A short collection of Safari tips for iPhones, iPad

If you use an iPad or iPhone, then you probably use Safari and may not have come across all of these.

Apple, iPhone, iPad, iOS, mobile
Apple / Gerd Altmann (CC0)

If you use an iPad or iPhone, then you probably use Safari and may not have come across all of these.

A little Safari history

Safari was introduced at Macworld San Francisco in 2003 by Steve Jobs who modestly claimed it to be the “First major new browser in five years,” which it sort of was, and sort of wasn’t.

Three times faster than Internet Explorer for Mac, Safari included a range of enhancements that were at the time quite new, such as integrated search.

It began life as a Mac-only product, was available to Windows users between 2007-2012, and was a key part of the iPhone announcement in 2007, when Jobs exultantly called it “The first fully usable HTML browser on a phone,” which was completely true.

So now you have a little Safari history, here's the tips: 

We all know: Request Desktop Site

There are still lots of websites that want to give you mobile versions of the site when you visit them in Safari – they obviously didn’t get the Steve Jobs ‘proper browser’ memo all those years ago. Don’t worry, you can make the full site load – just long press the arrowed circle in the search bar and select Request Desktop Site when it appears.

Long press everywhere

Long press any of the buttons (except Share) at the bottom of the Safari window and you’ll find useful options – for example, long pressing Bookmark lets you bookmark the current page or send it to your Reading List.

Long press links on a page

Long press any link on a Safari page and gently swipe up. You’ll get a range of options including opening he site, adding it to Reading List, copying and sharing the URL.

Long press the Safari icon

Long press the Safari icon on your Home screen and you can open a new tab or private tab, show your bookmarks or get to your Reading List.

Take command of tabs

Tap the tab icon at the bottom right of Safari to get to the carousel view of open tabs and you can tap the + button there to open up any previously closed tabs.

Tap and hold (good old long press) the tab icon to find controls to close all your tabs, create a new private or normal tab and/or close the current tab.

Find a tab

While in the tabs browser carousel view turn your iPhone into landscape view to get to the tab search bar to find specific tabs by name and content.

Three ways to find something on a web page

When on a website there are three ways to find a specific word or phrase on the page:

  1. Read through every word till you find it (long, wrong).
  2. Type the word/phrase in your search bar while on the page, then scroll down the suggested results to get to On This Page right at the bottom (good but sometimes you tap in the wrong place).
  3. This is the one most of us don’t use – tap the Share menu then scroll through the bottom row of options to find the magnifying glass icon to Find on Page. Enter your term and it will be shown to you. (Fast, effective).

Why not use Reader View?

While not every site supports it, most of us know to tap the four lines to the left of the URL title in the search bar to enter Reader View, which makes the page much easier to read.

However, long press the icon and you get additional options: to set Reader View so the site always opens in that view, or to set it so it works on every website you visit – just tap the Reader View icon to return to normal view.

Long press Bookmark to send to Reading List

Long press the Bookmark icon to Bookmark the current site or add it to your Reading List. This is faster than the Share icon.

Reading list offline

Check Settings>Safari and ensure that in the Reading List section you have ‘Automatically Save Offline’ checked. Now any items you choose to add to your Reading List will be available when you are online.

Save the web page as a PDF

On a page and want to save the content? Tap Share and you can add it to Notes or iBooks, or tap Share>Print to get to the Printer Options page where you must select a printer -- except: Don’t select a printer, instead pinch out on the image preview to open the page as a PDF. Now you have a PDF you can save, share and more.

How to choose the right URL suffix

Typing a URL in Safari? Gently press the full stop and you’ll be rewarded with a bunch of URL suffixes you can quickly place.

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