How to Use Safari on iPhone

Using Safari on iPhone is easy, but most users don’t use all the features, depriving them of full functionality. Here’s how to use Safari on iPhone to its full potential to save time and avoid frustration.

Some of these features include changing the default search engine, clearing history and cache, using full screen mode, and setting iCloud Tab Sync to open tabs from another iOS or OS X device.

Although there are many web browsers available for iPhone, Safari is one of the most reliable. Safari is also great for AutoFill passwords, reading list creation, and private browsing.

Safari also has a lot of hidden functionality that is easy to use when explained.

full screen mode

Fullscreen mode is a familiar feature for Mac users since the Lion update. This feature added in Safari is very useful for those who read a lot in Safari and do not want to be distracted by the top bar.

While on the web page that the user wants to be full screen, turn the iPhone to landscape, and then tap the two arrows to switch to full screen.

Exit Full Screen Mode

To exit Full Screen, tap the two facing arrows in the lower right corner.

Autocomplete in Address Bar

AutoComplete search bars have been around for a while in Chrome and other browsers, but the functionality has finally arrived in Safari for iPhone. The way this works is for example simply entering “cnn”, the browser knows to go to “”.

Quick Search Bar

It’s a minor tweak, but it saves time for anyone who surfs their iPhone a lot.

Open Safari Tabs from Other Devices

Safari tab sync is a great add-on that makes working from any device much easier. With the help of iCloud, any tab in Safari on any Mac (running Mountain Lion), iPad, or iPhone (both on iOS 6) and on the same Apple ID can be accessed in a snap.

To make sure this feature is enabled, tap Settings -> iCloud and slide Safari to “ON”.

Tap Bookmarks

Tap Bookmarks as shown above.

iCloud Tabs

Choose a tab

Select a tab from the device of your choice. Tabs stay in sync across all iOS and OS X devices.

Jump to Top of a Web Page

Instead of swiping up and down to go to the top of a webpage, tap the clock in the iPhone status bar to quickly jump to the top of the page. This is something users can do with most iPhone or iPad apps.

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Jump to top of iPhone Safari

See Browsing History

It’s a useful tool if the user has forgotten to bookmark a page or goes to the browser’s history and wonders where to start searching. A quick way to do this is to hold down the browser’s back button.

Hold back button

After holding down the back button for about two seconds, a new window with the user’s history should appear like this.

Search history

Change Search Engine


Scroll down and



Search engine

When finished, this next screen will appear.

Search options

It is up to the user to choose whether they want to search with Google, Yahoo or Bing. The main reason this needs to be changed is because Google isn’t what a user chooses to search for, or because another search engine is activating on its own without permission.

New Tab Behavior

Another helpful tip about Safari is how it handles links. By default, opening a link opens a new tab above what the user is currently reading. With a simple tweak, this can be changed to be less intrusive.

While still in Safari settings

Open Links

When this is selected, this next window will appear.

Connection Options

The option remains set by default and acts by opening the selected link above what the user is currently reading. A better option is to open links in another tab, but go behind the currently open tab.

Clear Safari History

One final tip for getting the most out of Safari is to clear your history and cookies. This is a fairly common practice for computer web browsers, but mostly reviewed on mobile devices.

Users who want to remove details about visiting a particular Website or have a slow or crash-prone Safari experience can use these steps to clear history and cookies.

While in Safari settings

Clear History and Cookies

To clear the history and when a dialog box opens

The same process applies to the deletion of cookies and data.

It’s not always necessary to do this, but clearing history and cookies from time to time is good for keeping Safari fast and as a first step in fixing any Safari issues on iPhone.