iOS 15, which is set to be launched by the fall of this year, promises to bring a boatload of new features to the native browser of smart Apple devices: Safari. This revamp will include an upgrade to even better privacy, extensions, tabs, and more.
Apple is a known leader in the smartphone industry when it comes to privacy features, and it somehow manages to outdo itself in this regard in each software update, from year to year. This year is no less, as we found out from the official Apple Worldwide Developers’ Conference which was recently livestreamed.
This year, Apple is bringing yet another improvement, this time implementing a built-in VPN to hide your IP address from any potential third-party trackers, rendering them unable to pinpoint your location or even link your activity across different sites.
You can even see which sites attempted to (and were blocked from) tracking you in the Safari Privacy Report. To access the Safari Privacy Report, tap AA to the left of the search bar in Safari. From there, choose Privacy Report. (A Privacy Report is now also newly available for all apps in Settings > Privacy > Privacy Report
Apple is bringing web extension support to Safari on iPhone as well, which should leave great room for customizability and experience improvement. You’ll soon be able to have your favorite browser VPN running on iPhone’s native browser, or have your usual password manager automatically filling in credentials to make your life easier.
3. Change Browser Background, Customize Start Page
With iOS 15, you will be able to switch up the appearance of the background behind Safari’s Start Page. You can do this through either uploading a photo from your own library or choosing from a selection of generic images made available.
On top of that, you also have the option to sync up your start page layout and background to appear the same across all your Apple devices, using iCloud.
You can change both the image and layout of the Safari Start Page by tapping on the “edit” button found at the bottom of a new tab.
Image credit – MacRumors.com
4. A New Tab Bar
A new tab bar now appears across the bottom of every Safari page you open. This new “address bar” essentially makes it as easy as possible to access the most often used functions with your thumb, without having to change your normal hand position as you browse.
5. Safari Group Tabs
Organizing your thoughts (and tabs) is set to become easier than ever with the introduction of a Group Tabs feature. With this, you are now able to separate tabs into categories—this way you can still have your 34 tabs open, but hopefully much easier to manage. As they say, cluttered tabs = cluttered mind…
6. View Recently Closed Tabs
Long-pressing on the small + button in the Safari browser (which would normally open a new tab), will now display a list of tabs you recently closed—eliminating the possibility of accidentally closing and losing something important forever.
Image credit – MacRumors.com
7. Pull down to refresh
Did you know that the pull-down-to-refresh function was originally invented by Twitter, which also has a patent on it? (Although they are nice about not using it, unless defensively.)
Either way, it may come as a surprise that until now, Safari has been one of the few apps that did not possess that refresh function. You had to tap the little “refresh” arrow in the top right for that.
iOS 15 will bring the ability perform the swipe-down gesture anywhere in the screen and have your tab instantly refreshed.
8. New Site Menu Settings
You now have access to a few new Safari site settings. You can access the Site Menu by tapping on the three dots next to the address bar. There, right above the “Add to Bookmarks” option, you now also have “Translate Website” (instant translation to any language), Text Size customization, and Privacy Report (Safari’s trusty Privacy Report for that particular site).
9. Switch Between Tabs Easily
iOS 15 makes it extremely easy to switch back and forth between open tabs. You no longer have to open Tab View to go to the last one; simply swiping left or right across the new Tab Bar at the bottom of a page, using your thumb, will do the job.