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14 Safari tips and tricks you absolutely need to know

It might come as quite a surprise to learn that Apple’s Safari browser is more than 20 years old. It first made an appearance as the default browser on Mac back in January 2003 and it was intended to be a faster browser for the Mac than the other popular browsers at the time, like Internet Explorer and Netscape. In the two decades that followed, Safari has seen some big changes. It was one of the first apps to appear on the original iPhone, and then made its way to the iPad too when the first model appeared in 2010.



Today, Safari is still an excellent browser for Mac, iPhone, and iPad, and there are a lot of features that you may be totally unaware of. Here are some of the best Safari tips and tricks you should take advantage of.


Safari tips and tricks on Mac

Thanks to the power of iCloud, you can sync your browsing across all your Apple devices, from your iPhone to your Mac. If you set up tab groups on your iPhone or iPad, you can see those same groups on your Mac, and vice versa. However, each version of the browser has its own unique tricks, many of which are definitely worth knowing.

Turn any website into an app

MacOS Sonoma with Pocket-Lint as a Web App

A new feature in the latest version of Safari, is that it’s now possible to take any website and turn it into an app that will appear in your dock. A Safari web app is a little different from a standard page in Safari, as it doesn’t store any history, cookies, or other website data. It’s also more streamlined, with just three buttons: back, forward, and share. If there’s a streaming site you use that doesn’t have its own app, for example, you can make one with just a few clicks.

  1. Open the website that you want turn into a web app.
  2. Click the Share icon in the top-right of the Safari window.
  3. Select Add to Dock.
  4. The web page is now turned into a web app that will appear in the dock of your Mac.

Use profiles to keep your browsing separated

safari profiles on MacBook air m2

Another new feature in the latest version of Safari is the ability to create different profiles. These profiles allow you to save completely different sets of Safari preferences. Your browsing history, bookmarks, cookies, and website data will only be saved within your profile so sites you visit in your Work profile for example, won’t appear in the history for your Personal profile.

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click the Safari menu in the menu bar.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Click the Profiles tab.
  5. Click Start Using Profiles.
  6. Set up your first profile.
  7. You can add more at any time by clicking the + (plus) button in the Profiles tab.
  8. To switch between profiles, right-click the Safari icon in the dock and select the profile you want to use.

Create tab groups to make tabs easier to find

safari tab groups

If you don’t want to use profiles, you can use tab groups to keep your browsing more organised. Tab groups allow you to group collections of tabs together. When you open the group, you’ll just see the tabs saved within that group. You can create as many different tab groups as you wish, and they will sync across your Apple devices.

  1. Open Safari and click the Show Sidebar icon at the top-left of the screen.
  2. Click the New Tab Group icon in the top-right corner of the sidebar.
  3. To create a new empty tab group, select New Empty Tab Group.
  4. To add the currently open tabs to a new group, select New Tab Group with X Tabs.
  5. You can add further tabs to tab groups by dragging them into the appropriate group in the sidebar.

Use picture-in-picture for better multitasking

safari picture in picture

If you’re watching a video on a website, you might want to be able to keep browsing as you do so. Using the picture-in-picture feature in Safari allows you to break out the video from the webpage, so that you can keep watching it and carry on browsing, even in other tabs or apps.

  1. Open a webpage with a video you want to watch and start the video playing.
  2. Right-click the Speaker icon at the right-hand end of the URL bar.
  3. Select Open Picture in Picture.
  4. The video will pop out in a separate window.
  5. You can now carry on browsing, with the video still visible.

Quickly get back to search results using SnapBack

safari snapback

Have you ever fallen down a browsing rabbit hole? You do a web search, click one of the results, find an interesting link on that page and click it. Then you find an even more interesting link on that page. Before you know it, you’re ten pages from where you first started.

Now you want to get back to your original search results. That’s going to involve a lot of clicking the back button, right? Well, not if you use the clever SnapBack feature. It will take you right back to those search results, skipping all the pages in between.

  1. Do a web search in Safari.
  2. Follow some links within the same tab.
  3. Click the History menu.
  4. Select Search Results SnapBack.
  5. You’ll be taken back to the original page of search results.

Quickly close multiple tabs

CamelCamelCamel 8 Safari

Pocket-lint

If you find that you’ve got too many tabs open, you may not like the thought of having to close each one manually. The good news is that you don’t have to. You can quickly close multiple tabs in Safari in just a couple of clicks.

  1. Right-click a tab that you want to keep open.
  2. To close every other tab except the current one, select Close Other Tabs.
  3. To close all the tabs to the right of the current one, select Close Tabs to the Right.

Safari tips and tricks on iPad

Safari on the iPad also has some tricks of its own, some of which won’t work on Mac or iPhone. Most of the tricks from the section below on iPhone tips and tricks will also work on iPad, however.

Use tabs in Split View

How to split screen on iPad for efficient multitasking photo 1
Apple

Split View is a useful iPad feature for working with multiple apps at once. It works by splitting the screen into two sections, with a different app running in each. However, it’s also possible to use Split View for two different Safari tabs.

  1. Open the first page you want to use in Split View.
  2. Tap the Three Dots at the very top of the screen.
  3. Tap the Split View icon.
  4. Tap the Safari icon to open another Safari window.
  5. You can now navigate to the other web page you want to see in this new window.
  6. You can drag the central divider in either direction if you need one of the windows to be larger than the other.
  7. To return to the standard view, tap the Three Dots icon at the top of one of the windows and select the Full Screen icon.

Merge Safari windows back into tabs

Apple iPad Pro 11-inch - 12

If you’ve been working with multiple separate windows of Safari, rather than using tabs within the same window, it’s possible to quickly merge all of your open Safari windows back into tabs.

  1. Tap and hold the Tab Overview icon in the top-right of one of your Safari windows.
  2. Select Merge All Windows.
  3. All open Safari windows will be collected together as tabs within a single window.

Bookmark multiple tabs at once

safari iPhone save multiple bookmarks

If you’ve got multiple tabs open, and you want to save all of them so that you can access them later, you might go through each one in turn and save it as a bookmark. However, there’s a much quicker way which allows you to bookmark all of your currently open tabs.

  1. Open the tabs that you want to bookmark.
  2. Tap and hold the Bookmarks icon.
  3. To add a single bookmark, select Add Bookmark.
  4. To bookmark all of the currently open tabs, select Add Bookmarks for X Tabs.

Sort your tabs by title or website

safari iPhone arrange tabs by

The extra real estate on the iPad allows you to view a lot of tabs at once. However, finding the right tab can still be tricky if you have a lot of them open. It’s possible to sort your tabs by title or by website to make it easier to find the one you want.

  1. Tap the Tab Overview icon in the top-right of the window.
  2. When the tabs appear, tap and hold one of them.
  3. Tap Arrange Tabs By.
  4. Select Arrange Tabs By Title or Arrange Tabs By Website.

Safari tips and tricks on iPhone

Mobile browsing is the common way that people access the internet these days, so knowing some useful iPhone Safari tricks can help.

Quickly scroll back to the top of the page

You’ve been engrossed in an interesting article and have scrolled a long way through as you read. You now want to go back to the top of the page so you can access the menu. That means a lot of scrolling to get back to the top, or you can simply tap somewhere around the top of your iPhone screen like the clock or the battery icon. This will automatically scroll the current web page back to the top.

Close all tabs at once

How to close all Safari tabs on iPhone at the same time photo 1
Pocket-lint

Do you find your iPhone gets filled with hundreds of tabs when you’re browsing? If so, you might be too daunted to even think about closing them all. Thankfully, there is a quick way to close all of your tabs at once.

  1. Tap and hold the Tab Overview icon in the bottom-right of the screen.
  2. Select Close All X Tabs.
  3. All of your open tabs will close.

Set your tabs to close automatically

safari iPhone close tabs automatically

If even this seems like too much effort, you can get Safari to automatically close your tabs for you. You can have this happen every day, every week, or every month.

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and select Safari.
  3. Under the Tabs section, tap Close Tabs.
  4. Select After One Day, After One Week, or After One Month to have Safari automatically close your tabs for you.
  5. If you don’t want Safari to close your tabs, select Manually instead.

Open a new tab with a gesture

Why do two taps when a single gesture will do the job? If you want to open a new Safari tab, you can tap the Tab Overview icon and then tap the + (plus) icon to make a new tab appear. If you’re a true Safari legend, however, then instead, you’ll just swipe left on the URL bar of the current tab, and a new one will open like magic. Swiping right will take you to your previous tabs, too.

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