Enlarge / Safari’s new look (and some lights?)
This week, Apple released Safari 15 for macOS Big Sur and Catalina. Among other things, the new update includes a major design overhaul, plus the ability to go back to the old design and see if you’re not a fan.
Apple released major software updates for all of its platforms, except macOS, on Monday. The updates were closely in sync with the launch of the new iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch models.
But last week’s product launch event did not include the Mac, which is expected to get more attention by the end of the year, along with an announcement regarding the macOS Monterey launch date.
Nonetheless, Apple seems to have decided to push the Safari update separately to keep the experience consistent across all platforms in the meantime. (It has done this with some older versions when macOS came after iOS as well.)
Safari’s redesign has gone through several changes throughout recent beta versions on all platforms (and especially on iOS and iPadOS). The most dramatic change on the iPhone was the relocation of 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.
Initially, it was Apple’s way or highway with that change, but Apple added a way to reverse that change by the time iOS 15 was released to the public.
At the top of the search and address bar, iOS and macOS had another big change in common: a minimal simplification of the interface so that it uses less screen space overall. That has also been marked a bit for release on both macOS and iOS.
If you still don’t like the iteration checked back, you can go back to a previous layout in Safari’s preferences panel. For example, you can place the address bar above your browser tabs as it was before. (By default, Safari now places them next to each other.) You can also disable the behavior that changes the color of the tab bar to match the content of a web page.
Layout changes aside, there are some new features in Safari 15. Tab groups “help you save and organize your tabs and easily access them on all devices,” Apple says in its release notes. Additionally, Safari can automatically switch sites from HTTP to HTTPS when possible.
Here are the full (but brief) release notes from Apple for this week’s Safari update:
Safari 15 offers faster performance, improved security, and the following new features:
• Tab groups help you save and organize your tabs and access them easily on all devices
• Redesigned tabs have a more rounded and defined appearance and take on the color of
• Compact tab bar option shows more of your web page on screen
• The HTTPS update automatically switches sites from HTTP to more secure HTTPS when