Wii U Browser Tips and Tricks

How to get the most out of the Wii U's internet browser

Wii U


The Wii U’s Internet Browser is the software we use most on the Wii U, both because we like to browse the Internet from the couch and because we use Plex Media Server to stream video from my PC to the Wii U. Some aspects of the browser are well known, like the ability to call it up while playing a game in order to search for help or upload screenshots. Others are soon discovered, like the trigger buttons tab-switching function. But here are some handy features you may not have discovered.

Add Words to Auto-Complete

Some text entry software simply remembers every word you typed, but the Wii U browser (like my Android phone), needs to be told to add a word to its dictionary. To do so, type the word, then tap on it in the auto-complete area below the text entry box. 

Quickly Locate Part of a Web Page

If you’re in a hurry to get somewhere in a long document you don’t need to page down one screen at a time. Hold ZR and ZL at the same time and you’ll see a shrunk-down version of the web page that you can navigate by tilting the gamepad up or down. While the shrunken text can’t be read, it’s great for scanning a page for something larger like an image, or for reaching the document’s beginning or end. 

Hide Your Browsing From Everyone in the Room

The most Nintendo-y aspect of the browser is the ability to bring a curtain down on the TV while you continue to browse on the gamepad. After a while, your Mii will appear in front of the curtain doing magic tricks, unless you’re running the browser on top of a game, in which case you will see the current screen display of that game. Nintendo portrayed this as a way to, for example, search for a video in secret, then open the curtain when it’s ready and let your friends enjoy, although you can also use it if you just don’t want people to see what you’re looking at. To close or open the curtain, press X. If you hold down X while the curtain is closed, you’ll get a fanfare before it opens.  

Watch a Video While Browsing the Web

For many people, one of the most exciting moments of their Wii U browsing experience is the first time they discover that while watching a video on the Wii U, pressing the little arrow in the bottom right corner will remove the video from the gamepad screen, allowing you to continue to browse the Internet while the video plays on your TV. Perfect for those who can’t resist multitasking. 

Hide/Display the Toolbar

Want a little more screen real-estate? Pushing the left analog stick toggles display of the bottom navigation bar and, if you’re watching a video, the top video bar.

Of course, it’s possible to do this by accident, so if you’re ever browsing and you realize your navbar or video play controls are missing, push the stick to get them back.

Close a Tab With the B Button

Like most modern browsers, you can open multiple browsing windows (tabs) in the Wii U browser (to a maximum of six, after which every tab opened will cause the oldest tab to close), either from the navigation bar or by pressing on a link until it offers a navigation menu. You can close the tab, of course, by clicking on the X for that tab on the navbar, but the quickest way to close the currently open tab is to hold the B button down for half a second then release.

One of our favorite additions from the Wii U’s 4.0 system update was the ability to jump through or fast forward videos. The right and left shoulder buttons let you hop 15 seconds forward or 10 seconds back​while holding the right button plays the video at double speed. 

Fix the Youtube's "Videos Not Available on This Device" Error

We don't know why Youtube refuses to play some videos on some devices, but we do know how to get around it on the Wii U. The secret is the browser's "Set User Agent" setting (tap your Mii, tap Start Page, tap Settings, scroll down the tap Set User Agent), which allows the browser to masquerade as another browser. We find setting the user agent to iPad works well; when we set it to Internet Explorer, it tells me we need flash to play the video. 

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