macOS: how to manage multiple open Safari tabs

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Browser tabs in Safari are a great way to visit multiple web pages in the same browsing session without having to close any of them, which makes them particularly useful for cross-referencing and online searches.

But too often, the number of open tabs can spiral out of control. This makes navigating them tricky and can also sap system resources. To avoid getting overwhelmed with open tabs, try the following Safari tips to better manage them.

1. Mark all open tabs

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If the browser tabs you have open are related and you plan to revisit them regularly, it’s worth bookmarking them together in their own bookmarks folder. To do this, simply select Bookmarks -> Add bookmarks for these X tabs… (X being the number of open tabs).

You will then be prompted to create a name for the bookmarks folder and select where you would like it kept among your other bookmarks, which you can access at any time by selecting Bookmarks -> Show bookmarks in the menu bar.

Note that you can perform a similar action to add all open tabs to your reading list for later reading, even when you’re offline. (Bookmarks -> Add these X tabs to reading list.)

2. Use tab groups

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In macOS Monterey, tab groups are a convenient way to save and manage related tabs without having to activate those tabs and take up space. If you’re planning a trip, for example, you can save all your tabs in a “Vacation” group, access them when needed, and leave your device free for other content when you’re not actively planning.

To create a new tab group, click the Show sidebar next to traffic lights, then select New tab group. You can also click the down arrow next to the Show Sidebar icon and select either New empty tab group Where New tab group with X tabs, where “X” is the number of tabs currently open.

All the tab groups you create are listed in the sidebar for easy switching. You can also select groups by clicking the down arrow next to the Show Sidebar icon. All tabs opened when a tab group is selected will automatically be included in that group. For more tips on using tab groups, check out our dedicated tutorial.

3. Change Safari Tab Layout

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Safari offers two tab layouts: Compact and Separated. Compact is a more unified Safari design that removes the dedicated URL and search interface and allows any individual tab to be used for navigation input.

The problem with the compact layout is that it severely limits space for multiple open tabs. In this regard, the separate layout is better, as it positions the URL/search bar at the top of the Safari window, with your tabs laid out below.

If you’re not already using the Separate tab layout, you can access it quite easily by selecting Safari -> Preferences… in the menu bar. Click it Tabs menu in the preferences pane and select Tab Layout: Separate to remove the compact tab bar that merges everything together.

4. Rearrange Open Tabs

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Sometimes, you may have multiple tabs open from a handful of websites that you tend to visit, but get mixed up with other tabs from different places on the web.

In such cases, it can be helpful to rearrange your tabs so that tabs from the same website are lined up next to each other, allowing you to easily review what you have read and do away with redundant tabs that were hiding between them.

To sort your tabs by website or title if you prefer, simply right click on any tab and select Organize tabs by -> Website Where Title in the drop-down menu.

5. Pin Tabs

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Safari’s pinned tabs feature helps you better organize your tabs, especially if you have too many open at once. This is especially useful if you have certain websites that you tend to visit frequently throughout the day.

The advantage of pinned tabs is that they stay in place, even when you open a new Safari window or quit and reopen Safari. And when you click a link to another website from a pinned tab, the other website opens in a new tab, ensuring your pinned tab still shows the website you pinned.

To pin a tab, drag it to the leftmost side of the tab bar, and when the tab shrinks to show only the website’s favicon, simply drop it into place. You can also select Window -> Pin tab in the menu bar, or right-click (Ctrl-click) a tab, then choose pin tab from the context menu.

If you have multiple pinned tabs, you can rearrange them in the tab bar by dragging them with your cursor. To unpin a website tab, simply drag the pinned tab to the right side of the tab bar and it will expand back to a normal tab.

6. Kill Them All

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If you’re done with all your other open tabs because you found what you were looking for, you can close all open tabs except the currently active one. Alternatively, you can choose to close all open tabs to the right of the one you’re currently viewing. Simply right-click on the currently active tab and select Close other tabs Where Close tabs on the right.

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