilla, Gecko and KHTML too.” When we shipped IE11 on the desktop, we added the token “like Gecko” to the string because it significantly improved compatibility with desktop sites. Chrome and Opera claim to be like Gecko and Safari in order to be compatible with web content.

If you visit with IE11 and Firefox OS, you see the desktop experience:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1
Screenshot of with Firefox OS

Firefox OS

Here is what you see in IE11 with the update and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

If you visit with IE11 and Firefox OS, you also see the desktop experience:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1
Screenshot of with Firefox OS

Firefox OS

Here is what you see in IE11 with the update and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

In general, our advice is to develop a responsive site that can adapt to the capabilities of different devices. If you choose to build a mobile-specific experience then we recommend looking for the sub-string “mobile” in the user agent string to determine when to deliver mobile optimised content:

function isMobile() {
    return navigator.userAgent.toLowerCase().indexOf("mobile")>=0;

Mapping legacy webkit-prefixed features to IE implementation

After changing the user agent string so that IE receives the same content as other phone browsers we could begin to analyse issues that were breaking mobile experiences. The first important problem we identified was that many mobile sites only send webkit-prefixed content for CSS gradients, flexbox, transitions, and animations. These are features that IE11’s web standards-based engine already supports for sites with cross-browser mark-up. As Mozilla found, WebKitCSSMatrix is commonly used on mobile devices. IE supports MSCSSMatrix. Many sites also use window.orientation instead of the emerging standard screen.orientation. The second problem we found here is that sites also often use old syntax in their code. For example, using the old gradient syntax instead of the updated standards based approach.

In Windows Phone 8.1 Update, we added a mapping of popular webkit-prefixed APIs to the standards based support already part of IE11. This means that sites that only send WebKit code are translated into standards based code as the page loads. We are not planning to support all webkit-prefixed APIs. We have added mappings for the ones that are so prevalent in mobile sites that the web won’t work without them.

If you visit with IE11, you see:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

Here you can see the gradients drawn correctly in IE11 with the update and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

If you visit with IE11, you see:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1

Windows Phone 8.1

Here you can see the site drawn correctly in IE11 with the update and on an iPhone:

Screenshot of with Windows Phone 8.1 Update

Windows Phone 8.1 Update
Screenshot of with iPhone

iPhone with iOS7

Adding support for non-standard proprietary features

We found a small number of non-standard features popularised by Apple on the iPhone in widespread use. These features are not currently on a standards track but browsers that don’t support them can’t provide a good experience for top sites on the mobile web. One example is -webkit-appearance, which allows a page to modify the styling of an element to match native applications. As Mozilla points out, “not only is it non-standard, but its behavior changes from one browser to another.” Unfortunately, without some level of support for these non-standard proprietary features, web sites are more difficult to use.

New features supported in IE

There are several standards-based features that IE11 didn’t support that are used infrequently on desktop sites, but are in common use in the mobile web. Once we made IE11 receive more mobile content we determined that we would need to add these features. For example, window.locationbar is defined in HTML5 but rarely used on desktop sites. We prioritised implementing several new features based on the mobile sites they enabled.

One of the larger API-related issues affecting compatibility with mobile sites is support for touch. In IE10, we shipped support for Pointer Events, which is now a Candidate Recommendation at W3C, and we updated the implementation in IE11 to incorporate changes in the spec. Using Pointer Events provides many performance and functional advantages to sites that wish to use either mouse, touch, pen or other pointer inputs and we continue to recommend this as the best API for sites that work for users across all of their devices.

On the mobile web, most sites have been coded to use the older Touch Events model and users expect those sites to just work. In the IE11 update, we added support for touch events so that these sites would work correctly. Our research has shown that on the desktop web, enabling touch events on a device that also supports a mouse (like Windows tablets and 2 in 1 devices) causes more problems—for example, we found that mouse and trackpad support is broken on about 10% of top sites when Touch Events are enabled. Many sites don’t expect to be able to receive touch events and mouse events and only support one or the other. We have joined other browser vendors in the W3C Touch Events Community Group to work through these issues for the web at large. We have published further details about pointer and touch events in this post.

Fixing the most impactful interop issues

As we continued to investigate the mark-up in sites that were not working correctly in Internet Explorer, we found some peculiar interoperability issues. For example, <button> and <label> elements inside <a> links are independently clickable in other browsers although this behaviour isn’t clearly documented anywhere. Another example is <meta> refresh support. The HTML5 spec expects the string “URL=” to be part of the element’s content in order to redirect to a different URL. Other browsers don’t require this and, when used incorrectly in this way, pages in IE would appear to refresh constantly.

Finally, we also identified several bugs in the Trident engine that particularly impacted top mobile sites and we included fixes for these issues in this update. For example, we fixed some navigation issues with location.hash and some CSS layout problems that were affecting popular mobile sites.

What can you do?

Many of the changes we’ve made are specifically targeted at consuming legacy or vendor prefixed content published on these sites. It is not our goal to support all the -webkit- vendor prefixed APIs. While we will continue our outreach efforts to encourage these sites to adopt standards-based mark-up, the support we’ve added is necessary today for the mobile web to just work. You can help here too if you see sites using non-standard code: we are collaborating with Mozilla at to record broken sites. These sites often cause issues across multiple browsers including Firefox and IE and it is easy for you to report problematic sites.

If you are a web developer, run your site through the scanner tool on This tool will identify common coding problems including issues with vendor prefixes and help you fix your code.

When taken all together, the changes we have made to IE in Windows Phone 8.1 Update dramatically improve compatibility with the most popular mobile web sites. The update is rolling out to those of you already on the Windows Phone 8.1 Preview for Developers and will roll out to consumers with devices running Windows Phone 8.1 in the coming months. We have also published a comprehensive list of all the changes in the IE Developer Guide on MSDN.

If you have questions, you can connect with us on Twitter @IEDevChat. The next #AskIE tweet chat is today (July 31) from 10AM-Noon PDT. Make sure you include #AskIE in your questions.

Adrian Bateman
Program Manager, Internet Explorer

Frank Olivier
Program Manager, Internet Explorer

Comments (120)

  1. Yannick says:

    Wow, great improvements, looking forward to the update!

  2. CnEY says:

    I really appreciate that MS is going to such lengths to improve compatibility, but it's really kind of sad when it comes down to implementing non-standard features and hacks because tons of mobile website developers are retarded.  :/  You guys deserve several rounds of beers for your efforts.

  3. pmbAustin says:

    This is all awesome news.  Thanks for posting this update!

    The one UI feature I still miss most on all mobile experiences (touch-based IE on WP and Win8 tablets) is a way to instantly jump to the top (or bottom) of long pages.  Safari on iOS has at least the jump to top by just touching the status bar.  IE needs something similar on WP8.x and Modern Windows 8.x (bonus points for being a consistent gesture across the system for going back to top or fast navigation).  I've always thought semantic zoom would serve this purpose well (pinch to zoom out to lowest level, and if you pinch to zoom out again, zoom out to show the entire page as so-far rendered, and allow the user to just touch a point (top, bottom, middle) to instantly zoom back in to that location).  It seems intuitive and powerful, if not quite as fast and efficient as a one-touch zoom to top would be.

  4. Yannick says:

    In addition to my first comment here: it's great that the IE team is making those changes, however, those changes shouldn't have to be here. Let's hope you guys can undo those changes soon.

  5. SpragueD says:


  6. SaschaNaz says:

    It's so sad that those prefixed properties are all around the Web and results in this, but good job, anyway.

  7. Ma says:

    How many years before you dump pointer events?

    Are you guys fresh out of college and with no idea how things work in reality?

  8. Brian LePore says:


    Hopefully never since it's a better spec and is being worked on by other browsers?


    That said, if we already have Windows Phone 8.1 do we already have these changes or what? Is the new User Agent String the one already on 8.1 or has it changed?

  9. GP says:

    @Brian LePore    

    I think these are coming in Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 (or GDR1) which goes out to developers next week, so it's a newer version of 8.1 and IE than stock 8.1.

  10. Jamie says:

    I'm trying to read this blog post on my mobile device (iPhone) and I get the desktop site. So I am familiar with the zooming and panning you mention

  11. Steve says:

    So what is the new Windows Phone 8.1 user agent? I ask because it sadly still is important to us developers to overcome known, published bugs in IE11 (on windows 8/8.1) where the "Metro" browser behaves significantly different than the "Desktop" browser… and again different to the "true" tablet browser vs. legacy kiosk "Tablet 2.0" devices and again from Windows Phone.

    As an Enterprise application developer supporting 100's of 1,000's of users on a wide variety of devices and IE browser versions being able to detect the difference between them is ***CRITICAL*** and sadly at a certain point UA sniffing is required.

    PS Yes I know all about feature detection and its importance – and I'm a huge fan of it… but there are cases where that won't cut it because IE claims it supports something but doesn't, or the implementation is flawed… or it does work.. but only on certain devices.

    e.g. On Windows 8/8.1 Surface devices in the desktop browser the keyboard does ***********NOT************ auto display when an input field is focused.  This is ***BEYOND*** frustrating and is the specific reason I would never recommend such a device to someone looking to buy it (yet. If this gets fixed, or it is at least an option that can be turned on!!!!!!!, my stance will change).  However this bug only occurs in desktop IE… in Metro IE it works every time! as it should! but of course trying to detect Metro vs. Desktop is extremely difficult as MSFT worked very hard to make it not possible to sniff the difference.  Windows Phone had major issues when it started as it used a horrible old version of Trident and again needed hacks to not break code for the end user.

    I would very much love to FULLY support Windows Phone 8.1+ as best as is truly possible but I'm going to need to know what the UA is so that I can "un-block" anything that I previously blocked, test everything that I previously knew was broken and see what stuff I can now re-enable… only blocking any remaining specific bugs as needed.

  12. Brandon says:

    @Steve – Umm, that's not a bug. That's the way desktop apps work (for better or worse). Why would your client be trying to use the desktop browser with touch and no keyboard anyway?

  13. Brandon says:

    @Ma – Way to make a fool of yourself. Pointer events are clearly the future, with great standards progress and actively developed support from Chrome and I think Mozilla as well.

    That said, it is GREAT to see IE finally emulating touch event support. This is long overdue, but at least it's coming. The other thing that should be done is to better integrate touch+pointer support (i.e. Using pointer with legacy touch as a fallback) in popular JS libraries and their plug-ins or popular polyfills. Still shocked MS hasn't spearheaded this effort, especially when so many take public pull requests on GitHub.

  14. Jesse says:

    This is going to improve windows phone reviews

  15. Malcolm Clement says:

    Does this update bring back background streaming? It was present in IE10 but removed in IE11 – I really really liked that feature and don't know why it was removed with this "upgrade" to IE11…

    I want to be able to stream music from a website in IE11 and continue listening to that music stream when I go to a different tab or when I hit the home button to say send an email or reply to a text. Again, I don't know why this feature was removed… 1 step forward, 2 steps back

  16. Shashanka Kotha says:

    I think this is great work…But IMHO the best way to address the situation is make IE available on iOS and Android, Mac, Linux….Make it Cross Platform

  17. Scott says:

    It's unfortunate that the IE team needs to cater to the lowest common denominator to improve the mobile web experience.  Either way, the effort is appreciated.

  18. Ma says:

    @Brian LePore, @Brandon

    Pointer events might have better spec (like OpenID was a cool idea) but nobody will use it because safari on ios doesn't support it (and likely never will). If the new IE11 will support touch events like every other browser, you might as well kill it now.

  19. Techie says:

    I have been getting problems in using IE11 on proxy authenticated wifi networks.

    it was not a problem back in IE10(wp8)

    pls fix it.

    one more request(it may not be related to ie)

    I am not able to connect to enterprise wifi

    which requires username and password for access pls try to see through this issue


    its going to be a great update to IE11  

  20. MgSm88 says:

    One site that constantly has problems on my Windows Phone is Yahoo. It'll load an article and then be unable to scroll down, remaining locked at the top of the page. Yahoo's site in general is garbage, but this issue is probably one that the browser can fix.

  21. ISQ says:

    It would be much better if MS just allowed WebKit or Blink based browsers on Windows Phone.

    This is just an unwinnable cat and mouse game.

  22. Anther Richeen says:

    This is a great post guys. As a Windows Phone user, I really appreciate the effort you are making to make the mobile web a better place. Thanks for a good read!

  23. Steve says:

    @Brandon – you misunderstand.  If I'm on a Surface or other Full-touch enabled mobile device (w/o the physical keyboard connected) then I will NEED a keyboard to type in any field (just like on an iPad, Galaxy Tab, Firefox Phone, *any mobile device without a keyboard*).

    With a surface, if you click in a text field in Desktop IE, it doesn't auto-present the on-screen keyboard. IMHO (and everyone on the Internet that has seen this occur, or anyone that has voted for the bug(s) and/or voiced their opinion in the support forums) we all consider this to be a bug.  An *INPUT* field with no means of *INPUT* is useless!

    If I worked on this part of the OS at Microsoft I would be really, really, really embarrassed about shipping Windows 8 without this behavior solved. It is SEVERELY FRUSTRATING to any user and helps prove that "as a tablet" Surface isn't ready for market yet.

  24. Yulong says:

    ¿Will we also get an Enterprise Mode in Internet Explorer Mobile?

  25. Asbjørn says:

    Really sad that you have to do this, but apparently even web developers for major companies (like Twitter or NYT) are so retarded that they think that detecting specific browsers/devices is even remotely OK. The developers responsible for every website mentioned here should be fired immediately, as they to have failed to grasp even the basics of modern web development.

    For the user, though, this absolutely is the right move.

  26. Vulcan raven says:

    Has this issue fixed in Cyan or 8.1 Update:…/cisco-2500-ipc-streaming-in-windows-phone-8

    In 2012, when I was working on it, I found all browsers in Android and iOS were able to run ASF live video stream from CISCO CCTV camera. IE10, at that time, on WP8 failed to open the live video and so was the SDK failing.

    The most painful thing is, ASF container (for MPEG live stream) is a production of Microsoft and MSFT's WP is the only one failed us! Even Windows 8's modern apps and modern IE was able to run it smoothly.

    Why is that Microsoft don't support ALL video formats (web and otherwise) in this age and era? MKV, WebM OGV etc. are supposed to be available on all platforms — preinstalled.

    On that note, Windows Media Player, Xbox Video apps should learn one other thing from K-lite player (aka Media Player Classic): in-box subtitles download support (Alt+F+B+D).

    Coming Soon ™

    Disclaimer: "Coming Soon" is a registered trademark of Microsoft Corporation. All products and services reflect this* trademark.

    * We MUST always come late to the party.

  27. It's sad it had to come to this. Good work on being the better party and playing nice with the rest of the world, but the developers of those sites need to be ashamed of themselves.

    Work by the standards so you can stand by your work!

  28. Daniel says:

    Great news here, some really good improvements.

    I'd really love to see support for the "web app" mode that we've been seeing in iOS and more recently Android, where if you have a meta tag (apple-web-app-capable or just web-app-capable in chrome) then when you add the site to your homescreen (pin it) then upon opening the site it opens like an application (with no address bar).

  29. NumbStill says:

    @ISQ –

    Can you point me to a page that says Webkit, Gecko or Blink based browsers are not allowed in Windows Phone?

    As far as I know, browser vendors chose not to port their browsers to Windows Phone.

    (At least Google publicly announced, a few years ago, that it will not invest in adapting products for Windows Phone)

    It was basically a business decision – it was not worth the great amount of work needed, because of the low market share Windows Phone was expected to have.

    The situation may have changed since then, I do not know the numbers and I have not heard of a browser vendor that plans on porting its browser to Windows Phone yet.

  30. Andre says:

    Please, add the option translation of websites in IE11

  31. matty says:

    Will this allow flash content to work now?  Instead of getting the install flash player message when trying to play video?

  32. Roland says:

    why can't we just all use the webkit engine. Then all of those vendor issues will be solved. As for your claim om not using prefix-less code for twitter and such, I call bullshit. Show the source code of 10 big sites that don't use the standard code

  33. Brian LePore says:


    Is there a particular reason why you're in desktop mode for this? IE does auto present a keyboard in Metro Mode on my Surface Pro 1.

  34. Des says:

    What about supporting <input type="date" (and datetime, datetime-local, etc) with the native date input, iOS & Android have done this for a long while now.

  35. manicottiK says:

    @matty, no Flash won't work. For better or worse, it's dead since Adobe itself has stopped development of Flash Mobile. Given that, web developers should stop using it if they suspect that I large part of their user base will be on mobile browsers.

  36. anigo says:

    Is this why many websites are prompting me to install app from the google playstore when i visit them?

  37. adrianba [MSFT] says:

    @Steve, on the desktop you can tap the keyboard button in the taskbar to bring up the on-screen keyboard. The modern browser is optimised for touch and has many touch features that make it the best browser for when you don't have a physical keyboard connected.

    @Yulong, can you explain your scenario for Enterprise Mode on the phone?

    @Des, this is obviously under consideration. We're tracking the work to add this to here:…/38

    @amigo, the update hasn't shipped yet. It will be rolling out to developers in the preview program soon.

  38. blastmann says:

    How about the webkit prefix js api? Can it be mapped correctly in this update?

  39. 萌萌哒 says:


  40. Andy says:

    Sincerely hope the more open approach will extend to desktop versions of IE11. Tired of having to use Chrome for some sites that do not work well with IE.

  41. adrianba [MSFT] says:

    @Andy, we're definitely looking at which things we need to support on desktop. We want the platforms as converged as possible. Unfortunately, as I mentioned in the post, this support makes some sites worse in desktop, for example with Touch Events where sites assume that if you support Touch you couldn't have a mouse too.

  42. bitinn says:


    1. Will IE on WP show a "compatibility mode" notification of some sort? Given that this is non-standard way of handling web design mistakes.

    2. Will IE desktop Developer Mode include this feature for ease of testing? When Opera did this (before moving on to Blink), they have document listing out all -webkit- prefix/API they will support.

    3. Will IE on WP allow user to turn off this feature?

  43. Felipe says:

    Microsoft and mozilla should switch to chromium! Every company contribute to same project, then we get more fixes and improvements! IE does not have a decent inspector yet! Dont tell me that sh*t in IE11 is good, chromium ia years ahead.

  44. Felipe says:

    Microsoft and mozilla should switch to chromium! Every company contribute to same project, then we get more fixes and improvements! IE does not have a decent inspector yet! Dont tell me that sh*t in IE11 is good, chromium ia years ahead.

  45. MIKE says:

    Please add function auto hidden address bar. Because some web video player can't to full screen.

  46. _bug_ says:

    But I wonder what its user agent is…

  47. Matti says:


    This is not a bug! As I own a hybrid device, I would be bothered if the on-screen keyboard would come up when I touch an input field on desktop applications / browsers.

    I usually use my touchscreen and my keyboard (probably no mouse) when I'm on desktop. If I only use my comnputer as a tablet I won't be on the desktop browser in the first place but on the metro one.

    Also you can get a button for the on-scrren keyboard on the taskbar. So just tap the input field and then tap that button and everything is fine (focus won't even be lost).

  48. __hAl__ says:

    The popular dutch website (4 million pageviews a day) experienced serieus issues with the new IE11 on Windows Mobile.

    Its responsive site led to 100% CPU usage and extremely low framrates and/or crashes.

    They have had to change the site removing some simple CSS elements (like border-radius on large content elements) which caused the CPU usage tot drop and the site to be uable on Windows phone 8.1

    The thread (in dutch) on this issue (taken from page 8):…/7

  49. Somebody says:

    This is a great job.

    However I find this crazy.  There was a time when everybody complained about Microsoft not following the standards,  probably the guy who wrote the function that you show above was one of them…  Now we discover that others do it systematically and Microsoft has to adapt to this non-standard practices…  Incredible.

    Although  the effort done by Microsoft is great,  I would prefer that the ones that don't follow standards are forced into doing it.

  50. giuseppe says:


    if(window.PointerEvent && window.TouchEvent) ;// Be creative!

  51. Tom G. says:

    What about proper support of WebGL? Will we see progress in this release with…/ie11-fails-more-than-half-tests-in-official-webgl-conformance-test-suite ?

  52. Morrow says:

    "@Andre – Please, add the option translation of websites in IE11"

    This option is definitely helpful and badly needed. I like the translator button of the desktop Bing Bar a lot. I wish this function can be added to the IE for Windows Phone too.

  53. Henry Sharp says:

    Moot discussion. I no longer use IE for years.

  54. Big Jim says:

    @Brandon "Umm, that's not a bug. That's the way desktop apps work (for better or worse). Why would your client be trying to use the desktop browser with touch and no keyboard anyway?"

    Perhaps because he's using a tablet? Or a touch screen PC?

  55. Captain Obvious says:

    If that's the case, @Henry Sharp, why the heck are you on this site, commenting?  What a complete waste of your time and ours.

  56. JD says:

    I LOVE the people that are calling it a crime that Microsoft should have to adopt to a widely adopted proprietary browser. So so rich!.

  57. JD says:

    I LOVE the people that are calling it a crime that Microsoft should have to adopt to a widely adopted proprietary browser. So so rich!.

  58. adrianba [MSFT] says:

    @Tom G., the WebGL renderer in IE11 has been updated several times since that bug was opened. If you run the tests in IE11 now, you will see about 90% passing. If you run the IE Dev Channel you will see about 95% passing. We're continuing to work on improving the renderer.

  59. satya578 says:


  60. satya578 says:

    what about viewing flash player supported videos.

  61. satya578 says:

    i wish to watch live cricket on star sports website but it asks me to install flash player to live stream the videos. my friends iphone and android phones are playing those videos pretty comfortably. when will you add support ,

  62. satya578 says:

    most of the websites still use flash to view videos. you are taking months together to update ie,we need faster updates

    1)support for playing flash player enabled videos

    2)opening new tab in the background

    3)background web pages should be able to load(presently only the current viewing web pages are only loading,the background webpages are not loading,those webpages are loading when they are brought to foreground).

    4)compressing the webpages to save data is not so effective,please make it effective as operamini does in nokia s40 and symbian mobiles.

    5)background downloading option

    6)removing adds

    7)add an option to use only in private tab

    8)when  a tab with a fully loaded webpage is kept in the background and we are viewing some other tab and suddenly i wish to see that tab which i kept in the background . when i open that tab it starts loading the webpage again,i don't understand why it does so. please rectify it.

    if the internet explorer is not updated as par to the other platform web browsers like safari and chrome then windows phones will only see down fall. if you can't satisfy your existing users then how can you attract iphone and android users when they have the best featured web browsers already in the market.

  63. The Deeds says:

    Thanks IE team for updating WP-IE.

    Please also consider adding the sharing feature in desktop IE:…/ootb-sharing-options-in-internet-explorer. This will extremely compatible at par with mobile devices (QR-code, URL shortening, Reading-List, social media integration) and this is where Microsoft roadmaps are going. On that note, if the modern F12 dev team implement this feature, that would be a treat! (-8

  64. Bekgry says:

    Woow , very good news. Need only "tab" key on keyboard, and number keys when need .

  65. Eric says:

    Karma! Non-standard web. That's rich.

  66. David Huang says:

    User agent strings have grown into a mess, perhaps the better approach for mobile web developers is to check the viewport width (or device width), rather than checking for a substring in the UA string.

  67. Mitch 74 says:

    "all browsers should switch to Chromium" – are you MENTAL?! Webkit is curently the WORST "modern" rendering engine available on the Intarwebz! Even IE11's Trident version is more balanced and stable than that Apple-boosted POS – and its forks are not any better.

    Once upon a time (i.e. last year), I had to fight like mad to get this or that feature working on IE7… Then last year we finally dropped support for it. Now, the one odd out is Webkit : it's either some Javascript that is parsed differently, or an event that occurs in a different way, or even some CSS (non-prefixed, I precise) that gets out of hand. Now, more often than not, when we develop something new, it works in Firefox, it works in IE11, it's usually well-behaved or degrades gracefully in IE9/10 and we already know how to work around it or ignore it in IE8… And it will crash/render incrrectly/behaves unpredictably in Chrome and/or Safari, requiring long debugging sessions and very intricate workarounds, that we must be very careful in building because, you know, it might get better in Chrome's next version… It usually doesn't, though. Instead, we get regressions: something that was properly working in Chrome 18 will stop working in Chrome 19. We'd dutifully open a bug, submit a way to reproduce it… And comes Chrome 36, it's still not fixed.

    No, currently the best rendering engine to program for is Gecko : it's not perfect, it doesn't implement all the latest bells and whistles, it doesn't implement 12 rendering engines that are triggered depending on if it's displaying a unicorn farting or a guy sitting in a pork pie, it doesn't win all the latest benchmarks… But at least, when you program a piece of JS for it, it will run it as written in the specification – and run it FAST even if it's not a benchmark – and if it doesn't, then next release (or at worst the release after) will. And if you write your page for the desktop version, it will render the same in Mobile – or not, if by any chance you add some @media in your CSS. Too bad other browsers (well, maybe not IE in Edge mode anymore) don't do the same.

  68. Tore says:

    Good reading. And I take for granted that I can return to the top of screen without getting my thumb numb.

  69. NumbStill says:

    @Matti (regarding @Steve) –

    Steve uses a device without a keyboard. Since you have a keyboard, it makes sense not to show the virtual keyboard in the desktop edition. However, when a device does not have a keyboard connected, it makes sense to always show the virtual keyboard.

    @Matti (regarding @_bug_) –

    The page does not list the new user agent string used by the updated Windows Phone 8.1. It lists the user agent string used by Windows Phone 8.1 (without the update).

  70. Leigh says:

    What we need is a grassroots organization who checks web sites for standards-compliance and sends nasty notes to the owners who don't pass the test.  So many sites have old code that uses the user agent string, when that is NOT the right way to decide the caps of the browser.

    I don't think people are dumb, but there are just too many sites to update, and new features trump legacy code 'that already works' every time.

    I can also see why non standard behavior that 'already works' on other platforms doesn't get fixed correctly, but we need people to take responsibility and GET THINGS FIXED.  

    Site owners, give developers the time and money to get it done RIGHT.  This will result in less complicated and easy to maintain, and cheaper to maintain code every time!



  71. ziontech says:

    I am one for sure that believes that the mobile web should truly work for everyone.  This great website teaches me about that……..

  72. Dale says:

    I can't believe the folks in here that are actually condoning the Desktop IE bug on Surface!

    Your out of your minds if you think this isn't a bug! It is such a pain! The metro browser can do it so why can't the desktop? In fact if the desktop mode doesn't work on a surface what is the point in getting a surface? The #1 selling feature is the ability to run real apps yet you can't unless you plug in a keyboard… at which point you aren't a tablet anymore you're a laptop! and if you're going to force me to be a laptop why-the-fudge wouldn't I spend less money and get WAAAAY more power/options and just get a laptop instead!

    The metro browser has lots of issues and the lack of a working on screen keyboard for the desktop is such a shame.

  73. Yannick says:

    @Dale – People don't recognize it as a bug because it isn't. That's just how the desktop works, it's not optimized for touch and the don't-show-virtual-keyboard issue is just an example why it isn't. Also, why would you use the desktop browser on your tablet in the first place, unless you've attached it to a larger screen. But then again: you probably also attach it to a mouse and keyboard. And there is a keyboard in your cover.

  74. Stephen says:

    Nice! you guys are doing a sterling job with IE, keep it up.

  75. strange_but_true says:

    Is the user agent modified only when the setting for preference is mobile version and not when it is set to desktop version? Somehjow I get always mobile version of the website even when I have changed the preference in settings to desktop (Nokia Lumia 1520 wp8.1 cyan update)

  76. Yannick says:

    @strange_but_true – You won't get the desktop version on every website because this in fact, only changes the User Agent String. When a website is build with only responsive design, and thus doesn't care what the UAS is, you will Always end up with the mobile version.

  77. mocax says:

    kind of sad that google don't give a hoot about standards, and Microsoft has to mimic the non-standard features.

  78. rehardwick says:

    Before ios, MS used WIN-ce. That is the time MS should have started making their phone work on the web. It took them eight years to catch up to web protocols in existence before Apple even started with their phone.

  79. swan says:

    Sad, sad times. It feels like the beginning of another round of browser wars all over again. But instead of standing up and saying no the masses are cheering, hooting and hollering. Sad times indeed. As if the nineties haven't taught us anything… 🙁

  80. DaredDarkurious says:

    For the developer of IE for WP, please consider the browser to have the ability to view Quicktime streaming.

  81. Erik Martino says:

    This is karma. We have had this battle before. Remember…/opera-releases-bork-edition

  82. Rob says:

    This article is cosmically ironic, as this very web page is not responsive and does not look good on a mobile phone, so I have not yet bothered to read it all. Only one person commenting (Jamie) has yet to point this out. Talk about a bunch of bald men fighting over a comb!

  83. Mathias says:

    Please support Tracking Protection Lists

  84. Juan says:

    Congrats on moving the address bar to the bottom and not being so far behind in usability and style sheets!

  85. Xavi Beumala says:

    Hi and congrats for the movement!

    We develop a highly JS and CSS intensive mobile webapp for publishers. I would be really interested in seeing how compatible it is and how it performs (specially hardware acceleration for the swipes). What's the best way to try this new version? Or maybe you can try one of our customers:

    If you want you can contact me on xavi dot  beumala at marfeel dot com

    many thanks!

  86. __hAl__ says:


    IE11 already supports Tracking Protection (and Do not Track) in Windows 8 (IE11)…/browse-web-internet-explorer-tutorial

    (at the bottom of the page)

  87. guido robben says:

    Well please fix the following websites

  88. Ben Edwards says: is completely borked on this new update. is now just a single white webpage. Before it was not functional but at least I could see something… I hoped this update would have fixed it. Maybe the next one will.

  89. Enai says:

    Webkit/Chrome is the most used browser on PC and the standard browser on the most popular mobile OS, so it is the standard and IE is currently not standards compliant (but will do a fairly good job at emulating standards next patch).

    Just like IE6 was the standard back then and telling the customer it's Microsoft's fault your site looks like a garbled mess because you're standards compliant didn't mean the customer wasn't going to a competitor whose site did work on his computer.

    Imo MS should just adopt Webkit. Problem solved and lots of development time freed to work on more valuable projects. And when Webkit inevitably breaks, well, at least it'll break for everyone then.

  90. One Developer says:

    This is wholly Microsoft's fault for giving devs the finger with IE through version 9. Your browser failed to provide sufficient features, so when Apple's iPhone (and Safari 4) came along and put a vast and comprehensive feature set in front of developers, what did you think was going to happen?

    Apple changed the game, and now Microsoft is playing on Apple, Google and Adobe's terms. I can see many people here that are not long time developers quick to blame developers of these sites themselves, the blame should only be laid on Microsoft's IE team. Your browser's feature set is not improving fast enough to keep up with your competitors and as long as that is happening, you will be making a lot more of these articles.

  91. Linus says:

    Oh, the sweet irony. MS complaining standards. As said by sadhu earlier – karma.

  92. Huntie says:

    This just highlights that the number of web developers that don't look beyond their noses when browser testing is too damn high!

    And IE or Firefox shouldn't adopt WebKit, as browser diversity has been a great accelerator for web standards.

  93. Dave Beauvais says:

    For those who have asked, here is the useragent string from the new Windows Phone 8.1 Update from August 4, 2014 on my Nokia Lumia 928:

    Mozilla/5.0 (Mobile; Windows Phone 8.1; Android 4.0; ARM; Trident/7.0; Touch; rv:11.0; IEMobile/11.0; NOKIA; Lumia 928) like iPhone OS 7_0_3 Mac OS X AppleWebKit/537 (KHTML, like Gecko) Mobile Safari/537

  94. Yannick says:

    @Enai/One Developer – You sir, have no idea what your talking about. Webkit isn't the "standard", it should never be. The current situation only damages the web. The standards are the standards, nothing else. Also, Internet Explorer is currenlty the most used browser on the desktop. Microsoft adobting Webkit will only make it worse. It was a sad day when Opera announced to dump Presto in favor of Webkit, and I'm happy Mozilla already announced that they wouldn't replace Gecko with Webkit. The only ones responsible for the current situation, are web developers, Apple and Google. Those are the people that are now ruining the web. It's not because IE was in the same situation back in 2001, that they can simply do the same.

  95. Jayaprakash V says:

    Earlier it was Microsoft with IE5 and IE6 but now it is somebody else. The standardization will not solve anything until the developers follow them and avoid using proprietary tools to solve their web problems.

  96. NumbStill says:

    @Dave Beauvais –

    Wow, this is an absurd user agent string. Including Android and iPhone at the same time? And look at its length. So much for the user agent string shortening initiative…

  97. Justin says:

    So the problem is all the developers that whinge about IE being terrible because of its history of lock-in years ago, have crowded around chromium's nasty black hole and willingly embraced -webkit- lock-in.

    Screw it all, I'm using Netscape!

  98. Jackson says:

    Whilst I get that people are saying this is 'karma' that MS is crying about standards.. But whatever it is, its still standards.

    People should support them.

    Google forked webkit to create blink because they want to stray so badly. How is that a good thing and what IE has done here a bad thing?

  99. NumbStill says:

    @Jackson –

    Google forked WebKit and created Blink due to various reasons, some obviously include business related ones.

    However, two of the great outcomes of the fork are a no vendor prefix policy and a transparent addition of web platform features, including pushes for deprecation of vendor prefixed features.

    So Chrome (and Firefox) is actually trying to remedy the vendor prefix situation, while Safari and Internet Explorer are still adding new vendor prefixed features.

    Remember, the vendor prefix situation itself was not created by Google itself. Google may have encouraged it somewhat, but I think it was mostly because of Apple, that alluded more and more vendor prefixed features just to get them into the web platform quickly (which is good and bad, of course). Firefox also added its share of vendor prefixed features.

    You cannot blame Google for all of this. The domination of Safari on phones, even before Google used WebKit, made the vendor prefix situation pretty bad – they introduced many iPhone only (mobile web, forget the desktop for a second) features and most of them were prefixed. You simply had no other way of using iPhone and they did not create any specification to support those vendor prefixed features, so there were no standard version to use anyway.

    With that said, I think it is very sad that it has come to this. Browsers should not impersonate other browsers in order to make the internet work. Developers should code according to the standards and with standards based fallbacks when they are not coding according to the standards.

    (And browsers should implement features according to the standards, of course. Let us not forget that)

  100. Esben says:

    "touchend" doesn't seems to work when used in jQuery:

    $('#…').on('touchend', function () {

               do something…;


    And I'm using IE11 on Windows Phone 8.1 UPDATE (upgraded yesterday).

    It works in iOS. Do you know why it is not working? Is jQuery doing some wrong "detection"?

  101. Yannick says:

    @NumbStill – "So Chrome (and Firefox) is actually trying to remedy the vendor prefix situation, while Safari and Internet Explorer are still adding new vendor prefixed features."

    What? Of all browsers, Internet Explorer has the least prefixed features, and for good reasons. The only ones to blame here are Safari and Chrome, not IE, not Firefox. Safari and Chrome should have dropped al their unuseful prefixes for years, Touch Events should have been dropped, -webkit-gradiënt, etc. should have been dropped. At least THEN developers will use the standard.

  102. TPL says:

    Please, please add support for tracking protection lists.

    The ever-increasing amount of intrusive third party analytics, beacons, bugs and widgets which are currently unblockable while viewing the web in IE on Windows Phone is concerning. Many of these companies have no privacy policy, and no intention of honoring Do Not Track.

    Even if the user will have to manually add in sites to build a custom list, this feature is a must. Without it, I will regretfully not purchase another WP in the future.

  103. ux guy says:

    Please redesign IE desktop menus and internet options. It's looks soo last century thing!

  104. __hAl__ says:


    IE11 already supports Tracking Protection (and Do not Track) in Windows 8 (IE11)…/browse-web-internet-explorer-tutorial

    (see at the bottom of the page)

  105. TPL says:


    That link provides info regarding desktop/RT. Where is there any information stating IE11 supporting Tracking Protection Lists specifically on Windows Phone?

  106. Umair says:

    Now thats a big update. A different user-agent string does help a lot as well…

  107. Fabio says:

    Images not showing.

  108. Gérard Talbot says:


    You are correct. Images are not displayed.

    Server Error

    404 – File or directory not found.


  109. hAl says:


    Ah, you mean supporting TPL's specifically on Windows Phones.

    If not yet the case I would be in favor of that as well.

  110. adrianba [MSFT] says:

    @Fabio, Gérard, there is a problem with the images on at the moment. The engineering team maintaining the service is investigating and working on a fix. Thanks for the report.

  111. NumbStill says:

    @Yannick –

    While Internet Explorer may have the least amount of vendor prefixed features, they introduced a lot of vendor prefixed features in the last two releases. Particularly CSS properties. Many things regarding touch there. They introduced those long after Firefox (and later Chrome) announced the 'no more vendor prefixed features' policy.

    Regarding Touch Events – it is not so clear that they should be dropped. Apple thinks Pointer Events are not the right way to go (they expressed their reasons publicly). You may prefer Pointer Events, but everyone is entitled to their own opinion. So far, only Internet Explorer has fully implemented and shipped Pointer Events.

    Safari really filled the internet with vendor prefixed features first, with that I agree. Firefox and Chrome also did it, but to a lesser extent.

    Of course, Microsoft did it, too – but simply without a vendor prefix. They simply introduced stuff and never published a specification for them (not everything, of course).

    A lock in is something that each of the companies knows very well (from the standpoint of the locker). Each of them, except Mozilla, I would say. There comes a time where each of them is burned by that, this time Microsoft is burned.

    I wish this would stop.

  112. MVK says:

    For 18 years I've had to customize UI's specifically for IE because MS has never adhered to the standards. It's not us, Microsoft- it's you.

    You can stuff this whole article right alongside Bob and your talking paper clip. We have been encouraging our users to use any browser but IE and will continue to do so forever.

  113. Elecky says:

    Maybe changing the user agent string also caused some problems, I was continually directed to Google Play or ITunes, recommended to install the Apps form those sites, since I updated my phone to 8.1 GDR1. This is frustrating.

    Undoing this change should be considered.

  114. Guramrit Singh says:

    It's good for mobile websites, but please dont modify desktop mode user agent. Some websites such as youtube are not understanding desktop mode properly. But it was working fine in previous version of os.

  115. Roger says:

    IE? Wow! That's a blast from the past!

  116. Rob^_^ says:

    Hi MSFT,

    don't forget to update the Windows Phone userAgent strings in the Developer tools (desktop IE) emulation tab…

    Yes we can use our own custom UAS, but we expect that Windows 8 Phone emulation mode to be a gospel rendition.

    Server side UAS sniffing for the 'mobile' token is important to support…. quite often small screen content needs to be condensed and the call to Action buttons have a different purpose.. eg.. Phone our support desk I/o ask a question on our forum.

  117. Alex says:

    Thank you guys! You're doing an amazing job here!

    It's sad to see the laziness in mobile web developers, but this is a good call

    User agent is very good, so f*ck you google! We can have your services too 😉

    Love WP!