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Apple redesigns Safari for Mac devices

Apple this week released Safari 15 for macOS Big Sur and Catalina, the new update includes, among other things, a comprehensive design overhaul as well as the ability to roll back to the old design and look if you're not a fan. Apple released major software updates for all of its systems except for macOS on Monday. The updates are timed closely with the release of the new iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch models.

But last week's product launch event didn't include Macs, which are expected to get some focused attention by the end of the year, along with the announcement of a macOS Monterey release date.

However, it appears that Apple decided to push the Safari update separately to keep the experience consistent across platforms in the meantime. (I did this with some earlier versions when macOS came after iOS too.)

The redesign of Safari has gone through many changes during the recent beta releases on all platforms (especially on iOS and iPadOS). The most exciting change on the iPhone was moving the address and search bar from the top of the screen to the bottom, a tweak designed to make Safari easier to use on the phone with one hand.

That was Apple's way or the highway with this change, but Apple added a way to undo this change by the time iOS 15 became publicly available. At the top of the title and search bar, iOS and macOS had another big change in common: a slight simplification of the interface to make it useless screen space overall. It's also been called up a bit for release on both macOS and iOS.

If you still don't like the requested repetition, you can go back to a previous design in the Safari preferences pane. For example, you can place the address bar on top of your browser tabs as before. You can also disable the behavior that returns the colors of the tab bar to match the content of the web page.

Aside from the design changes, there are a few new features in Safari 15. “Tab groups help you save, organize, and easily access your tabs across devices,” says Apple in its release notes. Additionally, Safari can automatically switch sites from HTTP to HTTPS when possible.

Here are Apple's full (but short) release notes for this week's Safari update. Safari 15 offers faster performance, improved security, and the following new features

  • Tab groups help you save, organize, and easily access your tabs across devices

  • Redesigned tabs have a more rounded, defined look and color on the web page

  • The compact tab bar option shows more of your web page on the screen

  • The HTTPS upgrade automatically switches sites from HTTP to the more secure HTTPS


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