I have a very, very odd issue that's affecting all clients using our SharePoint 2013 solution from mobile devices.

If a user with read access visits the site from a desktop browser, everything works fine. If the same user visits from a mobile device they get access denied on every file from the themes folder, including SharePoint's own corev15.

If a user that has higher permission visits, it also works fine.

The error can be triggered from both an actual device, or by changing user agent in a desktop browser. But not all devices have this error, for example an iPad works fine, iPhone doesn't, and Kindle Fire doesn't, Samsung Galaxy S doesn't.

Only files in the /_themes folder are affected. Files for example in /_layouts can be gotten from every user agent and any permission level on the user.

How do I resolve this issue?

  • 1
    Whilst I don't have an immediate answer, I'd like to help to trouble shoot. As such thinking about commonalities here will be key. As such, can I ask (1) Have you a list of devices being used, or are these BYOD items? (2), Are you using Sharepoint Online or on Prem? (3) Are you aware of any product that may be setting a device centric policy, which'll override SP permissions? Office 365 data loss policies for instance? And can you detail more information on the actual error encountered? Such as a SP "permissions denied" vs a generic browser 404. Commented May 13, 2015 at 14:32

3 Answers 3


If changing the browser's user agent triggers the issue, your problem might be related to SharePoint's device channels. You might want to try deactivating the Mobile Browser View feature. Here's how to do it on SP2013 / O365 and on SP2010.


Check your composed looks and you'll probably find that there is no Theme URL associated to the "current" name. This theory is based on the assumption you have a custom master page.

Try this (in dev!):

  1. Go to Design Manager and click "pick from a pre-installed look"
  2. Pick one of the existing ones or hopefully you have a custom one that matches your site
  3. Click try it out, and apply it.
  4. This will set your masterpage back to one of the OOTB ones like Seattle, so go into Master Pages and re-select your custom master page.
  5. You'll now see "current" has a theme associated to it, and by some SharePoint magic allows permission to the themes folder for iPhone et al with that user agent string. Test it, and hopefully it has fixed your issue.

This approach is a bit of a hack to be honest. I can't tell you why associating a theme URL to a site magically gives iPhone users permissions to that library.


It´s been a while. But look at my post. Maybe this helps you out or someone else.

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