Safari is probably one of the only stock iOS apps that has received some attention in every major iOS software update. So not surprisingly, Safari has received an update in iOS 7 as well.
We take an in-depth look at the new features and improvements in Safari in iOS 7.
Here’s what’s new or has changed in iOS 7 Safari:
- The first thing you’ll notice when you launch Safari in iOS 7 is the new fullscreen look, where the search field at the top and the toolbar at the bottom disappear when you’re browsing, and shows you the content with domain name of the website in the status bar.
- You can navigate back and forth through your browser history using gestures. You can go back to the previous webpage by swiping from the left edge of the display and go forward by swiping from the right edge of the display.
- The search and address bar have been merged into a new unified smart search field, that allows you type the url of the website or search. You can access the smart search field by tapping or pulling down at the top. When you start typing, it displays the top url hit, suggestions from Google Search or your favorite search engine, your Bookmarks and history, and results of the text search on the webpage in real-time.
- When you tap on the search field, it displays icons for all your favorites, which is a new feature. It gives you quick and easy one-tap access to your favorite websites. To add a website as a favorite, tap on the share button, then tap on Bookmarks and add it to the Favorites folder. You have the option to select which folder should be the favorites folder via the Settings app (Settings > Safari > Favorites).
- The Bookmark controls has also been revamped with a tabbed interface. When you tap on the Bookmark icon at the bottom, it displays your Bookmarks.
- You have a new tab for shared links, these are links shared by people you follow on Twitter. This is quite neat as you can open the links directly within the Safari app.
- You also have a new tab to access your Reading list. You have the option to show just the unread links or all the links in your Reading list, by tapping on the Show Unread/Show all toggle at the bottom right of the screen.
- You can now scroll seamlessly from article to article in your Reading list. You don’t have to go through the hassle of going back to your Reading list to access the next link.
- As we’ve pointed out earlier, the Share panel have been completely redesigned in iOS 7. When you tap on the Share control at the bottom, it opens the Share panel, which consists of three distinct sections:
- In the top most section, you get an option to share the URL of the webpage with people nearby using the new AirDrop for iOS feature.
- In the next section, you get the option to share the URL via Message, Mail, iCloud, Facebook and Twitter.
- In the last section, you have the option to Bookmark, Add to Reading list, Add to Home Screen, Print or the copy the url of the webpage.
- Apple has completely redesigned the tab interface for Safari in iOS 7 with vertical scrolling, most probably to avoid confusing users with the all-new card-based interface for app switcher. It looks really cool.
- To close a webpage, just swipe a tab offscreen to the left or tap on the x button. You can close only one tab at a time, and there is no option to close all tabs.
- You can also reorder the tabs by tapping and holding on a tab, and moving it to the place you want it.
- You can finally open unlimited number of tabs, you’re no longer limited to just 8 tabs on the iPhone.
- It is easier and quicker to turn on or turn off private browsing session in iOS 7 Safari. Tap on the tab control at the bottom, followed by the Private button on the bottom left corner to turn on or turn off private browsing. You don’t have to go through the hassle of accessing the Settings app to enable or disable Private browsing.
- You can access your iCloud tabs, by scrolling down beyond your local tabs. They’re displayed as a list against a translucent background, sorted by device.
- You can tap on the icon to the left of the smart search field to access the Safari Reader feature, which displays web articles without ads or clutter. The icon turns white when the Reader functionality is activated.
- Apple has also added much needed parental controls to Safari (Settings > General > Restrictions > Websites under Allowed Content), so parents can:
- allow their children to visit all websites
- Limit access to many adult websites automatically. Here parents can also add allowed and restricted websites.
- Allow access to specific websites only. Apple has added a list of children friendly websites like Discovery Kids, Disney, National Geographic – Kids etc. Parents can also add a website by tapping on the “Add a Website” option.
- Apple has ditched the .com button from the iOS Keyboard in Safari and replaced it with a dot, making more room for the space bar. You can still tap and hold on the dot to access the domain extensions.
Here’s a detailed video walkthrough of the new features and improvements:
This is easily one of the biggest update Safari has received since Apple introduced the iPhone in 2007, and came as a pleasant surprise as we weren’t expecting a lot. The user interface gets the modern new look, which we’ve seen with other stock apps in iOS 7, along with improved navigation and accessibility. The new fullscreen look, gestures, new tabs UI, easier accessibility, and unlimited tabs are some of my favorite features.
Let me know what you think of the changes and improvements in iOS 7 Safari.