Become a MacRumors Supporter for $25/year with no ads, private forums, and more!

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
57,006
19,892


In iOS 15, Safari has been completely redesigned with easier-to-reach controls in mind. Foremost is a new, compact tab bar that floats at the bottom of the screen when you're not inputting a URL address. Safari on iOS has also inherited the Start Page from macOS Big Sur, and you can now create tab groups to allow you to easily access them across devices. Let's take a closer look at how it all fits together.

safari-ios-15.jpg

The Start Page

First seen in macOS Big Sur, Safari's redesigned Start Page is where your Bookmarks, Favorites, Frequently Visited sites, Siri Suggestions, iCloud Tabs, Reading List, and Privacy Report all live.

ios-15-safari-start-page.jpg

Like macOS, you can customize which of these items appear on your Start Page via the Edit button at the bottom, and you can also add a custom wallpaper of your own or use an existing alternative background. In addition, you have the option of syncing your Start Page in iCloud so that it's mirrored across all your devices.

Tab Bar Functions

At the bottom of the Start Page is the new tab bar. Apple has consolidated several controls into the new floating bar, which spends most of its time at the bottom of the UI while you're browsing.

tab-bar-safari-ios15.jpg

Tapping the Tab Bar URL makes it fly up to the top of the screen, where you can search or enter a website address. As soon as you hit Enter, the page loads and the Tab Bar flies back down to the bottom of the screen so as not to impede your view.

If you find the Tab Bar distracting you can swipe down on it to minimize it, but either way it automatically minimizes as you scroll down a page, and all you have to do to reveal it again is tap it again. (To refresh the current page, just pull down on it from the top.)


Swiping between open tabs is as simple as swiping across the Tab Bar. You can also tap the ends of the Tab Bars trailing off either side of the screen to switch to adjacent open tabs, but swiping will be easier for most users.

A long press on the Tab Bar brings up a menu offering options including Copy, Paste and Search, Add to Reading List, Add Bookmark, Add Bookmarks for X Tabs, Share, and Move to Tab Group. (See below for more on Tab Groups.)

ios15-safari-reader-view.jpg

Tapping on the ellipsis (three dots) icon in the Tab Bar brings up the usual Actions menu with sharing options, but you can also long press the ellipsis icon to switch into Reader View for the current page. Tapping the rightmost icon – or swiping up on the Tab Bar – takes you into the Tabs Switcher, where are there also some surprises.

Tab Switcher and Tab Groups

In iOS 15, gone is the familiar stacked card-style view of multiple open tabs. Instead, tabs are arranged as thumbnail previews in a vertically scrolling grid, while the Tab Bar functions in the Tabs Switcher view are transformed to help you organize your tabs more efficiently. A long press on the center of it brings up a menu of Tab Group options.

safari-tab-switcher-ios15.jpg

As well as an option to open a Private Browsing tab, you can create a New Empty Tab Group, or create a new tap group containing the currently open tabs. If you've already created at least one Tab Group and named it, then you'll also see it listed in this menu and you can tap to switch between it and any grouped or ungrouped tabs. (If there are open tabs that don't belong to any group, they'll just be listed as X number of Tabs.)

safari-ios15-recently-closed.jpg

As you'd expect, the plus (+) icon in the Tab Switcher Bar opens a new tab, but if you long press on it you'll also see a list of recently closed tabs.

Elsewhere, you can long press any open tab displayed in the Tab Switcher to access options like Close Other Tabs, move the selected tab to a Tab Group (tapping this opens a submenu of Tab Groups), Arrange Tabs By Title, and Arrange Tabs By Website.

safari-tab-switcher-long-press-ios15.jpg

Overall, Safari in iOS 15 feels very different indeed, and may not chime with user's expectations. While there's more screen space dedicated to the browsing experience itself, the interface changes are drastic, although now that the ‌iPhone‌ also supports extensions for the first time, there's plenty of scope for additional customization.

Note that iOS 15 is still in early beta, and the public beta is still a month away, so the usual caveat applies in that any of these functions could change before Apple releases its new operating system in the fall.

Article Link: iOS 15: Check Out Safari's New Tab Bar, Tab Groups, and Tab Switcher
 
Last edited:

mattopotamus

macrumors G5
Jun 12, 2012
14,113
4,839
Looks terrible, and clunky.
The tab view is a major step backwards, makes the current one look so modern.

like seriously how many sub-menus and contexual menus can you have?

I'm still on the fence about tab groups. I didn't like it at first, but having one for just work related tabs has been pretty nice, also helps keep me focused on work task....especially on the Mac.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660

gank41

macrumors 68020
Mar 25, 2008
2,275
1,910
Sharing a web page to a friend via Messages or AirDrop now has an extra step. Instead of just pressing the share icon, not there’s one single icon to press to get to where you can THEN press share.
Pulling down to refresh also only works at the top of the page (obviously), and the forward and back buttons are also hidden behind that same icon you’d press to get to the share sheet.

I initially liked the URL bar at the bottom. It is easier to get to with one hand. But at that point I’m generally holding my phone with both hands anyway, so I can type whatever I’m searching for or whatever web site I’m going to. Now I’m almost wanting it back at the top again.
 

chucker23n1

macrumors 604
Dec 7, 2014
7,014
9,081
So now we have:
Bookmarks
Favorites
Reading List
and now Tab Groups?
You forgot Top Sites.

But, really, Favorites are just a special folder inside Bookmarks.

So it's more Bookmarks, Reading List, and Tab Groups, and all three of those are different flows:

  • Bookmarks are the old-school thing for permanent archival. (Speaking of, it'd be nice if future browsers integrated that into the Internet Archive, maybe? Like, automatically submit such a URL for archival, and also automatically map the URL if the original site goes down?)
  • Reading List, like Instapaper and Pocket (née Read It Later), is really more of a "I can't get to this right now and also, don't clutter my tabs with this". It's probably not something you want permanently stored. More of a queue.
  • Tab Groups are an interesting thing. I find that I accumulate a lot of tabs on my iPhone, because really, what they are is ad-hoc bookmarks. And also, I find that they lack metadata. Sometimes, I rearrange them so they're at least adjacent. Grouping them and making them appear on other machines as well sounds like a great improvement on that flow. Looking for gift ideas? Open a bunch of tabs on device A. Don't have it with you but thought of another idea? Add it on device B. Get back to A, and it's right there, in the group.
I think all of these accommodate real-world workflows, and I'm happy they exist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: amartinez1660

TrenttonY

macrumors 65816
Nov 14, 2012
1,050
975
You forgot Top Sites.

But, really, Favorites are just a special folder inside Bookmarks.

So it's more Bookmarks, Reading List, and Tab Groups, and all three of those are different flows:

  • Bookmarks are the old-school thing for permanent archival. (Speaking of, it'd be nice if future browsers integrated that into the Internet Archive, maybe? Like, automatically submit such a URL for archival, and also automatically map the URL if the original site goes down?)
  • Reading List, like Instapaper and Pocket (née Read It Later), is really more of a "I can't get to this right now and also, don't clutter my tabs with this". It's probably not something you want permanently stored. More of a queue.
  • Tab Groups are an interesting thing. I find that I accumulate a lot of tabs on my iPhone, because really, what they are is ad-hoc bookmarks. And also, I find that they lack metadata. Sometimes, I rearrange them so they're at least adjacent. Grouping them and making them appear on other machines as well sounds like a great improvement on that flow. Looking for gift ideas? Open a bunch of tabs on device A. Don't have it with you but thought of another idea? Add it on device B. Get back to A, and it's right there, in the group.
I think all of these accommodate real-world workflows, and I'm happy they exist.
Tab Groups seem to just be Bookmark Folders, which already exist.
 
  • Like
Reactions: nrose101

Molcroft

macrumors member
Feb 13, 2016
71
35
UK
I really enjoy the tab groups, but I guess that's because how I use Safari. Only gripe I have with it is how you reload a page in a tab group in Safari on macOS Monterey, it's a bit clunky but we're only on beta 1.
 
  • Like
Reactions: mattopotamus

JosephAW

macrumors 601
May 14, 2012
4,743
5,853
Brave have been doing this for some time. Just swipe on the number in the square left or right. :D
 
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.