Apple gives the people what they want: their old Safari tab design back

The latest macOS and iOS betas address a common complaint about the new Safari.


The third developer betas for iOS 15, iPadOS 15 and macOS Monterey started rolling out today, and key among the changes they bring is a set of updates to Apple's browser. Safari is getting some design updates, including easier access to reloading, sharing and Tab Groups in macOS Monterey, as well as improved navigation features in iOS 15.

One of the changes in the macOS Monterey beta that we didn't like was the removal of the tabs bar. Senior editor Devindra Hardawar pointed out that while the new menu in its place allowed Apple to devote more screen space to website content, it made sorting through your tabs messy and tedious. With today's beta release, though, Apple's brought back the standalone Tab bar, which will be enabled by default, like it was on Big Sur.

In addition, you'll also get one-click access to controls including Reload and Sharing, as well as access to new features like Tab Groups from the toolbar. If you liked the thin menu that gave you more space for browsing, you can still adopt it, and Apple's refined this to make it easier to see page titles while you rack up more tabs.

These changes will also come to iPadOS in a future beta update, which is nice since deputy editor Nathan Ingraham also criticized the removal of the tab bar in our preview.

On iOS 15, Apple's tweaked Safari to make it easier to use with one hand. When you're entering a search, the field will now appear on top of the keyboard so it's nearer the bottom of the screen, making it easier to edit your query. When you're done typing, you can dismiss the keyboard by swiping down on it. Apple also added a Reload option to the long-press menu on the left side of the tab bar.

If you haven't already, you can enroll in Apple's beta program to check these previews out for yourself. But be warned, you'll need to be sure you want to risk running potentially unstable software. If you can't wait a bit longer for the stable release, make sure you back up your data before installing the updates. You can find out how to do so here.