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What's New with the iOS 5 Version of Safari: What You Need to Know About Tabbed Browsing and More

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Best-selling author and avid iPhone/iPad user Jason R. Rich introduces you to the new version of Safari for iOS 5 for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch, and explains some of the web browser’s new and most useful features, including tabbed browsing, Reader, and Reading List.
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The newly revamped version of Safari for iOS 5 offers a handful of new features, making the web surfing experience you'll enjoy on your iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch a faster and more streamlined experience (especially if you're using it with a 4G or wi-fi Internet connection).

While Safari for iOS 5 still doesn't support Adobe Flash (and probably never will), you can still have a complete web surfing experience from your iOS device. If you've upgraded from an older version of the iOS operating system, you'll discover some significant changes to the Safari app, starting with tabbed browsing.

Tabbed browsing allows you to open multiple browser windows simultaneously, and then quickly switch between them, without having to re-enter each website's URL or wait for each web page to reload.

Using Tabbed Browsing with Safari on an iPhone

Now, you can open and quickly switch between multiple web pages using tabbed browsing. This feature works slightly differently on an iPhone verses an iPad. To use tabbed browsing on an iPhone, launch the Safari web browser and surf to any website. While you're looking at that site within a browser window, tap on the tabbed browsing icon, which is located in the lower-right corner of the Safari screen.

The browser window you were looking at will remain open, but shrink. At the bottom-left corner of the Safari screen, a New Page icon will appear. Tap on it to launch a second browser window. In Safari's URL address field at the top of the screen, enter a website address, or tap on the Bookmarks icon to access a website based on a saved bookmark. You can also use the Search field to enter a keyword or phrase to help you find exactly what you're looking for on the web.

The second website you just opened will take over the iPhone's screen. However, if you tap on the tabbed browsing icon again, you'll be able to swipe your finger from left to right, and quickly switch between open browser windows. Once again, you have the option to tap on the New Page icon in order to open a third browser window.

One at a time, you can open up to eight browser windows at once and quickly switch between them by swiping your finger from left to right or from right to left. Or, instead of switching between browser windows, after tapping on the tabbed browser icon, you can tap the red-and-white "X" icon that's associated with one window in order to close it permanently. 

Using Tabbed Browsing with Safari on an iPad

To use this feature on an iPad, open any website and then tap on the plus-sign icon that's located near the top-right corner of the Safari screen. A new, empty browser window will open, allowing you to enter a website URL, perform a search, or open a web page from a saved bookmark.

Along the top of the screen, just under the address and search fields, however, will now be two tabs: one for the original website you accessed, and a second for the browser window you just opened.

At any time, you can have up to nine tabs displayed on the screen at once, and quickly switch between browser windows by tapping on their respective tabs. Or, to close a browser window permanently (and get rid of its tab), tap on the "X" that's displayed on the left side of the tab.

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Last Update: November 17, 2020