Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Safari 15 Changes in Beta 4

Juli Clover:

Apple today seeded the fourth betas of iOS and iPadOS 15 to developers for testing purposes, with the updates coming two weeks after Apple released the third betas.

Juli Clover:

The fourth beta of iPadOS 15 that was released today introduces tweaks to Safari, with the [iPadOS] Safari layout now mirroring the updated layout that was introduced in macOS Monterey Beta 3.


While the separate tab bar is enabled automatically when updating, in the Safari section of Settings, there is an option to toggle on the original compact tab bar that merged everything together.

Federico Viticci:

There are more changes to Safari for iPhone in iOS 15 beta 4:

  • The share button is back in the tab bar
  • Reload button is back, next to domain name
  • Quicker access to bookmarks
  • One-tap Reader button appears on articles


  • The tab bar now automatically minimizes when interacting with buttons on websites.
  • There’s a new ‘docking’ behavior for the tab bar above the keyboard when you tap into search boxes on websites.

Overall, seems like Apple is adapting to websites after all.

Federico Viticci:

There’s a total of six different touch targets in the iOS 15 beta 4 tab bar in Safari.

These exclude the ability to long-press the tab bar, swipe across it to change tabs, and swipe it up to open the Tabs view.

I’m…starting to think a single, small toolbar just won’t do. 😬

Michael Love:

They’re already desperately trying to make this UI work and it’s a brand new UI; imagine if a year or two from now they want to add some new option to it.

Curtis Herbert:

I really do appreciate the experimentation, but the new Safari feels like something I’d take to the UI Design Labs at WWDC and they’d push me to use native controls that users expect and already know, have better tap targets, & stop cramming too many things in a small space.

Josh Centers:

I find the new Safari design in iPadOS 15 b4 to be every bit as confusing as before, but without the space-saving cleverness of the previous design.

Tyler Hall:

If Safari on macOS Monterey is heading in a similar direction where web page titles are going to be even more truncated, that’s going to make me sad. I guess we should do something about it.

Here’s TheTitle.app

It’s a silly Mac app that is just a window title bar. It floats above all the other windows on your Mac and keeps an eye on your web browsers. As you move from browser to browser and web page to web page, TheTitle shows you the full page title - unobscured. Problem solved.


Update (2021-07-28): John Gruber:

I think it’s fair to say there are [9] touch targets, because the left and right sides are effectively previous/next tab buttons.

Nick Heer:

There is some good news: the “⋯” Button of Mystery has been scrapped and replaced with the standard share button. There’s also a reload button in the address bar right beside the URL — but it is grey, while every other tappable control in Safari is blue.


In this context, reconfiguring Safari so that the entire user interaction happens in the lower half of the screen is a win for usability, but a loss for muscle memory. I think this once-in-a-lifetime update could make sense in the long term. But when coupled with some of the space constraints created by this specific iteration and how cramped the controls are, it is hard to argue in favour of this interpretation of Safari.

John Gruber:

How is a normal person going to get into Reader Mode come fall, when they upgrade from iOS 14?

John Gruber:

Mobile Safari versions 1–14: no one ever had to explain anything.

Mobile Safari 15: “See, you don’t get the genius of this design, let me explain…”

Riccardo Mori:

That reload icon beside the site name is so tiny one needs a fine-point stylus to tap it. Pull to Refresh on the other hand is a 10-plus-year-old tried-and-true gesture which I think fits best in this otherwise tragic Safari redesign.

Peter Novak:

The reload button placement is disastrous. Every. Single. Time. I want to type an address, I reload the page I’m currently on.

Ezekiel Elin:

My complaint with todays address bar is that the reload button moves and seems to find itself in the dead middle of the “address bar” a lot

Federico Viticci:

I wish I was kidding at this point, but the Safari tab bar in iOS 15 beta 4 can get busier.

Here’s what happens if you do a Google search, have an extension active, and have just downloaded a file.

(Magnifying glass, text label, dot on share.)

Michael Love:

The internal politics behind this stupid address bar are probably quite terrifying.

John Gruber (tweet):

But there’s an awful lot of non-sharing stuff crammed into the Share menu — the ᴀA menu items from the current version of Safari (text size, Reader mode, disabling content blockers temporarily, etc.) are all in “Share” now. It’s better than the “···” menu in betas 1–3, but really, this is more like changing the “···” glyph to the Share glyph. It’s still two menus’ worth of features stuffed into one monolithic menu.

John Gruber:

But my big problem with this tab bar — both on Mac and now iPad — is that it’s very hard to see which tab is the current (selected) tab. The visual indication for “selected” is just a very slightly different background tint — whether you’ve got “Show color in tab bar” enabled or not. You can even scroll the current tab out of view. Why is that possible? I don’t see how this is better than the Safari 14 tab bar in any way, and I see a lot of ways that it’s worse.


It get’s worse, and worse. On the latest macOS beta, they added a stroke around the traffic lights so that they look better when the titlebar has a background color. The address bar is now outlined to make it different from the tabs that look otherwise the same. Yikes.

Safari uses a darker stroke then the rest of the system and it looks really bad.

Update (2021-07-30): Benjamin Mayo:

I sure am hitting the reload button a lot when I mean to tap the URL bar to enter a new address.

The main cause for this I think is because the button sits at the end of the displayed domain, it is never in quite the same place because domains are variable lengths. Hence, the safe zone changes on each page you visit.

Josh Pigford:

The URL bar in Mobile Safari just gets more ridiculous with iOS 15 Beta 4.

Update (2021-08-09): Federico Viticci:

Like I said before, I really wish I was kidding here.

I’ve been been able to stuff another item in the Safari unified tab bar for iOS 15: camera access. This is what it looks like.

Update (2021-08-13): Matt Birchler:

I’ve written my fair share about what I don’t like about the version of Safari releasing this fall, so today I wanted to mention the things I actually do like about it.

3 Comments RSS · Twitter

[…] Safari Changes in the Fourth Beta of iOS and iPadOS 15 […]

I can't tell if Gruber's changed his mind.


Safari gets away with [not having a title bar] because the URL field acts like a de facto window title. (And given the way that so many websites junk up their <title> tags with SEO-ish cruft, the domain name/url is often better than the actual “title” for the page — and the actual titles appear on your tabs anyway.)


There was no title bar in the original Safari 15 design. You got URLs in address fields, but page titles weren’t exposed other than in the Window menu. That was, in my opinion, a fundamental flaw in the design. Web page titles are useful, and should be more human-readable than URLs.

Either way, showing the URL for the current tab but the title for non-current tabs is… not great.

I hope they see the error of their ways and add an option for a second row of UI elements on iOS Safari.

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