Operating System from User-Agent HTTP Header

Http HeadersUser Agent

Http Headers Problem Overview

Is there a good, up-to-date listing anywhere that maps User-Agent HTTP Header strings --> operating systems?

Http Headers Solutions

Solution 1 - Http Headers

Here's a quick list... let me know if I missed one you are interested in.


> // Match user agent string with operating systems
Windows 3.11 => > Win16,
Windows 95 => (Windows 95)|(Win95)|(Windows_95),
> Windows 98 => (Windows 98)|(Win98),
Windows 2000 => (Windows NT > 5.0)|(Windows 2000),
Windows XP => (Windows NT 5.1)|(Windows > XP),
Windows Server 2003 => (Windows NT 5.2),
Windows Vista => > (Windows NT 6.0),
Windows 7 => (Windows NT 6.1),
Windows 8 => (Windows NT 6.2),
Windows 10 => (Windows NT 10.0),
Windows NT > 4.0 => (Windows NT 4.0)|(WinNT4.0)|(WinNT)|(Windows NT),
Windows > ME => Windows ME,
Open BSD => OpenBSD,
Sun OS => SunOS,
> Linux => (Linux)|(X11),
Mac OS => (Mac_PowerPC)|(Macintosh),
> QNX => QNX,
BeOS => BeOS,
OS/2 => OS/2,
Search > Bot=>(nuhk)|(Googlebot)|(Yammybot)|(Openbot)|(Slurp)|(MSNBot)|(Ask > Jeeves/Teoma)|(ia_archiver)

Solution 2 - Http Headers

What language are you developing in? That makes a huge difference in what is available to you if you want to do data-mining on the user agent string.

Nescio's response provides a good list. The second link under PHP in my list also contains basically the same information which is simple enough that you should be able to translate it to any language.

Keep in mind that using the user agent for anything is rife with problems. Unless you're willing to dedicate a portion of your development time to monitoring user agents visiting your site and performing constant maintenance, you should try to avoid doing it entirely. No matter what your use-case is for needing to detect the OS, every OS in every platform can have dramatic changes in very short time-frames so it is important to be mindful of this and careful about how and why you do OS detection.

To elaborate on the risks: On the desktop, a new OS version can come out every 6 weeks (Chrome OS), 6 months (Ubuntu), 1 year (Mac OS), or 2-3 years (Windows). Then you also need to account for OSes released for phones, tablets, gaming consoles, clocks, etc which can have much more frequent release cycles and unpredictable changes in market share. Just look at how BlackBerry, Palm OS, Web OS, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile, and Windows Phone have changed market share in just the last few years to name a few.

Unless the operating system is a dependency of your site, like if you're creating a targeted "download" page for an app (which in itself can be rife with problems), it is almost always better to use feature detection, which will allow you to future-proof your development without having to constantly maintain browser or OS detection code.

Solution 3 - Http Headers

It's worth keeping in mind that the user agent header can easily be faked. I wouldn't rely on it for anything important.

Solution 4 - Http Headers

It's nearly always a bad idea to do UA sniffing. You can't rely on it at all.

If you want to sent the client a response specific to its environment you should perhaps distinguish differences from content-type or encoding. These are rock-solid specified.

Solution 5 - Http Headers

The User Agent from the browser is not something I would rely on for anything, We all use it for statistics, but we know they're not 100% accurate.

I use firefox and regularly spoof IE for some sites that don't like it, my regular UA is:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: 
Gecko/2008101315 Ubuntu/8.10 (intrepid) Firefox/3.0.3 

I sometimes use a firefox extension to change it to:

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; MS-RTC LM 8; 
.NET CLR 2.0.50727; .NET CLR 1.1.4322)

when you are looking at it, you would need to parse the different parts, the OS is the third part of the semicolon-delimited values between brackets.

Solution 6 - Http Headers

I was searching for the same thing, then found:

Great, but extremely elaborate: you'll probably want to re-think the project you need the list for, since this one puts 'things in perspective'.

Just wanted to share this for future people researching this.

Solution 7 - Http Headers

Nowadays I can recommend the database from http://user-agent-string.info. You can identify the User-Agent as well as the operating system (if available).

I'm developing the Java library UADetector and merging every month a new version of the database (a.k.a. UAS file), available in XML and INI format. Therefore, I can say from my experience that this data is kept up to date. The usual update intervals is between 5 to 10 days.


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Content TypeOriginal AuthorOriginal Content on Stackoverflow
QuestionC. Dragon 76View Question on Stackoverflow
Solution 1 - Http HeadersNescioView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 2 - Http HeadersDan HerbertView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 3 - Http HeadersSherm PendleyView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 4 - Http HeadersmkoellerView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 5 - Http HeadersOsama Al-MaadeedView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 6 - Http HeadersGitaarLABView Answer on Stackoverflow
Solution 7 - Http HeadersbeforeView Answer on Stackoverflow