How to use Safari for iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

Apple's web browser, Safari now includes a new, unified address and search bar that's smarter than ever, a new rolodex-like tab interface on the iPhone, an easier-to-access Private browsing mode, a much-improved Reading List with continuous scrolling between articles, and a similar Shared Links list that surfaces great stuff from the people we follow. Then there's iCloud Keychain, a simple way to generate, store, fill, and sync passwords, and use credit cards, between all your Apple devices. Finding it all, never mind figuring it all out, can take a little time. That's why we make ultimate guides, and why we made this ultimate guide to Safari!

How to find web pages, bookmarks, history, and 'on this page' with smart search in iOS 7 Safari

How to find web pages, bookmarks, history, and 'on this page' with smart search in iOS 7 Safari

With iOS 7 Apple has brought the unified address and search bar to the Safari web browser. That means not only can you type in the names of your favorite web sites and get taken right to them, directly, but you can type in any terms you like and get back search results from Google, including top results, standard results, history and bookmark results, and even results from the text of the page you're currently on. Because some things have moved around, and it's more tightly packed then ever, it can take some getting used to. But, once you're familiar with it, the unified smart search field should prove faster and more efficient than ever.

How to use private browsing in iOS 7 Safari

How to use private browsing in iOS 7 Safari

By default, Safari saves any webpage you visit to you browser history, and makes them available to all your other Apple devices via iCloud Tabs. If for any reason you don't want certain sites you visit to get saved to history or made available to iCloud Tabs - we don't judge! - you can quickly and easily enter Private Browsing mode. Switching to Private Browsing mode will also prevent websites from tracking you with cookies, and autofill from saving or completing any of your personal data. What's more, iOS 7 makes it easier to access than ever before.

How to quickly close all iOS 7 Safari tabs in just a few taps

How to close all open Safari tabs in just a few taps in iOS 7

Safari for iOS 7 allows you to keep up to two-dozen or more tabs open at the same time. That's fantastic... until you want to close them all and quickly. Then you're either touching-and-flinging cards (iPhone and iPod touch) or tapping little X icons, over and over and over again. Luckily, there's a great work-around that lets you close all the tabs you have, all at once. Here's how!

How to access iCloud Tabs in iOS 7 Safari for iPhone

How to access iCloud Tabs on iPhone in iOS 7

iCloud Tabs let you quickly and easily access web pages that you've already opened in Safari on your other Apple devices, be they other iPhones, iPod touches, iPads, or Macs. That's right, any and every other Apple device you own, if it's logged into iCloud with the same Apple ID, will automatically share its tabs with every other device. (Tabs created in Private Browsing mode are excluded, of course - Apple doesn't judge!) While this isn't a new feature, and works pretty much the same on Mac and iPad as it did previously, for iPhone and iPod touch, the way you access iCloud Tabs has changed in iOS 7. Here's how it's done now!

How to set up and use Reading Lists in iOS 7 Safari

How to set up and start using Reading Lists in iOS 7 Safari

Reading Lists is Apple's own take on a read-it-later service. Built right into the Safari browser, you can save any webpage you find interesting but just don't happen to have time for at the moment. Then, you can come back when you're ready, and find all your saved items, all in one convenient place. Because Reading Lists sync, you can also save things from your iPhone on the go, then read them at home later on your iPad, or stack up a bunch of articles from your Mac, then read them while you're waiting in line on your iPhone. It's not as powerful as some App Store alternatives, but it's built right in, and that makes it incredibly convenient.

How to use the Shared Links in iOS 7 Safari

How to use the Shared Links feature in iOS 7 Safari

Shared Links are new to iOS 7. With them, you can see a list of all the links shared by everyone you follow on Twitter, all in one convenient place inside Safari. Think of it as a Reading List populated by people you find interesting. It's a great place to go if you have time and are looking for something serendipitous to read, but you have to know where to look if you want to find it.

How to restrict Safari with parental controls for iPhone and iPad

How to use parental controls on iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide

With Parental Control restrictions you can turn off any features you don't want your kids accessing without your supervision. That includes disabling access to Safari, Camera, FaceTime, Siri, AirDrop, CarPlay, and more. With those restrictions in place, you won't have to worry about your kids seeing web pages, taking pictures, making video calls, performing voice commands, sending information, or controlling the car that you'd really rather they didn't.

How to block adult websites and other pages in iOS 7 Safari

How to block specific websites from being accessed with Safari for iPhone and iPad

If you have children with iPhones, iPod touches, or iPads, or who frequently use yours, and you want to control the type of content they can access when browsing the web in Safari, you're in luck - iOS 7 lets you do just that. Whether you want to try an automatically limit all adult content to prevent a child from accidentally hitting a link they shouldn't, blacklist specific websites, or shut off all sites except for the ones you specifically whitelist, you'll find everything you need right in Settings and Restrictions. Here's how to set up your parental controls!

How to block cookies and stop websites from tracking you in iOS 7 Safari

How to block cookies and stop websites from tracking your browsing activity in iOS 7 Safari

The Do Not Track policy exists to prevent social networks, analytics, and online advertising from following you around the internet and recording your browsing patterns. Browsers that respect Do Not Track - like Apple's Safari - and websites that respect it, will allow you to surf the web in peace and privacy. Cookies - the way many sites and networks identify and track you - can likewise be blocked in several ways, including just those used by advertisers and third parties, and completely.

How to clear history and cookies in iOS 7 Safari

How to clear history and cookies from iOS 7 Safari

Whenever you visit a webpage using the Safari web browser, it gets recorded in you browser history so you can more easily go back and find that page again should you want to. Likewise, cookies get stored to persist things like logins and other information. If you don't want a particular page recorded in your history or cookies (we don't judge!) you can always use Private browsing mode. If you forget, however, iOS 7 lets you quickly and easily clear your history and cookies, and start over fresh and clean.

How to clear stored website data in iOS 7 Safari

How to clear stored website data in iOS 7 Safari

Safari, like all modern web browsers, caches data locally not only to speed up access to frequently visited sites, but to let data persist for web apps - including sites like - so they can perform more like native apps. However, not only can the stored data build up over time, it can contain private information, or even reveal the names of websites you visit, that you might not want found on your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad (hey, we don't judge!). Luckily, iOS 7 lets you quickly and easily delete this information - once you know where to look!

How to get more help with iOS 7

If you have additional questions, or need some more help with Safari or iOS 7, check out the following resources!

Have something to say about this story? Leave a comment! Need help with something else? Ask in our forums!

Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

How to use Safari for iPhone and iPad: The ultimate guide


Yup. This Safari guide [snicker] is quite comprehensive and the video is stylishly and informatively fantastic. The only thing you didn't cover in the video to make it even more comprehensive is Safari's many settings and Siri controls.
Well done Rene & crew! You too Ally, I know you've been writing Safari helpful how-tos.

Sent from the iMore App

Why is blacklisted? There's no adult content on there not suitable for kids. Oh wait... my Sexy and I Know it video. Well played sir, well played.

You guys [& gals] are hilarious! I love seeing this kind of fun between the Mobile Nations family.

I wanted to say something about all this, but Becjr beat me to it.
Anyway great video and article WELL DONE!!!

Please forgive me for spoiling your comment(s).
[bows respectfully]

Sent from the iMore App

I have been having an issue with one of the educational sites that my daughter has to use to supplement her school time with that even though I've included it on the approved/allowed site list it still requires my passcode when ever my daughter tries to log in.
Do you think it's something screwy with that site's code that's making Safari think it's an inappropriate site?

Sent from the iMore App

Great comprehensive overview. I apologize if it was here and I missed it, but I do wish something had been said of how Safari on the iPhone operates differently now from how it does on the iPad. Used to, you could have something, video for example, streaming in one tab in Safari and move to other tabs to browse around without the playback stopping. It now only does this on the iPad. I used this to stream TWiT from a Safari tab to my Apple TV and still be able to browse on other tabs. Apparently this is no longer possible, which especially sucks because my iPhone 5S is (supposedly) far more capable/faster than my sluggish iPad 3.
Probably not a common concern, but certainly an example of reduced functionality for apparently no reason. I'm sure no one's ever heard of anything like that from Apple.