Librem 5: not working in GNOME Web (Epiphany)

Hi, I want to install WhatsApp as GNOME Web (Epiphany) installable Application. But when I access the browser is detected as unsupported Safari and link to UPDATE SAFARI is displayed (with message WhatsApp works with Safari 11).

I tried to change user-agent in dconf editor to other user-agent strings but no difference.

In desktop version of PureOS the just works.

What is the difference between GNOME Web in desktop PureOS and librem 5 PureOS? What information could be faked in GNOME Web to make WhatsApp web think that another browser is in use?

Thank you

How exactly?

I changed global /org/gnome/epiphany/web/user-agent as well as Application-specific user agent in /org/gnome/epiphany/web-apps/org.gnome.Epiphany....

I checked changed user-agent with but still detects Safari.

Besides the problem with GNOME Web, the Firefox in Librem 5 is not configured for small phone screen:

  • webpage width is wide, ex.
  • strange gui component disappearance when I click on installed Firefox extension
  • I installed Firefox user-agent switcher and set mobile version, this helped but some pages skip user-agent

Then I found out there are similar solutions which use web versions of popular services (WhatsApp, Telegram, Gmail, …):

However they are not open-source. Purism could develop open-source version of GNOME Web App manager / Singlebox / Webcatalog / Shift and deliver popular web services as PureOS apps (with desktop icons). And solve many problems at once. What do you think about this?

Did you try out uninstalling the preinstalled GNOME Web and installing it as Flatpak? Flathub has a much newer version available afaik.

Also as a hint: WhatsApp For Linux is an unofficial WhatsApp Web client for Linux using WebkitGTK (as GNOME Web). They have a hint in the linked wiki page that they were not be able so far to trick the WhatsApp Server to assume another user agent as Safari.

Maybe WhatsApp for Linux could also be an alternative for you? Unfortunately, I was not able to launch it as the application crashes on start on my Librem 5. So I also cannot tell you, wether it is scaling better than the Web Version itself (with help of any CSS hacks or so).

I tried the flatpak for this and while you have to pan around to get between contacts and the chat, its usable.

You will need to register the app/device on an existing phone with WhatsApp though, which is dumb, but that’s Facebook for you.

Nice! Did it run out of the box for you?

Yes. Actually been using it today to talk to my father-in-law, who can’t seem to stop blocking my number via SMS so we have to use WhatsApp :slight_smile: