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The iOS 16 Safari update builds on the Tab Groups feature introduced in iOS 16, plus it adds some much-needed quality of life improvements and security enhancements.

iOS-16-Safari-Guide-Feature.jpg

This guide covers all of the new features in Safari in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16.

Tab Group Updates

Introduced in iOS 15, Tab Groups let you organize and save your tabs into different segments that you can swap between. So, for example, if you're planning a trip, you can save all your tabs into a "Trip" group. In iOS 16, Apple takes Tab Groups even further with new features.

Pinned Tabs

Pinned tabs are now available in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, and they can be used in Tab Groups. If you have tabs in your Tab Group that you want to have open all the time, pinning is an option. To pin a tab to a Tab Group in iOS 16, open up the Tab Group then long press on the URL bar in Safari and choose the "Pin Tab" option.

pin-tab-ios-16-tab-groups.jpg

Tab Group Start Pages

Every Tab Group has its own separate Start Page in iOS 16, so you can have different favorites, frequently visited sites, and other options that are exclusive to each group of tabs.

ios-16-tab-group-start-page.jpg

Accessing the start page can be done by going to the Tab View and then pressing the "+" button to open an empty page. If you scroll down to the bottom, you can tap on "Edit" to customize your Tab Group start page. You'll need to have the Tab Group you want to customize active, as this is a process that needs to be done separately for each Tab Group.

Shared Tab Groups

Any Tab Group you've created can now be shared with friends and family, allowing multiple people to contribute links and work together. Everyone can add tabs and see the Tab Group update instantly.

ios-16-shared-tab-groups.jpg

A Tab Group can be shared by tapping on the share sheet icon at the top of the Tab View and then selecting a person to share with. You can send an invite using Messages, and then see who's participating in the Tab Group interface.

Passkeys

Passkeys are meant to replace traditional passwords when signing into websites or apps, and Apple is aiming to roll out Passkeys starting in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.

Passkey-Feature-Orange-1.jpg

Passkeys are next-generation credentials that are safer and easier to use than passwords, using a dual authentication key system. One key is public and stored on the website server, while the second key is private and kept on-device. On the iPhone and other devices with biometric authentication, Face ID or Touch ID is used to authorize the passkey to authenticate the user to the website. The keys must match to allow for a log-in, and because the second key is private and available only to the user, it cannot be stolen, leaked, or phished.

Passkeys rely on iCloud Keychain, which in turn requires two-factor authentication for further protection. Passkeys sync across all of a user's devices through iCloud Keychain, which is end-to-end encrypted with its own cryptographic keys.

Passkeys will work on all Apple devices, but Apple is also working with companies like Microsoft and Google to ensure that Passkeys can also be used with non-Apple devices.

Extension Syncing

If you've downloaded an extension on another device, you can see it in the Safari preferences on your iPhone thanks to Extensions syncing, a new iOS 16 feature.

ios-16-extensions-syncing.jpg

After it's installed, the extension will sync across devices so you only need to turn it on once. Extensions are listed in the Settings app under Safari > Extensions. Extensions not on your device are listed in the "On Other Devices" section so you can easily download them.

If you don't want to share extensions across devices, you can toggle off the option in the same Settings section.

Web Push Notifications

Website push notifications have been available through Safari on the Mac for some time now, but in iOS 16, these push notifications are also going to be available on the iPhone and iPad.

Support for web push notifications won't be available when iOS 16 launches, with the feature coming in an update later this year.

As on the Mac, web notifications will be available on an opt-in basis, and you will be able to choose websites to receive notifications for.

Website Settings Sync

Your website settings like page zoom, automatic Reader view, and more, will now sync across devices so you only need to set your preferences once. If you don't want to share settings for websites across devices, you can toggle it off in the Safari section of the Settings app.

safari-share-across-devices-ios-16.jpg


Strong Password Editing

When you're creating a website account using Safari, Safari will suggest a strong password for you to use, which syncs with iCloud Keychain. Unfortunately, some websites have specific requirements like a certain number of symbols or capital letters that strong passwords don't always fulfill.

safari-edit-strong-password.jpg

With iOS 16, there is an option to edit strong passwords so you can adjust them as needed to meet site requirements.

Focus Filters

Apple in iOS 16 added a new Focus option called Filters. Filters are designed to allow users to filter out content within apps, displaying a specific Safari Tab Group or Mail account. When you use a Focus with a filter set, the app with the filter will only show what you've selected, hiding everything else.

ios-16-focus-filters-1.jpg

For Safari, you can choose any Tab Group account to associate with a Focus. With a filter set, when you're in that Focus, Safari will only show the Tab Group you've selected.

Lift Subject From Background

iOS 16 has a fun feature that lets you drag subjects right out of images, and it works in the Safari app. Open up a webpage with any image, long press on the image, and then choose the "Copy Subject" option.

safari-isolate-subject-ios-16.jpg

Your iPhone will automatically copy the main subject of the image and then you can paste it elsewhere, into the Messages app, for example.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about Safari in iOS 16, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: Everything New in Safari in iOS 16: Shared Tab Groups, Extension Syncing, Web Push Notifications and More
 

antiprotest

macrumors 68020
Apr 19, 2010
2,354
4,584
I have some use for pinned tabs and web notifications.

I wish I could use tab groups but they are unreliable unless you turn off safari sync entirely. Some pages would go blank or would sync back to a previous url even if you make changes on only one device.
 
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_Spinn_

macrumors 68030
Nov 6, 2020
2,500
5,987
Wisconsin
Seem like some nice features coming.

I’m excited for possible support for “virtual cards” in the future.

 

xxray

macrumors 68020
Jul 27, 2013
2,077
4,991
Extension syncing, website setting syncing, and web push notifications are those features that seem surprising that they weren't there in the first place. I'm glad to see the improvements.
 

Ash Pole

macrumors member
Mar 2, 2015
96
78
"Apple is also working with companies like Microsoft and Google to ensure that Passkeys can also be used with non-Apple devices"
In that case I'll stick with Bitwarden.....thanks just the same.
 
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Populus

macrumors 68030
Aug 24, 2012
2,716
3,347
Valencia, Spain.
Does the new iCloud Password Editing feature allow you to change easily the already set passwords? Because many times we need to change the password and using iCloud Keychain used to be a bit difficult or clunky (or I’m doing it wrong).

Also I’m really wishing passkeys are broadly implemented soon.
 

hagar

macrumors 65816
Jan 19, 2008
1,440
3,146
These levels of customisation by Apple were unthinkable a few years back. But I’m not sure it’s the direction Apple should be going.

Tab groups and especially Focus are very complex to grasp for the majority of people. The end user needs to configure everything manually while “Siri Smarts” aren’t doing anything. It’s like Apple gave up and said: let the user figure it out.
 
Last edited:

wood1208

macrumors 6502
Aug 30, 2015
308
184
When you close Safari window with more than one tabs group; does it warn like Firefox or like Chrome browser closes all tabs in window and you lose your tabs ?
 

LV426

macrumors 68000
Jan 22, 2013
1,568
1,652
Does the new iCloud Password Editing feature allow you to change easily the already set passwords? Because many times we need to change the password and using iCloud Keychain used to be a bit difficult or clunky (or I’m doing it wrong).

Also I’m really wishing passkeys are broadly implemented soon.
Safari > Preferences > Passwords > Select site > Edit
 

roland.g

macrumors demi-god
Apr 11, 2005
7,119
2,644
Is there an option to turn off the suggested password altogether as those of us who use 1Password get our passwords through that and don't want to dismiss or accidently use the Safari suggested/generated password.
 

Goldfrapp

macrumors 603
Jul 31, 2005
5,430
10,579
US&A
After all these years, still no favicons in Safari Bookmarks. Why macOS has them but iOS doesn't is beyond me. 🤦🏻‍♂️
 

maktaba

macrumors member
Oct 30, 2020
41
62
I find the whole tab groups thing confusing and pointless. I’ve never made any tab groups since they were introduced in iOS. Not sure how useful they are on Mac since I don’t own one, but I’ve seen tab groups in Edge on Windows and I’ve never used them either. I’ve never found them useful.
 

jmadara

macrumors newbie
Oct 22, 2013
5
3
I find the whole tab groups thing confusing and pointless. I’ve never made any tab groups since they were introduced in iOS. Not sure how useful they are on Mac since I don’t own one, but I’ve seen tab groups in Edge on Windows and I’ve never used them either. I’ve never found them useful.
I accidentally created a group. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out how to close it.
 
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cupcakes2000

macrumors 68030
Apr 13, 2010
2,956
3,670
I have some use for pinned tabs and web notifications.

I wish I could use tab groups but they are unreliable unless you turn off safari sync entirely. Some pages would go blank or would sync back to a previous url even if you make changes on only one device.
They’re in no way unreliable for me. You should try to use them, as they remain consistent across my iPad iPhone and Mac. You suggested you don’t use them so you should try, especially if you’re negatively commenting (how would you know for one thing?) - It’s pretty good. A bit clunky to access and sort out on a phone, I think there is much room for improvement - but i don’t see any other issues so far after using them for as long as they have existed.
 
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