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Apple is rolling out a significant Safari redesign for Macs forward of the Monterey launch

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Enlarge / Safari’s new look (and some lights?)

Apple

This week Apple released Safari 15 for macOS Big Sur and Catalina. The new update includes, among other things, a major design overhaul – plus the ability to revert to the old layout and take a look if you’re not a fan.

Apple released important software updates for all of its platforms except macOS on Monday. The updates were closely coordinated with the release of new iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch models.

However, last week’s product launch event didn’t include Macs, which should get more attention by the end of the year, along with an announcement of the macOS Monterey release date.

That said, Apple seems to have decided to release the Safari update separately in order to keep the experience consistent across platforms in the meantime. (It also did with some earlier versions when macOS came after iOS.)

The Safari redesign has seen several changes in the last beta versions on all platforms (and especially on iOS and iPadOS). The most dramatic change on iPhone was moving the address and search bar from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen, an tweak to make it easier to use Safari on the phone with one hand.

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Initially, it was Apple’s way or the highway with this change, but Apple added a way to reverse that change until iOS 15 was released to the public.

In addition to the address and search bar, iOS and macOS had another big change in common: a minimalist optimization of the user interface to take up less space on the screen overall. This has also been withdrawn a little for publication on macOS and iOS.

If you still don’t like the recalled iteration, you can revert to a previous design in Safari’s settings pane. For example, you can place the address bar above your browser tabs as before. (By default, Safari now places them next to each other.) You can also disable the behavior that adapts the color of the tab bar to the content of a web page.

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

Here are Apple’s full (but brief) 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 and organize your tabs and easily access them across devices
• Redesigned tabs have a rounder, more defined appearance and take the color off. at
the website
• The “Compact Tab Bar” option shows more of your website on the screen
• HTTPS upgrade automatically switches sites from HTTP to more secure HTTPS when
available

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