Apple comes up with wonderful new features in every release of iOS. However, the default favorites appearing (introduced in iOS 12) in the Safari browser is sometimes embarrassing to work with. These defaults sites vary from Apple, iCloud, ESPN, Disney, Google, Yahoo!, etc., based on your registered country. Here is a simple article explaining step by step process of how to remove the default favorites and add your own in iPhone Safari browser. Check out other articles on removing thumbnails from Chrome, Firefox and Mac Safari.
Update for Latest iOS Version
If you are using iOS 16 or later, the home page of Safari is called Start page. By default, you will see the sections for Favorites, Frequently Visited, Reading List and tabs from other devices. Each section will show thumbnails or list of websites. There are few ways to remove the items completely or disable the unwanted sections in Start page.
- Deleting single site – simply press and hold the site icon to view the list of menu items. After that, select “Delete” from the menu to remove the site appears in the Start page.
- Deleting History – you can delete the browsing history to remove all the site icons appearing in “Frequently Visited” section.
- Disabling Sections – if you want to disable a section on your Start page, scroll down and tap on “Edit” button. On the pop-up that appears, turn off the switch against the sections you want to remove.
Follow the below instructions if you still using older iOS version or old model of iPhone though some options still work the same way.
Remove Default Favorites Icons in Safari iPhone
By default, Safari browser on your iPhone and iPad will show the favorites like below:
Press and Delete
Apple made deleting these Safari favorites simple from iOS 8 onwards. Just press the icon till it expands and release it to see the “Delete” and “Edit” options. Touch “Delete” to remove that icon from your favorites list.
If you want to edit the favorite name and URL, tap on the ‘Edit’ option and modify the details. Tap on the ‘Favorites’ location to change the location to ‘Bookmarks’ or save the link inside a ‘New Folder’.
Deleting Favorites Through Bookmarks
If press and delete method not works for any reason then don’t worry. There is another long method to remove those favorites from the home screen. In order to delete these favorites, tap on the Bookmark icon like open book at the bottom of Safari. If you have landscape mode or on iPad the bookmarks icon will show on the top of the browser.
Go to the first ‘Bookmarks’ tab and then tap on ‘Favorites’ option. Here you will see the list of all bookmarked favorites on your browser. Tap on the ‘Edit’ button shown in the lower right corner.
You can see a red minus symbol against each favorite item and click on the minus symbol to see the Delete option. You need to delete all favorites one by one and there is no option to delete all favorites at a time. You also have an option to move your favorites up or down to change the order of display.
Otherwise, simply swipe the favorite option to left to view the ‘Delete’ option.
Adding a New Favorite
Open the website which you want to add it to your favorites. Click on the ‘Share’ icon and select ‘Add Bookmark’ option from the list.
Enter the details and choose the location to save your favorite link. Once you have bookmarked the page, it will automatically be shown under Favorites and on the Home screen of your browser.
Note: In earlier iOS version 7, you can show or hide the favorites bar by clicking on the ‘Settings’ icon in the iPhone / iPad home screen and navigating to “Show Favorites Bar” under Safari. But this will only hide or show the favorites bar in the browser and will not delete the default favorites. Also this option is removed in later iOS versions.
Remove Thumbnails from iOS Safari
The biggest problem in showing thumbnails when you open the browser is that someone can accidentally see the browser on your iPhone or iPad. you also may feel this affects your privacy especially when sharing the devices among family or with others. But deleting default favorites will remove the links completely which will stop you accessing the sites quickly. The correct way is to only remove those annoying thumbnails from the home and new tab pages without deleting them from favorites.
Creating Empty Favorites Folder
Safari on your iPhone and iPad will show the thumbnails on new tab pages from favorites. Unfortunately we could not find any settings to hide the favorites from the new tab pages. So you need to follow some trick by creating an empty folder under favorite and assign that as your favorite. Since there are no websites in the empty folder, home and new tab pages will show a empty blank page while you can still have all favorites under ‘Favorites’ folder.
- Open Safari and tap on the ‘Bookmarks’ icon.
- Go to ‘Bookmarks’ tab and then tap ‘Favorites’ section.
- Tap ‘Edit’ link and then tap ‘New Folder’ in the bottom left.
- Enter the name of the folder as ‘Empty’ and press ‘Done’ from the keyboard.
This will create an ‘Empty’ folder insider ‘Favorites’ folder.
Assigning Empty Folder as Favorites
The next step is to assign the empty folder to show as favorite on home and new tab pages.
- Tap on ‘Settings’ app on the dock.
- Swipe down and search for ‘Safari’ app.
- Under ‘General’ sections, you will see favorites will show as ‘Favorites’ folder.
- Tap on favorites and choose the empty folder.
Close settings and open Safari. You will see a blank empty page, tap on open new tab icon and create a new tab page. It will also show a blank page without any annoying icons.
The delete thumbnail advice above doesn’t work. When I press and hold it just shows a preview of the web page. Let go and the preview disappears but nothing else happens. No option to delete. Pressing harder launches it in a new window.