This article is part of the iOS Beginner Guide series:
This is the Part 5 of our “iOS Beginner Guide” series.
Part 1: Setting your iOS device up
Part 2: Navigating around in your iOS device.
Part 3: Mastering the Settings in your iOS device.
Part 4: Installing and Managing Your Apps in iOS
Part 5: Making Good Use of the Mobile Safari in iOS
Apple has always been of the “If you can’t beat ’em, join em” type. This is how they came up with their own web browser, Safari. To some who are used to Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explore, it might appear to work much differently, but it has all the same functionality of other browsers, as well as some extras.
This is especially true of the iOS version of Safari. While the mobile Safari has had troubles of its own, Apple has been able to resolve the issues in each releases and even added more features to it, making it a very worthwhile browser. It may not be as flashy as some of the others, but it does everything you need it to, whether you’re on an iPad, iPhone, or even an iPod Touch.
URL and Search bar
In Safari, the areas to input the URL and Search are separate. Some browsers combine the two, but Safari keeps them separate. In this tabbed browser system, click on the tiny “X” to the left of the tab to close it out, and start a new tab by clicking the plus sign on the far right of the screen. You can change the order of these tabs by simply dragging them around.
Like most browsers, Safari allows you to keep track of your Bookmarks. It offers them up in a couple of different places. The most obvious place is right there underneath the URL bar. Called the Bookmark Bar, it stores your most-favorite bookmarks there, making them easily accessible. And you can actually store more than will fit in the bar. The extras are accessed by clicking on the arrow.
Once you have a webpage you want to save, click on the Share button and choose “Bookmark.” You will have the options here to change the name it will be filed under and where you want to save it, either in the Bookmark Bar or another folder. The other bookmarks are accessed by clicking the Bookmarks symbol. The iPad has a menu at the bottom that allows you to move back and forth between Bookmarks, Reading List, and History. The iPhone includes it all in one listing. You can edit the listings, including that of the Bookmark Bar, by clicking edit, then either the minus symbol to delete the entry, or the gray bars to change the order.
Reading List allows you to save webpages to read later, even when you’re offline. To store a webpage in the Reading List, access the Share menu and choose “Add to Reading List.” To retrieve the pages you have saved in your Reading List, click on the Bookmarks menu, and then on Reading List. You have two options – to display all the pages in your reading list or just the ones that are unread.
Bookmarks and Reading List aren’t the only options in the Share menu. You can also send to Facebook, Twitter, Message, and email. You can also print it (if you have a printer that works with iOS), copy, and Add to Homescreen. What this last option will do is put an icon on your homescreen for easier access to that page. It will be just like accessing your apps.
iCloud keeps Safari synced across all your devices. Not only does the same Reading List appear across all your devices, but a list of your open tabs do as well. This means you can have a website open on your Mac, leave the house, and continue reading on your iPhone. It saves time from having to do little tricks like emailing or messaging yourself links to be sure you have the same information on all your devices. You can access it to the left of the URL bar on the iPad or in the Bookmarks menu on the iPhone.
The Settings for Safari are accessed in the Settings app. It allows you to make Safari work for you. It’s preset to use the Google search, but you can change this to either Yahoo or Bing, if you prefer those. With AutoFill, you can choose what information you want automatically filled into appropriate fields on Safari. These including name, email, passwords, address, etc. There are also many choices for privacy and security. With these, you can browse privately, meaning a record won’t be kept on the app of your history and downloads. You can also block pop-ups and have the app warn you if you enter a fraudulent website. Clearing the History, Cookies, and Data can be done from the Settings as well.
While there are many third-party browsers available for iOS, and they work well, Apple doesn’t allow you to change the browser in the Settings. This means that while you can browse in a third-party browser, if you click on a link from an email, message, or other app, it will automatically open in Safari. For some things you will be stuck with it, unless you copy and past the link every time, it’s a good app to be stuck with.