Ipados 15 Compact Tab Bar SafariSource: Adam Oram / iMore

There are some pretty significant changes to Safari in iPadOS 15, and you can further customize your experience with a few hidden-away settings relating to the Tab Bar. Here's how you can change iPadOS 15 tab behavior.

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 in iPadOS 15: Separate or Compact.

Separate takes up more space but offers a more familiar-looking appearance with the address bar displayed above your open tabs.

Compact takes up less space by having your currently viewed tab act as an address bar, meaning you can get more content on screen. Compact also matches the Tab Bar's color to the site you are viewing, effectively extending the page to the edge of your iPad's screen.

  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 didn't like it, you can tap Separate Tab Bar to return to the old way of doing things.

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 change this setting to Manually to take total control.

All the tabs

If you want the very best iPad experience, the above power-user features are well worth knowing about. Though hidden away in the Settings app, these little tweaks can help you customize your Safari experience to suit your needs and preferences.

Updated April 2022: Updated for iPadOS 15.