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The Basics of Using Safari, the iPhone Browser

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Safari Basics
iPhone browser

While you can install other browsers from the App Store, the web browser that comes built into every iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad is Safari. The iOS version of Safari is adapted from the desktop version that has come with Macs for many years--but mobile Safari is also very different. For one thing, you control it not with a mouse but by touch. To learn the basics of using Safari, read this article. For more advanced articles on using Safari, check out:

Double Tap to Zoom In/Out
If you want to zoom in on a particular section of a web page (this is especially useful to enlarge the text you're reading), simply tap it twice in quick succession on the same part of the screen. This enlarges that section of the page. The same double tap zooms out again.

Pinch to Zoom In/Out
If you want more control over what you're zooming in on or how much zooming you do, use the iPhone's multitouch features.

Put your index finger together with your thumb and place them on the part of the iPhone's screen that you want to zoom in on. Then, drag your fingers apart, sending each one towards the opposite edge of the screen. This zooms in on page. The text and images appear blurry for a moment and then the iPhone makes them crisp and clear again. To zoom out of the page, put your fingers at opposite ends of the screen and drag them towards each other, meeting in the center of the screen.


Jump to the Top of the Page
You scroll down the page by dragging a finger down the screen. But, did you know that you can jump back to the top of a web page without all that scrolling?

To jump to the top of a page (in order to get back to the browser bar, search bar, or the site's navigation), simply tap the clock at the top center of the iPhone or iPod touch's screen. This immediately jumps you back to the top of the web page. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a similar short cut for jumping to the bottom of a page.


Open a Page in a New Window
There are two ways to open a new window in Safari. The first is by tapping the icon in the lower right corner of the Safari window that looks like two squares on top of each other. This makes your current web page small and reveal a + (iOS 7 and up) or New Page button (iOS 6 and earlier) at the bottom. Tap that to open a new window. Tap the two rectangles again and slide up and down (iOS 7 and up) or back and forth (iOS 6 and earlier) to move between windows, or tap the X to close a window.

Besides opening a new blank window, though, you may want to open a link in a new window as you do on a desktop computer. Here's how:

  1. Find the link you want to open in a new window.
  2. Tap the link and don't remove your finger from the screen.
  3. Don't let go until a menu pops up from the bottom of the screen that offers five options:
    • Open
    • Open in New Page
    • Add to Reading List (iOS 5 and up only)
    • Copy
    • Cancel
  4. Select Open in a New Window and you'll now have two browser windows, one with the first site you visited, the second with your new page.

Private Browsing
If you want to browse the web without the sites you visit being added to your browser history, use this feature. To enable it in iOS 7 and up, tap the two rectangles to open a new browser window. Tap Private and then choose whether you want to keep all of your open browser windows or close them. To turn Private Browsing off, follow the same steps. (In iOS 6, Private Browsing is enabled via the Safari settings in the Settings app.)

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