The 30 Best Safari Tips for your iPhone and iPad

BY Osas Obaizamomwan

Published 1 Dec 2015

I can barely remember a time where the answer to any question wasn’t available from the palm of my hand. With our iPhones and iPads the frustration in not knowing the answer to a question is all but eliminated. A mobile browser like iOS’s Safari can have an answer for you in seconds. But how would you answer this question? “What are some of the top tips and tricks for my mobile Safari?” Well, let’s find the answer to that by reading this intensive iOS Safari tip list. 

The Best Safari Tips for iPhone and iPad

1. Request Desktop Site

Sometimes the mobile version of a site just doesn’t cut it. Apple realized that, and added the option to “Request Desktop Site.” While the desktop versions of sites may not be as streamed as the mobile version, they can be more familiar and contain more information on a single page. To find the option in iOS 9, tap on hold the Refresh icon and select Request Desktop Site from that lower menu.

Request Desktop Site - iOS 9

2. Recently Closed Tabs

I used to accidentally close tabs all the time on my computer. Before there was the “recently closed tab” shortcut, an accidental tab close was a real pain in the ass. While it is a little more difficult to accidentally close a tab in iOS Safari, finding a recent tab is still pretty useful.

Viewing Recently Closed Tabs

If you want to view all of your recently closed tabs, tap the Tab icon, followed by holding the + icon. This will bring you to the Recently Closed Tabs list. Click on any link in the list and you’ll be right back where you left.

Closed Tabs - Safari

3. Enable Ad-blockers

It’ll be hard to find many people who enjoy mobile advertisements. That’s why I was happy and surprised to hear that Apple was allowing ad-blockers for Safari on most iOS 9 compatible devices.  

How to Enable Ad-blockers

Open the App Store and download a content blocker of your choice. We have listed a few of them for you here. When you have installed a content blocker of your choice, go to Settings -> Safari -> Content Blockers and enable the blocker you just installed.

iOS 9 Safari content blockers

4. Going Private

No, Private browsing isn’t only for NSFW content. Safari’s private browsing feature protects private information and blocks some sites from tracking your behavior. When in Private browsing, Safari won’t remember the pages you visit, your search history, or your AutoFill information.

To enable Private browsing open a new page and select Private in the bottom menu. You’ll know you’re in private mode when the Safari border turns gray.

Private Mode - Safari

5. Change Search Engine

You can change the search engine of Safari in the settings. Go to Settings -> Safari and under Search you’ll see Search Engine. The default is Google, but you can choose between Google, Yahoo, Bing (haha), and DuckDuckGo.

Search Engine - Safari

6. Find in Page

The search bar doesn’t only search for website ion Safari. You can actually search the page you are on, similar to the command/control + F command on your computer. You will be taken off your current page when you type in a search in the search bar, but Safari will remember your current page and still search it. Click on the line under the On This Page section to go to the page with the search results.

Find Page

7. Smart Search

Safari has a built-in smart search feature that tries to find you the most relevant links and searches based upon the text you enter in the search field. There is nothing you need to set up. Simply type in an URL, phrase, or word and Smart Search will show you the relevant internet information it can find.

Smart Search - Safari

8. Swipe to Go Back and Forward

Instead of tapping on the back button in the bottom menu. You can slide your finger from right <- to left to go forward and left -> to right to go back between pages. Since the bottom menu isn’t always visible this is a cool and faster way to move from page to page.

Swipe - Safari

9. Enable Reader View

If you read a lot of articles and text on your mobile device it can be a very distracting and straining environment. With numerous banner ads and embedded videos, reading an online article can’t be pretty annoying. With Reader View, Safari clears all items from the page besides the text and corresponding images. It’s a much cleaner and easier to read webpage.

To enable reader view tap on the Reader icon in the left corner of the search bar. Not all pages have the ability to go into Reader View.

Reader View - Enable Options

10. Offline Reading

If you find a really good article you don’t have to read it then and there. And better yet you can read it later with the need to be online. To add a page to your Reading List, tap the Share sheet icon in the toolbar and tap Add to Reading List.

Reading List

11. Quickly Add Favorites

To add a page to your Favorites List, tap the Share sheet icon in the toolbar and tap Add to Favorites. Favorite sites can be accessed from the opening page of a Safari window. Favorites are also shared across devices if iCloud Sync is enabled. You can also rearrange the icons by long pressing any one of them, and dragging it to the position you want. If you have a 3D touch device, remember that you don’t press any more. Just hold your finger on the icon for a second or so to enter toggle mode.

Add - Favs

12. Peek and Pop

From the Favorites page or any time there is a link shared with you, you can Peek at it without heading into the website. This is a 3D, iPhone 6s and 6s plus exclusive feature, but it pretty cool nonetheless. Simply press into the link to preview it, and press in deeper to “pop” into the webpage.

Peek - Safari

13. Quick Web Domain Extensions

Instead of typing .com or .org every time you can use the shortcut on the keyboard. Whenever you are in the search bar, type your site and tap and hold on the period. This will bring up a short list of common domain extensions.

Domain shortcuts

14. Font Size

To adjust the font for your device you can go to Settings -> General -> Accessibility and make the text larger. If you only want to view larger text when reading a webpage, Safari’s reader view is the ideal choice. Tap on the Reader icon followed by the Text icon. In the Text menu, increase the size of your text by tapping on the larger A.

Reader View - Enable Options

15. Close and Reorder Tabs

Tap the tabs icon to open up all of your current taps in a vertical thumbnails type deal. To close a tab, tap on the X. To move a tab, tap and hold and then drag to your preferred position.

Close and Move - Safari

16. iCloud Tabs

iCloud give you access to the tabs you have open on your Mac or iOS device and vice versa. You can access your iCloud tabs, by scrolling down beyond your local tabs. Click on the link and you’ll be taken to the page.

iCloud - Tabs

17. Full-Screen View

Full-screen view is enabled anytime you’re on a webpage and scrolling or viewing the content. Drag your finger up and the address bar and tool bar will disappear from view, revealing more content on the page.

18. Back to Top

Tap just above the clock to go back to the top of the page. You basically want to hit the clock on your screen. This is save you from endlessly scrolling back up to the beginning of an article.

Back to top - Safari

19. Quickly unhide toolbar and address bar

To bring back the address and toolbar, simply tap on the bottom of the page or slide your finger down.

20. 3D Touch Quick Actions

Tap and press on the Safari app icon to launch the quick actions menu. Again, this is exclusive to the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus – unless you’re jailbroken.

Safari - Quick Actions

21. Quick Launch Private Tabs

From the home screen use 3D touch to jump right into a private browsing tab. This saves you from needing to open Safari, tap the tabs icon, and then tap Private. Nice and easy private browsing in one step.

22. Shared Links

Shared Links shows links shared by people you follow on Twitter. This is a nice way to view content that your may be interested in without having to jump into the Twitter app.

Find the the Shared Links tab by selecting the Bookmarks icon, followed by the @ tab in the main menu. Tapping any of the links will open the page in a new tab, with the tweet displayed at the top for additional context.

Shared Links

You can adjust the tweet feed, by tapping on Subscriptions and changing the Twitter accounts that are enabled.

Subs - Twitter - Safari

23. Restrict websites

You can restrict certain websites from loading in Safari by using parental controls. Go to Settings -> General > Restrictions -> and Allowed Content find Websites and adjust your settings. You’ll need to create a Passcode as well. In the section you can:

  • Blacklist certain websites
  • Allow access to specific websites only
  • Limit Adult Content

Restrictions - Safari

24. Share a page using AirDrop

You can share a URL with people nearby using AirDrop. Tap on the Share sheet in the toolbar at the bottom, followed by AirDrop. Then tap on the Contact from the list to send the URL.

Airdrop - Safari

25. Add a Credit Card

If you shop a bunch on your iPhone or iPad, you can add your credit card information to Safari’s autofill, so that you don’t have to manually fill it again. To enter your credit card info, open Settings and navigate to Safari -> AutoFill -> Saved Credit Cards > Add Credit Card. You can scan a card instead of typing it in as well.

Add Card

26. Scan a Credit Card

If you come across a page where you need credit card information and don’t already have it added to your phone you can actually scan your card information from Safari. Safari will need access to your camera in order to scan your details.

Scan Credit

27. See page load progress of all tabs on iPad

On iPad, Apple utilizes the tab bar to show the page load progress of each of the tabs by using thin blue progress bars. Pretty useful if you open a lot of tabs at once, and don’t want to switch to each one of them, just to view its progress.

28. Recently closed tabs on iPad

If you’ve mistakenly closed a tab, or simply want to open a tab you’ve closed from your last browsing session, just tap and hold the “+” button on the iPad to see a list of all your recently closed tabs.

29. Do Not Track

iPhone and iPad owners can enable the Do Not Track setting on their iOS devices for Safari. The feature limits targeting and tracking of your web browsing behaviors. When enabled, Safari will send DNT requests to each page you visit. While it does send this request out, it does not mean that all of your web browsing moves are not being tracked. Basically, a request can be politely denied.

Do Not Track is enabled by going to Settings -> Safari and toggling it on in the Privacy & Security section.

DNT - Safari

29.5. Clear History and Website Data

Staying with the privacy conversation, you can also clear all your browsing data. This does not mean that the sites you’ve already visited will not have any record of you. This just means that if someone were to find your phone and go into Safari, any past sites or cookies will have been removed.

You can Clear History and Website Data in Settings -> Safari.

30. Access all Passwords

Forgot your Facebook or LinkedIn password and username. No worries. Instead of heaving to reset everything and confirm your new information. You can find all of your passwords and usernames ever stored in Safari by going to Settings -> Safari -> Passwords (enter in your passcode/Touch ID) and a list of sites and will be provided for you. Tap on one to view the password and/or user name.

That’s the list folks. These are 30 of the most relevant and helpful tips for any iPhone, iPad, or iPod owner that uses Safari as their main browser. Let us know what you think should have made the list in the comments.

You may also like to check: