How to Disable Tab Previews in Safari on Mac

Safari Tab Previews Featured

With each new year, Apple’s web browser receives plenty of improvements that further evolve its security, privacy, and functionality. However, Safari 14 (the version that ships with macOS Big Sur and is available for previous macOS versions as well) is quite different. Aside from offering a new visual identity, Safari 14 also comes with tab previews. Not everyone is a fan of that feature, so we show you here how to disable it.

This process is not that straightforward, as it requires you to use the Terminal app. Still, there’s nothing to worry about, as we walk you through each step of the way. Let’s jump right in. 

Give the Required Permissions to Terminal

There are different ways to disable tab previews in Safari, but there’s only one method that works without a hitch. It requires you to grant “full disk access” to the Terminal app. You’ll want to do the following:

1. First, make sure to quit Safari if it’s open on your Mac. – don’t just minimize it. Instead, navigate to “Safari -> Quit Safari” (or use the Command + Q keyboard shortcut). 

2. Click on the Apple logo (in the top-left corner) and pick “System Preferences.” Take a look at the right side of that window and select “Security & Privacy.”

Safari Tab Previews System Preferences View

3. To access these settings, click on the padlock in the bottom-left corner and input your macOS system password. Select “Full Disk Access” using the left sidebar.

Safari Tab Previews Granting Disk Access To Terminal

4. On the right, you should see a list of applications, and one of those should be Terminal. Check the box next to this app’s name to grant the application the required permissions. In case you don’t see the Terminal app here, click on the “+” button and add the app manually.

Safari Tab Previews Terminal Disk Permissions

5. Feel free to close macOS’s System Preferences (there’s no need to save your changes), then continue with the rest of the procedure.

Disable Safari’s Tab Previews on a Mac

Finally, we are showing you how to unlock a “secret” Safari menu, using which, you can disable tab previews (and do plenty of other exciting stuff).

1. Launch the Terminal app (found in the “Applications” folder). Alternatively, press Command + Space to launch Spotlight and type in “Terminal.” Press the Enter key to open the application.

Safari Tab Previews Launching Terminal Via Sportlight Search

2. Type in the following command:

and press Enter to execute the command. You won’t see a confirmation.

Safari Tab Previews Terminal Command

3. Launch Safari and you should see the “Debug” menu at the top of your screen. Click to open this menu and navigate to “Tab Features.” This is where you’ll find several options, including “Show Tab Preview on Hover.” Make sure to select it (to disable it), which will disable tab previews in Safari on your Mac. 

Safari Tab Previews Debug Menu

4. Restart Safari and try it out. You will see its behavior has changed. More precisely, hovering over tabs will no longer show any previews.

5. Lastly, if you want to get rid of the “Debug” menu item, return to Terminal and type the command:

Once again, press Enter to confirm. That’s it!

Of course, if you ever wish to return to seeing Safari’s tab previews, repeat the steps above. Once you enable the “Debug” menu, make sure to navigate to “Tab Features -> Show Tab Preview on Hover” and reactivate the feature. 

Conclusion

We hope you’ve managed to disable Safari’s tab previews using this short (and hopefully helpful) guide. If you want to keep on learning about this browser, here’s how to customize Safari’s homepage on macOS. Also, make sure to check out our selection of the best Safari tips and tricks for Mac users

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Isaac Norman Isaac Norman

Isaac is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience covering the latest technological innovations. Mainly focused on Apple-related software and hardware systems, his aspiration is to explore all the ways today's digital world intertwines with our everyday life.

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