If you’ve just switched to Mac from Windows, you might be surprised to find that Internet Explorer for Mac doesn’t exist.
The problem for Mac users is that some websites such as corporate intranets, HR and banking sites still require Internet Explorer to access them.
In some cases, you may be able to just use Microsoft Edge for Mac to access sites that only work with IE.
However, there are still some sites that won’t accept Microsoft Edge and will only work with Internet Explorer so in this article we show you various ways of getting around this on the latest versions of macOS including Big Sur, Catalina and Mojave.
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Can You Download Internet Explorer On a Mac?
There’s no way to even download IE on Mac anymore because the Mac version was discontinued by Microsoft way back in 2005 shortly after Apple released the Safari browser for Macs.
If you search for “download Internet Explorer for Mac” you may find sites that claim to offer it but do not download them as the truth is IE for Mac does not exist anymore.
Some sites claiming that you can download and install IE on a Mac may even install malware on your Mac such as the recent Silver Sparrow malware.
The last version of Internet Explorer that worked on Mac was for OS X 10.6.8 Snow Leopard which is now obsolete so don’t be fooled by any site that claims you can download it still.
Can You Install Internet Explorer Explorer on a Mac?
You can’t install Internet Explorer on a Mac anymore but you can either install Windows on your Mac or use another browser to “emulate” Internet Explorer in macOS.
- Install Windows on your Mac
There are various ways to do this the easiest being with a Virtual Machine which allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time. In fact, if the website you’re trying to access requires ActiveX, you will have to install Windows on your Mac because it’s the only way to access websites that require it. This also works to run internet explorer on M1 Macs.
- Simulate IE in another browser
If you don’t need ActiveX support, the simplest way to get IE or Edge on your Mac is to simulate them in your current browser such as Chrome, Safari or Firefox. This can easily be done by changing the “user agent” settings in your browser so that the site thinks you’re using Internet Explorer even though, you’re using Chrome, Firefox, Safari etc.
With this in mind, here are the best ways to view websites on your Mac that require Internet Explorer in 2021.
Running Windows on your Mac is the surest way to access sites that will only work with Internet Explorer.
Although the second method covered here (emulation) will work for most sites, there are some websites that simply can’t be fooled into thinking you’re using Internet Explorer on a Mac.
This is definitely the case for websites that require Microsoft ActiveX.
For those sites, the only option is to install Windows on your Mac.
The easiest way to do this is using Parallels which allows you to run macOS and Windows at the same time so you can switch between them easily.
Parallels is also the only way to run Internet Explorer and Windows on M1 Macs.
Parallels allows you to run Windows simultaneously with macOS and the good news is that nowadays, you can even run Windows 10 on Mac for free.
This is because Microsoft no longer requires users to activate Windows 10 with a product key in order to actually use it.
The only advantage of activating Windows 10 with a product key is that it allows you to customize the look of Windows, which isn’t exactly essential for most Mac users.
Running Windows on your Mac almost guarantees access to any IE only or Edge only sites on Mac.
Effectively, you are emulating a PC on your Mac so it’s just like accessing a website as if you were a PC user using Internet Explore or Edge.
Alternatively, you can also install Windows in a partition on your Mac hard drive using Boot Camp so you can boot your Mac in Windows.
The disadvantage of this method that you can’t switch between macOS and Windows instantly – you have to boot and then re-boot in one or the other.
Boot Camp also doesn’t work with M1 Macs so if you want to install IE on an M1 Mac, you have to use Parallels.
2. Emulate IE For Mac In Your Browser
The easiest, quickest and simplest way to run Internet Explorer on Mac works by “fooling” sites into thinking you are using IE even though you are using another browser.
This is free and very easy to do. All you have to do is change a few settings in your browser.
This works with Safari, Chrome, Firefox and a lesser known browser called iCab.
It works by activating the Developer Mode in the browser then switching the User Agent to Internet Explorer, making the site think you’re accessing it using IE.
iCab does a similar thing except the ability to switch browser identities is a standard feature.
Here are instructions how to emulate Internet Explorer in each of these browsers starting with Safari.
Important Update: If you’re using macOS Catalina or Big Sur you can only simulate Microsoft Edge in Safari. You need macOS Mojave or lower to simulate Internet Explorer.
- Open Safari on your Mac. If you can’t find it, search for “Safari” in Spotlight in the top right of your Mac.
- When Safari is open, select Safari and then Preferences… in the top left corner.
- Select the Advanced tab on the far right. Then select the checkbox “Show Develop menu in menu bar” at the bottom:
- Close the Preferences and you’ll see a new “Develop” option in the Safari Menu Bar at the top of the screen. Click on it and you’ll see the option User Agent. You can then instruct Safari to appear to websites as Internet Explorer.
- Select Internet Explorer 11 unless you know that the site you’re trying to access only works with Internet Explorer 8.0 or 9.0. Note that if you’re using macOS Catalina or higher, Internet Explorer no longer appears in the User Agent list.
You should now be able to access sites that require Internet Explorer.
As you can see from the other options available in the User Agent, you can also make Safari pretend your Mac is a PC or Mac using Chrome, Firefox or Opera.
If you’re using Google Chrome, here’s how to emulate IE on a Mac:
- Go to the View menu at the top of Chrome and select Developer and then Developer Tools.
A panel will open to the right of your browser window.
- Make sure that Console is selected in the upper Menu and then go to the bottom of the browser and click on the three dots next to Console as illustrated by the arrows below:
- From the pop-up Menu that appears, select Network Conditions.
- Next to user agent, deselect the option “Select Automatically” and then click on the Custom Menu and select the version of Internet Explorer you want Chrome to use.
Any websites you visit will then think you are using Internet Explorer on your Mac.
You can leave the console open or close it.
When you close the tab completely, Chrome will revert to being Chrome again – there’s no further action needed on your part.
If you have problems doing this, an even easier solution is to use the Chrome Agent Switcher Plugin.
This automatically allows you to select which browser you want Chrome to appear as.
You can run also emulate Internet Explorer in Firefox although it’s slightly more complicated and messy than doing it via Safari or Chrome.
However, the process is made incredibly easy if you just install the User-Agent Switcher Add-On for Firefox.
This useful Add-On allows you to easily select what you want Firefox to run as, including Internet Explorer.
As you can see, you can even make Firefox appear like it’s also a mobile device or even coming from an entirely different operating system such as Windows or Linux.
iCab is a free browser that like Safari, allows you to run as Internet Explorer on your Mac.
It’s also a pretty darn quick browser too although a bit dated nowadays.
Here’s how to run IE on your Mac using iCab.
- Download and install iCab. Open iCab – you don’t even need to drag it into your Applications folder. You can just double click on the iCab icon.
- When iCab is open, simply go to View then Browser Identity and select one of the Internet Explorer options.
Unlike with the Safari method, you can even disguise iCab as the last version of Internet Explorer that ever worked on Mac – Internet Explorer 5.2.
Beyond that though, iCab only goes up to Internet Explorer 7.0 on Windows which some sites may not support but if you’ve had no luck with Safari, iCab is definitely worth a shot.
Some sites that require Internet Explorer may work with Microsoft Edge. Microsoft Edge is Microsoft’s replacement for Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge for Mac is now available.
However, it’s a completely different browser to IE and it’s quite possible that websites that only work in IE, won’t work in Microsoft Edge.