51Degrees API Documentation  4.4

Device Detection - Overview


By providing information on the type and capabilities of the device, operating system, and browser being used to access your website, device detection enables you to provide your users with the optimal online experience, whether they're using a smartphone, tablet, TV, feature phone, large screen desktop, or laptop computer.

If you're ready to get going with device detection, follow the quick start guide to get you up and running with just a few clicks. If you'd like to know more about how our solution works and some of its benefits over those of others, then carry on reading below.

See the Specification for more technical details.

How device detection works

Primarily, 51Degrees device detection solutions focus on the User-Agent HTTP header to identify a device. However, over time we have introduced greater complexity which does not rely solely on the User-Agent and enables us to return improved results for the following use cases:

  • Apple purposefully obfuscate the hardware model in the User-Agent. We use various techniques to overcome this.
  • Google has reduced the amount of information available within Chromium-based browser User-Agents. Device information is now available in User-Agent Client Hints.
  • Browsers that perform transcoding will generally replace the content of the User-Agent with something else. The real User-Agent may or may not be sent in a separate header.
  • Although the User-Agent can tell us a lot about the hardware and software being used, further information can often be obtained by scripts running on the client device.

Check the Features page for detail about specific features of 51Degrees Device Detection API.

Migrating from an older version or other providers

If you're already using 51Degrees V3 Device Detection API, or a device detection solution from an alternative provider and are considering switching to 51Degrees, we have a number of Migration Guides showing how our properties and capabilities map to those of others.