How to Manage Tabs in Safari Browser on Mac?

Safari is the default browser Apple supplies along with the macOS operating system on all Macintosh computers. Similar to Microsoft Edge on Windows 10, you can’t uninstall or delete Safari browser from the Mac. Mac will automatically open webpages in Safari browser. Therefore, you need to forcibly use Safari even you have other browsers like Chrome or Firefox. In such case, it’s a good idea to understand the basics of how to manage tabs in Safari browser to get things done quickly. This will also be useful to manage multiple webpages, pinning important sites and reopening accidentally closed pages.

Remember, this article is about Safari browser on Mac and about Safari browser on iPhone or iPad.

1. Tabs and Windows in Safari

Similar to other browsers, Safari also allows to open new tabs and new windows to manage multiple sessions at a time. When you launch the Safari browser, it will open with the homepage showing top sites or favorites depending upon your preferences settings. Click on the + icon on the top right corner to open a new tab or follow the below shortcut keys to open different types of windows.

  • Command + T – open a new tab
  • Command + N – open a new window
  • Command + Shift + N – open new private window
  • Command + O – open a webpage from Mac

When you have multiple tabs opened, click on the “Show tab overview” icon that will look like a double square icon in the right of the browser. Alternatively, press “Shift + Command + /” shortcut keys. This will give you a thumbnail view of all the pages that you have opened. You can preview the pages and go to the desired page quickly.

Preview Tabs in Safari
Preview Tabs in Safari

If you want to close the tab, hover over and click on x icon that appears on the tab.

2. View Tabs from Other Devices

As you can see in the above screenshot, Safari tab overview is also showing the open tabs on iPhone. You can view all open tabs on all your devices when you are connected to the same network and logged in with the same iCloud account. This is called Handoff continuity feature that helps you to start reading a webpage on one device and continue the same page on another device. Checkout the article that explains how to fix handoff continuity issues between iPhone and Mac.

3. Customizing New Tab and Home Page

By default, Safari will show the top sites you have previously on a new tab page. You can adjust the top sites view to show 6, 12 or 24 under “General” tab of the preferences section. It is also possible to remove or pin individual top sites by hovering over the preview.

Safari General Preferences
Safari General Preferences

4. How to Pin the Sites in Safari?

If you want to pin your favorite site, right click on the site’s tab and click “Pin Tab” option.

Pin Tab in Safari
Pin Tab in Safari

Safari will move the pinned site to the first position in the tabs and show the favicon. You can quickly click the icon to get the updates. Remember, pinned tabs will remain like that even you close and reopen browser. The only way to close the site is to again right click on it and choose “Unpin Tab” option.

Related: How to manage tabs in Google Chrome?

5. Closing and Rearranging Tabs

As you see, right clicking on the tab will show options for you to close that tab as well as close all other open tabs. You can also move the tab to open in a new window.

When you are working with multiple tabs, you can right click on any of the tab and arrange the tabs in the order of title or website name. In addition, you can easily drag and drop the tabs to rearrange the position. However, it is not possible to close the single tab on Safari though you can enable / disable the tab bar from the “View” menu. This means Safari should have at least one tab opened that can show top sites, favorites or a webpage. However, on Chrome, you can close all tabs to keep the browser open with a new tab page which is not possible with Safari.

6. Reopen All Windows from Last Session

Most of the times you want to reopen your last session or at time it may shutdown accidently. In that case, you still have the option to restore your last sessions in Safari.

Click on the “History” menu, then click on “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” option. This will recover all the windows that were open during the last session.

Reopen All Tabs from Previous Session in Safari
Reopen All Tabs from Previous Session in Safari

7. Managing Audio from Tabs

Audio on the websites can be quite annoying when you are not able to control it quickly. Some websites come with audio that plays automatically when you open the site. On other hand, when working with multiple tabs you may want to mute the audio of the site without opening that tab. This is true especially when you are listening to audio on YouTube on one tab and reading the content on another tab.

Mute Audio and Autoplay in Safari
Mute Audio and Autoplay in Safari

Fortunately, Safari has a solution for you. Whenever a site plays audio, Safari will display a speaker symbol on the tab as well as on the address bar. You can simply click on the speaker symbol on the address bar mute or unmute the site. Similarly, use the speaker symbol on the tab to mute or unmute without opening that tab.

You can also right click on the speaker and choose your desired action to allow or block auto playing audio on that site.

Related: Safari tips for improving productivity.

8. Using Private Browsing

Safari by default stores all your browsing history to speed up when you access the same pages next time. It also shows the frequently accessed sites on the top sites list of new tab page. However, if you don’t want Safari to record your browsing history then use private browsing mode. You can open private window by pressing “Command + Shift + N” keys or choosing the option from the “File” menu.

Safari Private Browsing
Safari Private Browsing

In private mode, Safari will automatically delete the search as well as browsing history at the end of each session. You will also see a notification when you open private session.

9. Safari Tab Preferences

When you are in Safari browser, press “Command + ,” shortcut keys or go to “Safari > Preferences…” menu. On the preferences pop-up, navigate to “Tabs” section to manage the tabs preferences for Safari.

Mac Safari Tab Preferences
Mac Safari Tab Preferences
  • Choose whether to open pages in tabs or windows.
  • Enable “Command + Click” to open a link a new tab page.
  • Decide whether to activate the new tab or window when it opens.
  • Use shortcuts “Command + 1” through “Command + 9” to navigate through tabs.
  • Show or hide website icons or favicon on the tabs.

You can also find some useful tips to open links with modifier keys:

  • Command + Click – open link in a new tab, but not active.
  • Command + Shift + Click – open link in a new tab and make it active.
  • Command + Option + Click – open link in a new window, but not active.
  • Command + Option + Shift + Click – open link in a new window and make it active.

Final Words

We hope you have enjoyed reading this article and learnt new things to manage tabs on Safari browser on your Mac. However, we recommend to use the browser with few tabs instead of having may inactive tabs. This will help you to focus on your work as well as allow the browser to work with optimized performance.

Editorial Staff at WebNots are team members who love to build websites and share the learning with webmasters community. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

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