How to Use Safari on an iPhone


Your iPhone's Safari browser has many of the features you use on your desktop browser, but it has less space to display them. It's easy to start a search; learning how to get to menus to access more advanced features takes a little more time. Once you know where everything is, you can easily search, use bookmarks and sharing features, set basic privacy controls and switch between mobile and desktop websites.

Getting Started

  • From your iPhone's home screen, tap "Safari." Tap the search box to open the keyboard and type a search word/phrase or website name. Suggested results appear on the screen as you type -- if you see one you want, tap to open it. Otherwise, tap "Go." Swipe down through the list of search results; tap to open any page or site. You can navigate backward and forward through pages by tapping the arrows pointing left or right on the bottom menu. To close Safari and return to your home screen, tap the "Home" button. To shut it down completely, double-tap the "Home" button, swipe through the recently closed apps till you get to Safari and swipe it up.

Browsing Tips

  • To enlarge text, use the "pinch and pull" move. Put your thumb and index finger together on the screen and move them apart to make text bigger. Move them back together to reduce it. You can also enlarge an area of text by double-tapping it. If you ever want to return to the top of a page quickly, tap the time/clock at the top of the screen. To see open Web pages, tap the tab icon at the bottom of the screen -- this looks like two squares -- and tap any page to open it again. If you want to close a page down, tap its "X." Select "+" to open a new search page. If you accidentally close down a page and want it back, tap and hold down "+" to open the Recently Closed Tabs screen.

Sharing and Bookmarking

  • If you tap the box with the up arrow on the bottom menu, you open the Sharing menu. You can use this to share URLs by iMessage, email, Twitter or Facebook. It's also an easy way to bookmark a site, saving it to Safari so you can access it later. Other options include adding a page to your Reading List to read offline and setting a site to appear on your home screen. For example, to share a site by email, tap the "Mail" icon. An email will open with the link attached ready for you to fill out the sender details and message. To bookmark a site, tap "Add Bookmark." Tap the title field if you want to give the bookmark a different name, tap "Location" to choose where to store it and then tap "Save." To access your bookmarks, tap the book icon on the bottom menu. This menu also gives you access to your browsing history, reading list and shared links.

Private Browsing and Full Website Access

  • If you don’t want Safari to monitor your search activity, you can switch to private browsing. Tap the icon with two squares on the bottom menu, tap "Private" and then "Done" to open a private search screen. Repeat the steps and tap "Private" again to switch back. If a website has a mobile version, you'll typically see this rather than the full desktop version. If there is no mobile site, you'll see the desktop one. In iOS 8, Apple added the ability to switch to a full site if you prefer not to use a mobile one. From a mobile site, tap the search box and pull down the screen. Tap "Request Desktop Site" and Safari will switch for you.

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  • Photo Credit Serge Zamoyski/Hemera/Getty Images
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