MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
54,094
15,880


Apple's Safari app has undergone a number of changes during the iOS 15 beta testing process. Apple started out with a radical new design that moved the address bar from the top of the app's interface and introduced a floating tab bar, but after a multitude of complaints, there were several redesigns that culminated in an option to undo the iOS 15 design entirely.

iOs-15-Safari-Feature.jpg

This guide walks through all of the features added in the iOS 15 Safari app, including those new design options.

Design Changes

Safari started out with a new floating tab design that moved the address bar and tabs to the bottom of the iPhone interface, but now the design change is optional.

new-safari-design-options-ios-15.jpg

In the Safari section of the Settings app, you can choose your tab view. The "Tab Bar" option moves the address bar to the bottom of the Safari interface, which is the new design.

ios-15-beta-6-safari-options.jpg

There is a dedicated control bar at the bottom of the Safari interface, and above that, an integrated tab bar and address bar. You can swipe left and right to swap tabs, or tap into the bar to search or type in a new URL. The dedicated control bar was added in a later iOS 15 beta and offers access to forward/back, share tools, bookmarking tools, and tabs.

You can get to webpage settings by tapping on the Aa, or reload a page by tapping on the reload button. With this Tab Bar interface, when you scroll through a webpage, the entire Tab Bar collapses down so you can see more of the website. You can bring it back up with a tap.

If you choose "Single Tab" instead of "Tab Bar," the address bar and tabs will remain at the top of the Safari window, which is how iOS 14 works. The design of the Single Tab option is unchanged from iOS 14, with the same control bar available at the bottom of the interface. You can't swipe through tabs using the Single Tab interface and will instead need to use the Tab Switcher.

You can swap between the bottom Tab Bar and the Single Tab interface by tapping on the "Aa" button that's next to any URL.

safari-show-bottom-tab-bar-ios-15-option.jpg


Website Tinting

Available in the Settings app, Allow Website Tinting matches the collapsed Safari address bar interface to the website's colors to make it blend in better with the background.

ios-15-safari-tinting.jpg
Website tinting activated on left, disabled on right​

This only applies when you're scrolling through a webpage and have collapsed the address bar. In both Single Tab and Tab Bar modes, the interface adopts the colors of the website at the top and bottom, with the coloring extending all the way to the iPhone's status icons.

Landscape Tab Bar

With the new Landscape Tab Bar setting, when you use your iPhone in landscape mode with Safari, you'll see a Mac-style tab bar that shows all of your open tabs, and you can swipe through them.

ios-15-landscape-tab-bar.jpg

Pull to Refresh

A downward swipe on any webpage in iOS 15 will refresh the page, and this is an alternative to having to tap on the reload icon.

ios-15-pull-to-refresh.jpg

Tab Groups

Tabs in iOS 15 can be saved into Tab Groups, which offers a way to preserve a set of tabs you have open without having to have those tabs active.

ios-15-safari-tab-groups.jpg

If you're planning a trip, for example, you can save all of your tabs into a "Vacation" group, accessing them when needed and leaving your device free for other content when you're not doing active planning. If you have a set of websites you always open up for work, you can save these in a dedicated Tab Group.

To make a Tab Group, just open up all of the websites that you want to include, tap on the Tabs button with the down arrow, and then tap New Tab Group from [#] Tabs. You can also use this option to create a New Empty Tab Group that tabs can be added to later. Long press on any open tab (or the main address bar if you have the single tab view enabled) to add it to a Tab Group.

To load up a Tab Group, tap on the Tabs button and then tap on the name of the group in the list. All of your Tab Groups sync across your devices so you can access them on iPhones and iPads running iOS and iPadOS 15 as well as on Macs running macOS Monterey.

Tab Overview Grid

In iOS 14, all of your open tabs are displayed in a card-like interface that you can swipe through, but in iOS 15, open tabs are displayed in a grid view.

ios-15-safari-tab-tiles.jpg

You can tap on the tab button (which is two overlapping squares) to bring up the grid interface that shows all of your open tabs. Tapping on the "X" in the corner of any tab closes it.

Customizable Start Page

Safari is more customizable in iOS 15, and you can edit what's available on your start page. This is a feature that has been available on macOS, but is now also available on iOS devices.

ios-15-safari-customize-start-page.jpg

To customize the start page, open a new, blank tab, scroll all the way to the bottom of the window, and tap on the "Edit" button.

You can choose to have the start page show Favorites, Frequently Visited sites, Shared With You content, Privacy Report info, Siri Suggestions, Reading List, and iCloud Tabs.

There's an option to use the same Start Page appearance across all devices, and a toggle to upload the background image of your choice.


Intelligent Tracking Prevention Improvements

With updates to Intelligent Tracking Prevention, the feature that keeps websites from tracking your web activity, trackers are now blocked from accessing your IP address to build a profile on you.


HTTPS Upgrade

Safari in iOS 15 automatically upgrades sites that are known to support HTTPS from HTTP, which is insecure.

iCloud Private Relay

iCloud Private Relay is a privacy feature that makes sure all of your Safari traffic is encrypted.

As explained in our privacy guide, iCloud Private Relay protects your IP address and de-links it from the websites that you visit by utilizing two separate internet relays.

icloud-private-relay.jpg

iCloud Private Relay sends all web traffic to a server that is maintained by Apple where information like IP address is stripped. Once the info is removed, the traffic (your DNS request) is sent to a secondary server that's maintained by a third-party company, where it is assigned a temporary IP address, and then the traffic is sent on to its destination.

By having a two-step process that involves both an Apple server and a third-party server, ‌iCloud‌ Private Relay prevents anyone, including Apple, from determining a user's identity and linking it to the website the user is visiting.

With this system, Apple knows your IP address and the third-party partner knows the site you're visiting, and because the information is de-linked, neither Apple nor the partner company has a complete picture of the site you're visiting and your location, and neither does the website you're browsing. Normally websites have access to this data and combined with cookies, can use it to build a profile of your preferences.

Web Extensions

Safari in iOS 15 supports web extensions, with web extensions able to be downloaded and installed through the App Store. Available extensions include content blockers, VPNs, and more.

ios-15-safari-extensions.jpg

Live Text

With iOS 15, iPhones and iPads are able to use a new Live Text feature to detect text in any image, and this includes images that you find in Safari.

safari-translate-live-text-interface.jpg

Any Safari image that contains text can be selected, copied, pasted, and translated. To use Live Text in Safari, long press on any image and then tap on "Show Text." From there, you can select the text and interact with it like any other text on an iPhone.
Shared With You

Shared With You, a new option available on the Safari start page, aggregates all of the links that you've been sent in the Messages app and other social networking apps that support the Shared With You feature.

safari-shared-with-you.jpg

This new section is designed to ensure that you don't miss links you've been sent, and it lets you know who sent a link to you so you can get back to them with what you thought.

Guide Feedback

Have questions about the new Safari changes in iOS 15, know of a feature we left out, or want to offer feedback on this guide? Send us an email here.

Article Link: Everything New With Safari in iOS 15: Redesign, Tab Groups, Live Text, Privacy Updates and More
 
Last edited:
  • Love
  • Like
Reactions: fbr$ and SurferPup

BWhaler

macrumors 68040
Jan 8, 2003
3,327
4,641
Great updates. They should drop the match style. Terrible.

’I’m really looking forward to ios15.
 
Comment

sdf

macrumors 6502
Jan 29, 2004
467
423
Allowing websites to color the tab bar seems like a decent enough idea until you realize some use it to introduce extra contrast not make it blend.

I turned that off real quick.
 
Comment

PsykX

macrumors 65816
Sep 16, 2006
1,323
965
On iOS, the redesign is finally OK.
But on macOS, it's only in your way more than anything.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Octavius8
Comment

Osxguy

macrumors regular
Jun 23, 2010
108
132
San Jose
Eh... 🤷‍♂️ lets redesign the wheel and call it new... hey its circular and we changed the spokes color because.. I praised the gods when they allowed the search/website bar to be up top. The reason - I would tap on the bar and maybe slip my finger and oops I'm on another app (thanks app switching) so glad to put that back up top where it belongs. Its the same thing that happens when I watch a movie and want to fast forward it.
 
  • Disagree
Reactions: whatgift
Comment

noraa

macrumors 6502
Jun 23, 2003
367
833
I initially despised the redesign, as it broke years of muscle memory, and I was cheering when Apple reintroduced the old style.

However, after a fair amount of use, I actually really like the bottom address bar. Once I broke my old muscle memory, the bottom bar makes a lot more sense. Furthermore, with the bottom bar, you can swipe left and right on it to go b/w tabs, and you can swipe up from it to bring up the tab overview.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nortonandreev
Comment

RollTide1017

macrumors 6502
Sep 28, 2009
254
97
Montgomery, AL
I would love to use Safari on my iPhone/iPad but, I am constantly moving between my Apple devices and my Windows PC at work. I need my bookmarks, history and open tabs to sync across all my devices, including Windows. I really wish Apple would bring back Safari for Windows.
 
  • Like
Reactions: AppleTO
Comment

ncc1701d

macrumors 6502
Mar 30, 2008
433
67
Some sites / apps I want to see are restricted by location, does the private relay mean I won't need a VPN any more?
 
Comment

JamestheCharming

macrumors newbie
Sep 15, 2019
28
5
Honestly, I liked the design on iOS 15's first beta, where that ugly button navigation bar is not there. Now in the latest beta Apple brought the button navigation bar back, but it really looks unfit and ugly with the new design of address bar, and it blocks lots of pixels on display.
IMG_8248.jpg
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: sehns
Comment

MacheadSK

macrumors newbie
Jul 2, 2021
6
3
Problem with Safari is not UI or features.
it’s problem is support for new web standards and bugs in the WebKit rendering engine.
this is what need massive, and I mean really massive improvements and plenty of work. Who cares about icon here and there when Safari is holding whole web progress years back?
Safari became new Internet Explorer. Sad.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nvmls and Biro
Comment

LV426

macrumors 65816
Jan 22, 2013
1,226
955
Thank God there’s a way of keeping the address bar at the top. On my iPad at least, the very bottom of the screen tends to be eclipsed by my duvet when I’m using the iPad in bed (as I often do).
 
  • Like
Reactions: dtruett1
Comment

one more

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2015
2,437
2,352
Earth
Honestly, I liked the design on iOS 15's first beta, where that ugly button navigation bar is not there. Now in the latest beta Apple brought the button navigation bar back, but it really looks unfit and ugly with the new design of address bar, and it blocks lots of pixels on display.
View attachment 1826944

But the moment you start scrolling, it disappears, so you regain the whole screen. 🖐
 
Comment

one more

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2015
2,437
2,352
Earth
Thank God there’s a way of keeping the address bar at the top. On my iPad at least, the very bottom of the screen tends to be eclipsed by my duvet when I’m using the iPad in bed (as I often do).

Apple offered address bar at the bottom for iOS only, so iPads and Macs kept it at the top anyway.
 
  • Like
Reactions: LV426
Comment

one more

macrumors 68020
Aug 6, 2015
2,437
2,352
Earth
Problem with Safari is not UI or features.
it’s problem is support for new web standards and bugs in the WebKit rendering engine.
this is what need massive, and I mean really massive improvements and plenty of work. Who cares about icon here and there when Safari is holding whole web progress years back?
Safari became new Internet Explorer. Sad.

What’s a good alternative for Safari on iOS/iPadOS, as all other browsers there are essentially different WebKit skins, right?
 
Comment

spinedoc77

macrumors G4
Jun 11, 2009
10,119
4,046
Is there a way to keep the address bar on top, but be able to pinch in to see the tabs page? When I set the address bar to the top I can't pinch in anymore.

Edit: Did they take out pinch to see all tabs? Now I can't seem to do it in tab bar or single tab modes.
 
Last edited:
Comment

capandjudy

macrumors member
Oct 31, 2013
86
25
Huntington, WV
I would love to use Safari on my iPhone/iPad but, I am constantly moving between my Apple devices and my Windows PC at work. I need my bookmarks, history and open tabs to sync across all my devices, including Windows. I really wish Apple would bring back Safari for Windows.
As I recall, when Apple ported Safari to Windowns, it was a hot mess and Apple pulled the plug.
 
Comment
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.