How to open links in a new Tab on the iPad


How to open links in a new Tab on the iPad
Mac Tip #550, 05 September 2012

When you’re surfing the web on your iPhone or iPad it can be particularly annoying to tap on a link and lose the page you’re currently viewing. But iOS lets you open links into a new Page or Tab instead. Here’s how.

Sparked by…

A while ago I saw this tweet by Lin Nah:

Playing w an iPad. Prob not using it as well expert users. Not sure how to load link on new tab in safari. So browsing web old school style

I realised that this is one of those ‘hidden’ things on iOS, and a MacTip would be useful.

Quick Start

  1. Check the Safari Settings in the Settings app. On the iPhone choose how Open Links will behave. On the iPad choose how Open New Tabs in Background will behave.
  2. When viewing a link on an iOS device tap and hold to call up a menu of options.
  3. On an iPhone tap the New Page icon to create a second web Page for surfing another site.
  4. On an iPad tap the New Tab icon to create a second Tab for surfing another site.

If this Tip was useful, please leave a comment letting us know. Want more detail? Read the full Tip below.

Tap and hold for an extra menu

If you’re browsing the web on an iPhone, iPad or iPod touch then you may be used to simply tapping on a link to go to the linked web page. Unfortunately you then lose the page you were viewing as the new page replaces it.

Try instead tapping and holding. In other words, don’t immediately lift your finger from the screen, but wait until a menu appears. Then you can choose to open the link in a new Page or new Tab instead.

See Tabbed Browsing and Tabbed browser tricks for more information about using Tabs in Safari and other web browsers on the Mac.

Open in New Page on iPhone.

Open in New Page on iPhone.

As of iOS 5 the menu has around 4 items in it:

  • Open — simply opens the link in the same page. This is the same as a normal tap.
  • Open in New Page or Open in New Tab — see below for an explanation.
  • Add to Reading List — adds the link to your Reading List, which may sync with your Mac. See Save a page in Safari to read later on your Mac or iPad for more information.
  • Copy — copies the link so you could paste it into an email or note. [Note: if you're holding the iPhone in landscape orientation you may need to scroll the list of options to see all of them.]
  • Cancel — abandon this action. [Note: the iPad doesn’t include the Cancel option. Instead just tap anywhere on the Page to hide the menu.]

Open in New Page or Open in New Tab

Because of the iPad’s larger screen, you work with Tabs in the Tab Bar. The iPhone screen is much smaller, so it uses separate Pages and a separate icon that lets you switch between them.

The screen size also affects how menus are displayed.

After opening a link into a new Tab on iPad you can then tap any Tab in the Tab Bar to view that web page.

I have 4 separate web pages open in 4 separate Tabs on my iPad.

I have 4 separate web pages open in 4 separate Tabs on my iPad.

My screenshot shows I have 4 separate web pages open in 4 separate Tabs on my iPad: FirstBite Mail, Message Center — Junk Quarantine, MacTips (currently visible), and How to use typing shortcuts.

To switch between Tabs tap on the name of the web page in the Tab Bar. For example, to view my FirstBite Mail I would tap on the words FirstBite Mail.

To close a Tab tap on the grey X at the left end of the Tab, beside the Title of the web page. The grey X is only visible on the Tab you’re currently viewing.

Tap the Page icon at the right end of the bottom Toolbar to switch between Pages on an iPhone.

Tap the Page icon at the right end of the bottom Toolbar to switch between Pages on an iPhone.

On an iPhone tap the Page icon at the right-hand end of the bottom Toolbar. All Pages are then displayed as thumbnails — drag left or right as required to view them all; tap one to view it at full size.

Tap one thumbnail to open that Page at full size.

Tap one thumbnail to open that Page at full size.

To close a Page call up the thumbnail view then tap the red X in the top left corner. The Page closes.

Open a new blank Page or Tab

Instead of tapping a link on a page you’re viewing you may wish to call up a new blank Page or Tab and visit some other web page.

On an iPhone tap the Page icon as described above, then tap the New Page button at bottom left of the screen. A new blank Page opens.

On an iPad tap the + icon at the right end of the Tab Bar. A new blank Tab opens.

Using Safari on the Mac? There’s an ebook just for you: Sizzling Safari Tips for Mac Users.

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