Everyone has a few Web sites that they check every day, or even multiple times throughout the day: a social network, a Web-based email app, a go-to news Web site, or a favorite online comic. The desire to access certain sites quickly and repeatedly isn’t new, of course. Over the years, Apple has added a variety of features to Safari to make this process easier. You can create bookmarks, add bookmarks to your Favorites bar, click thumbnails in the Top Sites view, and more. But do you know about pinned tabs?
The name may evoke images of a butterfly collection, but don’t worry, no harm is done when you pin a tab in Safari. All that happens is that the tab you’re pinning slides over to the left side of the Tab bar and shrinks down to a size that’s just big enough to display a representative icon, called a favicon. You can click the icon at any time to view the page.
Until you unpin or close a pinned tab, it remains in that easily accessible spot no matter what other tabs are open. Other advantages to pinned tabs include:
- Pinned tabs stay in the same place even if you open a new Safari window or quit and relaunch Safari.
- If you have multiple windows open in Safari, the pinned tabs are the same in all of them.
- When you first launch Safari, it loads content for your pinned tabs, so you’re less likely to have to wait for those pages to appear.
- Web apps that update automatically will do so in pinned tabs, so switching to one will always give you the latest data.
- Unlike normal bookmarks, which you can sync through iCloud to copies of Safari on all your Apple devices, pinned tabs are specific to a particular Mac. This allows you to customize your pinned tabs on a per-Mac basis.
To pin a Web page, first load it in Safari. Then use one of these three pinning techniques:
- Drag the tab that contains the Web page to the left, into the pinned tab area. When you see it shrink down, let go. (If you don’t see a tab, choose View > Show Tab Bar.)
- Choose Window > Pin Tab.
- Control- or right-click the tab and choose Pin Tab from the contextual menu that appears.
If you pin a tab that you wish you hadn’t, you can reverse any of those actions: drag it to the right, choose Window > Unpin Tab, or choose Unpin Tab from the contextual menu.
Pinned tabs behave like regular tabs in most ways, with a few exceptions:
- Clicking a link to another Web site opens that site in a new tab, but if you follow a link within the pinned site, you’ll stay in the pinned tab.
- Pressing Command-W won’t close a pinned tab, so you don’t have to worry about losing them accidentally. To get rid of a pinned tab, Control- or right-click it and choose Close Tab. Or unpin it and close it as you would any other tab.
- Since pinned tabs stick around all the time, you might want to rearrange them. To do so, drag them into your desired order.
So if you open and close Facebook, Reddit, and Gmail throughout the day and check xkcd every morning, try creating a pinned tab for each site and see if you like having them more easily accessible than ever before!
If you prefer using Mozilla’s Firefox or Google Chrome instead of Safari, never fear, since both of those browsers have almost identical pinned tab features.