Safari App: The Ultimate Guide

How to use browser tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad
How to use browser tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Apple's web browser, Safari, keeps getting faster and better. It sports a smart search bar, tabs, and a special Split View version for iPad users. You can view Shared Links and add articles to your Reading List, or access your saved passwords and credit cards through iCloud Keychain. And you can pay for goods and services using Apple Pay, the company's secure contactless payment system.

If you've been curious about making the most of Safari, here's everything you need to know.

How to find web pages, bookmarks, history, and search page content in Safari on iPhone and iPad

The Smart Search bar is a hybrid of the old address and search bars melded into one universal place to type and go. You can access your default search provider, your browsing history, saved bookmarks, and even specific words on web pages all through the unified Smart Search bar at the top of your Safari browsing window.

How to use private browsing and tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Tabs in Safari lets you keep multiple web pages open at the same time so you can switch between them or refer back to them whenever you want to. You can open links in new tabs so you don't lose what you're currently surfing, and you can even go into Private mode so nothing you search for or navigate to can come back to haunt you.

How to use Bookmarks and Reading List in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Reading List is Apple's take on a read-it-later service: Built into the Safari browser for iPhone and iPad, Reading List let you save any articles you stumble across while browsing the web for offline viewing; you can then go back and peruse them at your convenience. Bookmarks, in contrast, aren't available offline, but can be added to your Favorites bar for easy repeat access. Because both Reading List and Bookmarks sync via iCloud, your links and stories are available while you're on the go with your iPhone, lounging at home with your iPad, or while you're enjoying a coffee at your Mac. Here's how to use them.

Shared Links let you make a custom feed right inside the iPhone and iPad's built-in web browser, Safari. You can add social accounts and your favorite websites to your Shared Links tab and get all the content that matters to you in one convenient place.

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

If you've recently noticed that some advertisements you receive within apps seem oddly similar to something you've just been reading about or a game you've just started playing, it's not because Siri is listening in on your conversations or because your iPhone has gained self-awareness. It's because you have ad tracking on your iPhone. 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 — will allow you to surf the web in peace and privacy.

How to block ads in Safari

The Web has gotten messy. Whether it's ads, social widgets, or spoilers you want to avoid, you can make it a little less distracting by downloading and enabling content blocker widgets. Here's how to do so on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

How to clear history and cookies in Safari

Whenever you visit a webpage using the Safari web browser, it gets recorded in your browser history so you can more easily go back and find that page again should you want to. Likewise, cookies get stored to make logins and other information easily available to you. 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, you can quickly and easily clear your history and cookies and start over.

If you're worried about the safety of your kids while browsing online, we also offer a guide on setting up parental controls to block potentially nasty websites from young eyes.

Any Safari questions?

Any tips we missed or any other questions about Safari on iPhone or iPad? Drop them in the comments below!

Rene Ritchie

Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.