Ipados 15 Compact Tab Bar SafariSource: Adam Oram / iMore

There are some pretty big changes to Safari in iPadOS 15, and you can further customize your experience with a few hidden-away settings relating to the Tab Bar. If you want the very best iPad experience, these power-user features are well worth knowing about. Here's how you can change iPadOS 15 tab behavior.

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, iPadOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas. While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

How to switch to a Compact Tab Bar in Safari for iPadOS 15

You have a couple of options when it comes to your Tab Bar's appearance: Separate or Compact.

Separate takes up more space but offers a more familiar-looking appearance with the address bar displayed above your open tabs. As the name suggests, Compact takes up less space by having your currently viewed tab act as an address bar, meaning you can get more content on screen.

VPN Deals: Lifetime license for $16, monthly plans at $1 & more

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. In the sidebar, scroll down and tap Safari.

    How to switch to a Compact Tab Bar: Open Settings, Tap Safari in the sidebarSource: iMore

  3. Scroll down and tap Compact Tab Bar.

    How to switch to a Compact Tab Bar: Select Compact Tab BarSource: iMore

If you already have Compact Tab Bar selected and don't like it, you can tap Separate Tab Bar to return to the old way of doing things.

How to show color in the Tab Bar in Safari for iPadOS 15

Safari in iPadOS 15 can match the Tab Bar's color to the site you are viewing, effectively extending the page to the edge of your iPad's screen. It looks pretty cool for some sites, though you can choose whether or not to have it turned on.

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. In the sidebar, scroll down and tap Safari.

    How to show color in the Tab Bar: Open Settings, Tap Safari in the sidebarSource: iMore

  3. Scroll down and toggle Show Color in Tab Bar to On.

    How to show color in the Tab Bar: Toggle Show Color in Tab Bar to OnSource: iMore

If you prefer your Tab Bar to remain neutral, you can turn this toggle off.

How to set new tabs to open in the background in Safari for iPadOS 15

This feature was already present in earlier versions of iPadOS, but it's another way to fine-tune your Safari experience to your liking in iPadOS 15.

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. In the sidebar, scroll down and tap Safari.

    How to set new tabs to open in the background in Safari: Open Settings, Tap Safari in the sidebarSource: iMore

  3. Scroll down and toggle Open New Tabs in Background to On.

    How to set new tabs to open in the background in Safari: Toggle Open New Tabs in Background to OnSource: iMore

Want every new tab that you open to be front-and-center? Then, set this toggle to the off position.

How to have Safari close tabs automatically in iPadOS 15

If you find your iPad soon becomes an unmanageable mess of open tabs, you can have Safari take the hassle out of cleaning that up for you with tabs that close automatically after going unviewed for a set period of time.

  1. Open your Settings app.
  2. In the sidebar, scroll down and tap Safari.

    How to have Safari close tabs automatically: Open Settings, Tap Safari in the sidebarSource: iMore

  3. Tap on Close Tabs.
  4. Select your preferred timeframe.

    How to have Safari close tabs automatically: Tap Close Tabs, Select your prefered timeframe form the listSource: iMore

If you don't want your tabs to close automatically, you can set this setting manually to take total control.

Any questions?

Do you have any questions about Safari tab behavior? Leave a comment below.

We may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more.