PhpBB3 MOD: Replacement mobile browser detection for mobile themes

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When we setup the phpBB3 mobile site we wanted to exclude iPad because the normal theme looks ok on the big screen. We noticed that the browser detection script is non-commercial licensed junk. They want $50/year for 10 lines of highly resource intensive preg_match statements. Come on! That is totally incomparable with the GPL license in the install.xml file too...

Here's a new public domain replacement that we wrote in 10 minutes, hope it will help any other commercial boards trying to use this MOD. It is much more efficient, and totally free. It is almost a drop-in replacement, but it lacks device reporting (you won't get the 'from my android phone' and image) and isn't 100% for old devices.

We think it is *way* more efficient in two ways: 1. We don't use pregmatch for simple matches ($50/year for this - really man?) 2. We get the common easy mobiles first, THEN we try to kick out any known desktops before doing more intensive mobile searching.

It will probably take some tweaking to get it right. If you test it and it isn't working for your mobile device please let us know.


Upload the replacement mobile_device_detect.php to /includes/mods/


  1. It gives iPad desktop theme. Delete the first check at the top to stop that.
  2. It is the same function name and true/false as the original, it will work as a drop-in replacement.
  3. However, it does not return the phone ID, so the 'posted from my ___ phone' won't show a phone type. I removed this entirely to protect our user's privacy by removing the mod to posting.php (this also reduces load).
  4. It is not nearly as complete as the old detect for old and strange mobile devices. It will hopefully get most new and modern devices though. It would be great to allow the user the option to switch themes easily...
  5. Tested on Firefox Windows, Android (2.3.4/Nexus S), iPad, iPod.

You can check it out in our forum.



//License: Creative Commons 0 (public domain)
//Example code should be free, droid face!
//This is a replacement mobile browser detection script for the phpBBmobile theme
//The original is poorly coded and has a crap license attached
//Get the mobile theme here:
//This version DOES NOT support device reporting
//DO NOT do (or undo) the MOD edits to posting.php before using this replacement
//goal: get out of here as fast as possible, this code runs every time!
//Dont: use regular expressions. They're super slow!
//Dont: try to identify the phone, who cares?
//Do: use strpos - fastest php search method
//Do: try to identify desktops first! They are most of the hits!
// mobile headers
// code inspiration:
// code inspiration:
//same as old phpBBmobile function for drop-in compatability
function mobile_device_detect(){
	//store the user agent, all lower case for fast matching without stri
	//reject any mobile that shouldn't get mobile app (ipad for us)
	if( (strpos($a, 'ipad') !== false) //exclude iPad from mobile
		return false;
	//don't get this header until we know we need it
	//get anything that will mess up the desktop detection. 
	//also most obvious stuff
	if( (strpos($a, 'android') !== false) //most popular OS as of 2011, also seen as desktop because of Linux in UA, filter it here
		|| (strpos($a, 'phone') !== false) //obvious mobile device, also gets iphone 2nd most popular in 2011
		|| (strpos($a, 'mobile') !== false) //obvious "I'm a mobile" in the user agent
		|| (strpos($a, 'windows ce') !== false) //look for windows CE now, will mess with windows desktop detection
		|| (strpos($a, 'palm') !== false) //some palms have Windows 98/etc agent strings, will mess with windows desktop detection
		|| (isset($_SERVER['HTTP_X_OPERAMINI_PHONE'])) //look for stupid opera HTTP_X header
		|| (strpos($accept, 'application/vnd.wap.xhtml+xml') !== false) //obvious "I'm a mobile app"
		|| (strpos($accept, 'text/vnd.wap.wml') !== false) //obvious "I'm a mobile app" 
		return true;
	//eleminate majority of desktop users first before doing more extensive search
	if( (strpos($a, 'windows') !== false)
		//|| (strpos($a, 'linux') !== false) //disabled because so many phones report Linux in UA, needs deeper check
		|| (strpos($a, 'solaris') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'bsd') !== false)
		//|| (strpos($a, 'os/') !== false) //can't really do this with mac as far as I can tell
		return false;
	//now the big list of potential browser strings
	//hopefully we never get here 99% of the time
	//should be ordered from most common to least common
	if( (strpos($a, ' mobi') !== false)
		//|| (strpos($a, 'iphone') !== false) //generic phone check takes care of this
		//|| (strpos($a, 'ipad') !== false) //dont want to use mobile on ipad, generic mobile check takes care of this too
		|| (strpos($a, 'wireless') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'blackberry') !== false) 	
		|| (strpos($a, 'opera mini') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'symbian') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'nokia') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'samsung') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'ericsson,') !== false) 	
		|| (strpos($a, 'vodafone/') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'kindle') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'ipod') !== false) 
		|| (strpos($a, 'wap1.') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'wap2.') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'sony') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'sanyo') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'sharp') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'panasonic') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'philips') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'pocketpc') !== false)
		|| (strpos($a, 'avantgo') !== false) //are these people still around? Really? I had that on my palm III
		|| (strpos($a, 'blazer') !== false)			
		|| (strpos($a, 'ipaq') !== false)	
		|| isset($_SERVER['HTTP_X_WAP_PROFILE']) //older headers
		|| isset($_SERVER['HTTP_PROFILE']) //older headers
		return true;
	//nothing matched, assume desktop and not mobile
	return false;