Apple has unveiled a totally redesigned Safari with macOS Monterey (same for iOS 15 and iPadOS 15). The sweeping changes are causing some controversy as the first testers try out the beta. Let’s take a look at what’s changed, what’s new, and how Safari looks and works in macOS Monterey.
The first thing that catches your eye with Safari in macOS Monterey is a revamped, minimalist tab design that merges the tab bar with the search / tool bar at the top. This is perhaps the aspect that has created the most controversy in the beta of Monterey so far. But for now, at least, it’s possible to revert to the Big Sur Safari tab design.
However, it’s unclear whether the new design will be optional when Monterey officially launches on Mac in the fall. Beyond that, there are new tab groups, new Quick Note functionality, UI and button changes, and more.
Safari in macOS Monterey: what’s new and how it works
The new Safari’s start page looks pretty much the same with your Favorites at the top, followed by Frequent Visits, Privacy Report, and Reading List. Like Safari in Big Sur, you can customize the background image for your start page with a few options included or even your own. You can drag to rearrange the different sections or toggle them on / off.
But what’s new in Safari for macOS Monterey / iOS 15 / iPadOS 15 is that the background images automatically sync across all devices through iCloud. You also have the new option “Use start page on all devices” and a checkbox to enable / disable iCloud tabs for the start page.
You can head to the lower right corner to customize your start page including the background image.
New unified Safari tab / search / toolbar
Okay, the elephant on the tab bar in the room. By default, it’s very minimal with just four buttons: Sidebar / Tab Groups, Previous / Next and New Tab + Icon (no share button or even page reload in the toolbar).
Just like Safari in Big Sur, you can right-click at the top to customize the new unified tab / search / toolbar with more buttons (or in the menu bar, click View> Customize Bar tools).
Here’s a rundown of what’s available:
Anything related to customizing Big Sur’s Safari toolbar is not available in Monterey. Very notably, the share button to share, mark and add web pages to your reading list is no longer available to add directly to the toolbar.
Instead, he lives behind the … icon in the URL / search bar. This is also where the page reload button has been moved:
Using tabs and tab groups in the new Safari
Here’s what opening a new tab looks like with at least one webpage already open:
And here is the new Safari in macOS Monterey with 7 tabs:
You can drag tabs or URL / search bar left to pin tab / open page. However, the mechanics seem a bit clunky for now compared to Big Sur.
With the new Sidebar / Tab Groups button, click the drop-down arrow to display saved tab groups or create new ones:
Create quick notes
Quick Notes are new for macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15. There are several ways to use the feature with the new Safari.
You can click the three dot icon in the URL / Search bar> Create Quick Note. Or, when you highlight text on a web page and right click, you can choose New Quick Note or Add to Quick Note.
Safari in macOS Monterey summary
Have you tested the new Safari in macOS Monterey? Or did you just take a closer look during WWDC and coverage like that? What do you think of the changes? Share your thoughts in our poll and comments below!
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