7 On iOS 7: Safari Tips for iPhone and iPad

There are hundreds of new features in iOS 7, not to mention the entirely new interface. We dug deeper into everyone’s favorite browser to see what’s new, what’s improved and how you can get more from your browsing experience. It’s our iOS 7 Safari tips for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, part of our ongoing 7 on iOS 7 series.

ios 7 safari tips

1. Private Browsing

Are you surfing on a shared iPad or iPhone? Do you have Safari bookmarks syncing through iCloud, so your recent history shows up on all of your iOS devices? There are all sorts of reasons why individuals want to keep some of their browsing history private. Google’s Chrome browser offers the ‘Incognito Mode’ and now Safari in iOS 7 gets a similar feature.

Tap on the card view icon to bring up your open pages. Instead of selecting the ‘+’ sign, select ‘Private’. Safari will ask i if you like to close all of your existing pages before turn on Private Browsing. The browser menu bar at the top of your screen, typically white and gray, will now turn a dark shade of gray. This means you are in Private Browsing mode. If you move to an iPad, iPod touch or different iOS device, the websites you visit while this is enabled will not appear.

Private browsing iOS 7

The Private Browsing features works slightly different than Google’s incognito mode. When you enter Private Browsing, all windows (websites) become private. For example, if you have two websites open (Disney, not-Disney), they are both private. To disable private browsing, enter card view and tap on ‘Private’. Apple hasn’t done a great job with making it clear as to which mode is which. Here’s a screenshot with an example of each. Notice the slight highlighting when Private is on.

Private browsing Safari

2. Address Bar Is The New Search

Hey, where did my search bar go? Don’t worry, your iPhone doesn’t have some odd iOS 7 bug. Apple has done away with the Safari search bar that existing pre-iOS 7. The address bar now occupies the entire width of the screen, but it also performs double-duty. As you know, you can enter full website addresses in the format www.everythingicafe.com. If you enter ‘everythingcafe’, Safari will present you with options and who doesn’t love options? You can select from the ‘Top Hit’, Google Search and if available, related pages or sites that are in your bookmarks. If you press the ‘Go’ button on the keyboard, Safari will search Google.

Safari search

Tip: If your a Bing or Yahoo type of person, you can change the default search engine. Navigate to Settings > Safari > Search Engine > Select your preferred search engine.

3. Favorites On Every New Window

In iOS 7, every time that you add a new browser window to enter an address, search or create a new tab, you’ll see a collection of icons that represent bookmarks below. You can change this group by selecting a folder of bookmarks.

  1. Navigate to Settings > Safari > Favorites
  2. Tap on the folder that contains your favorite bookmarks

Set favorites

Now when you open a new Safari window, it makes it easier to access any of your favorites. A single tap will bring up the website.

4. Move and sort favorites

Okay, so we just selected a personal folder of bookmarks that we’ve dubbed our favorites. Let’s say you’ve got 30 or so bookmarks, but they aren’t necessarily in the proper order of importance. Tap and hold any of the bookmarks to drag further up the food chain. Now the favorites among your favorites will rise to the top.

Sort favorites iOS 7

5. Share a web page using AirDrop

With AirDrop, it’s easier than ever to share a webpage with someone on your home network. Both iOS devices need to have AirDrop enabled. This is done through Control Center. Tap on the share icon (page with up arrow) to reveal sharing options. In a second or two, you’ll see images of those who are eligible to receive an AirDrop.

Share website AirDrop

Tap on the person and they will get an instant notification. When they accept it, it will launch the webpage within Safari on their iOS device. It’s fast, easy and a great way to share websites between iOS devices.

Shared page iPad mini

6. Navigate Faster

Swipe left to right to quickly go back to previous page or right to left to progress to a newer page. The motion is a quick swipe across the length of the screen, so edge to edge. It can be tricky, but it’s a much faster way to navigate and you can avoid having to use the navigation arrows at the bottom.

7. Browse websites mentioned in your Twitter feed

Despite a limit of 140 characters, Twitter provides some great content. Not just tweets or photos, but links to articles and websites. People usually select followers based upon their interest, so it would stand to reason that these folks would also share interesting web content. If you have a large follower list, some of these pages can get lost in your timeline. Safari in iOS 7 pulls all of the links from your Twitter feed and compiles them into an easy-to-browse list.

  1. Tap on the Bookmarks icon
  2. Tap on the ‘@’ symbol
  3. You’ll see a list of tweets, all of which have links to external websites (outside of Twitter). Tap on any to bring up a site. The person who tweeted the original content will appear at the top, just below the address bar.

Twitter bookmarks

Slide your finger in the up motion as you would normally to read an article. When you reach the bottom, you’ll see a preview of the next webpage shared by someone you follow on Twitter.

Twitter websites Safari

Apple’s Safari browser continues to evolve with iOS 7. The new simplified user interface helps keep the focus on what matters most, your content. For the most part, the interface remains similar to what we had in iOS 6, but there are certainly some features that are welcome additions. It offers improved privacy, faster navigation and easier access to content in the form of bookmarks and even recent links shared by people you follow on Twitter. In the coming weeks, Apple will support iCloud Keychain, so all of your passwords, credit card information and more can be stored in iOS 7.

Do you have a tip for users not mentioned? Please use the comments section or our iOS 7 forums to share with our community.