How to customize Safari new tab start page on iPhone

ByDavid M. Conte

Sep 30, 2021

Creating a personalized start page in the iPhone’s Safari browser not only makes the new blank tabs more useful, but also more personal for the user.

Apple recently made several important changes to the iPhone’s default Safari web browser and one that might go unnoticed is the start page customization. The start page is what is displayed when a new blank tab is opened. This starting point can be loaded with useful links from a variety of sources and organized to better meet each person’s unique preferences. Being one of the most used apps on a smartphone, making a browser more useful can have a big impact. Changing the layout and appearance also makes Safari more personal.

Apple calls a new, blank tab in Safari the start page, because that’s where the user starts a new search, types in an address, or clicks a link to load a website. By default, the iPhone’s Safari start page displays a list of websites that have been marked as favorites. For some, the list can be quite long. It’s a familiar sight, so much so that the ability to change its layout can go unnoticed. For starters, there’s an option at the top right for “Show less”, revealing more links and options below.

Related: iPhone’s Safari Design Change Is Nothing More Than A Rejection From Google

In Apple’s Safari browser for iPhone, iPad, and Mac, a new blank tab can be customized with a background image and links from various sources to create a more user-friendly and useful start page. The edit button is somewhat hidden at the bottom of the page, which can be quite long if there are a significant number of favorites. Scrolling down and tapping edit allows you to change the layout, choose sources and choose a wallpaper from a short list of defaults, or choose an image from the iPhone’s photo library .

IPhone Safari Links and iCloud Sync

Apple iPhone 12 Pro with iOS 15 Safari

There are a wide variety of sources of links to fill out the start page. Favorites is a special bookmark folder that may appear on the start page and has its own ‘Add to favorites‘Share sheet option for quick access. Links also appear for iCloud tabs, which mirror the tabs open on the user’s Mac or iPad. ‘Shared with you‘is a section with links that have been shared with the user through the Messages app. ‘Reading list‘displays all the pages that have been added to this list for future checking, while’Frequently visitedis exactly what it sounds like. Ultimately, ‘Siri suggestions‘is a short list generated that varies throughout the day and represents Siri’s guess on which website the user might want to visit next.

All or part of these link sources can be activated or deactivated using a toggle switch. Sources can be rearranged, ensuring that the most frequently used sources are moved higher on the start page. Apple also included a Confidentiality report section, which shares a brief summary of the trackers that have been blocked, and tapping that summary opens a more detailed report. If the perfect start page is achieved, the user may also want to make the same changes on other Apple devices. This can be easily done by activating ‘Use the start page on all devices, ‘allowing the same layout and background image or wallpaper to appear on the user’s Mac and iPad.

Next: How To Replace Safari With Another Browser App On iPhone

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