A Fast, Accurate Way to Test Internet Explorer on iOS, Mac OS X, and Android
Earlier this year,
the Microsoft team launched a new tool to make it easier to test sites in IE regardless of which
platform you’re on; seriously! It’s part of their work on Microsoft Edge and its new rendering engine and new user-agent string, which is a fork of Trident that’s far more interoperable
with the mobile Web.
In this tutorial, I
want to demonstrate what this looks like in Chrome on my MacBook and how to set
tl;dr? Here are some
Vines to show you it in action:
The tool is called RemoteIE
and is designed to offer a virtualized version of the latest version of IE.
This allows you to test out the latest version of IE without having to have a virtual
machine installed. And if you want to test for past versions of IE, you can
always use the free virtual machines on http://dev.modern.ie by starting here.
Getting It All Set Up
I ran through the
steps to use the tool myself and wanted to document everything in case you run
into any hiccups.
First, head on over
to RemoteIE which will take you to this page:
You’ll need a
Microsoft account to use the service since it needs to associate the service to
If you have a
Live.com or Outlook.com account you can use that, or you can register for a new one. No,
you don’t need to use those services for anything else if you don’t want to, but
they’ve actually gotten way better and might be worth a look.
Next, you’ll want to
select which server is closest to you so you have the best possible
At this point you’ll
be asked to download the Microsoft Remote Desktop app for whichever platform
you want. This could be for
- Mac OS X
- iPhone or iPad
- Windows x86 or x64
- Windows RT
As you can see, I was
serious when I said this would be available cross-platform. On your Mac, download
the app from the Apple App Store. Clicking on the Mac link will direct you to
the online Apple store site.
Click on the View in
Mac App Store button so that you can launch the App Store app on your Mac.
You’ll be presented by a confirmation notice from Chrome (or your favorite OS X
browser) to launch the external app:
And after you confirm
it you’ll be in the App Store entry:
In my case, I already
had the app installed which is why it shows “Open”. If you don’t have it
installed, go ahead and do so. Once you've installed it, look for it in Finder:
Or if you’re like me,
use the awesome Alfred
to find it:
Now, the next step is
why I wanted to create this tutorial, since it isn’t immediately obvious once
you run Remote Desktop what to do. When you launch the app, if you take a look
at the header, you’ll see an entry called Microsoft RemoteApp. That’s
what you’ll want to click:
From there, you’ll
now be asked for your Microsoft account information to determine what app
subscriptions you have available:
Now that it’s figured
out that you’re legit, you’ll see a dialog showing what your app subscriptions
Again, I want to help
you avoid confusion here since the UX at this specific point is a little off.
When you click on the checkbox for “Internet Explorer (email:
email@example.com)”, an entry for “Internet Explorer->IE Technical
Preview” will be added to the main Microsoft Remote Desktop app BUT the
dialog with the checkbox I just mentioned doesn’t disappear. See here:
So heads up. Once you
see the entry in the main app that says IE Technical Preview, you can close
the dialog box with the checkbox. You can see in the previous image how I
highlighted the close dialog icon.
We’re almost done.
Next, go ahead and double-click on IE Technical Preview to launch your
virtualized version of IE. It’ll take just a minute to spin everything up so be
And once it’s up, you
have a full-blown version of IE 11 Technical Preview ready for you. Notice in
the following image how the F12 Developer Tools are there for you:
This is a great new
tool, and it’ll definitely lower the friction to testing on the latest version
of IE, but there are some limitations that should be noted, including the
inability to access the local file system. It would be great if that were possible, but VMs can be tricky to deal with, especially from a security perspective.
Of course, there are
other free tools that can help you test for IE:
- Virtual machines (as I mentioned) for Mac, Linux, and Windows
- Code scanner for detecting common problems in IE
- Browser screenshot service (for those more visually inclined)
If you want more
details, you can check out the Remote.IE announcement on the IE Blog. So now that you’ve got this all set up, let
us know if it’s helping you spend less time testing.
This article is part of the web dev tech
series from Microsoft. We’re excited to share Microsoft
Edge and the new EdgeHTML
rendering engine with you. Get free
virtual machines or test remotely on your Mac, iOS, Android, or Windows device
Source: Tuts Plus