How to View Two Pages, Restrict Websites and More iPad Safari Tips

Did you know you can filter out all of the advertisements, menu items and extra content distracting you from cleanly reading a web page with a single tap of your finger? Or save an article you found on your iPhone to read later and quickly pull it up on your iPad? Safari may seem like a simplified and easy-to-use web browser, but there are a lot of hidden gems if you know where to look.

1
How to View Two Tabs at Once

A demonstration of split view in safari on ipad
Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock

Apple has been beefing up the multitasking capabilities of the iPad, and one of the coolest new features they've added is the ability to split the Safari browser in two, allowing you to have two different web pages on the screen at the same time. In fact, each side of the browser will even get its own tab, and you can move tabs from one side of the screen to the other.

This feature requires an iPad that supports split-screen multitasking.  These include the iPad Air 2 or later, iPad Mini 4 or later and the iPad Pro line of tablets.

You can open up the spit view of Safari by holding down the tab button. This is the button that looks like a square on top of another square. When you hold down the button, a menu pops up offering you the choice to enter Split View.

While in split view, the toolbar moves from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen, where you will have a toolbar for each view. So you can still share individual websites, open bookmarks specifically for the left side or the right side of the browser, etc.

And if you are familiar with holding a finger down on a link for a menu that will let you open the website in a new tab, you do the same to open the website in the other view.

2
How to Restrict a Website

This one is great for parents. You can actually restrict the Safari browser from pulling up specific websites or even restrict all websites except those on your list.

First, you will need to turn on Restrictions for the iPad. You can do this by opening the Settings app, choosing General from the left-side menu and tapping Restrictions. At the top of the screen is the link for enabling the parental restrictions. You'll be asked to input a passcode for restrictions. This passcode is used to modify the restrictions or to allow a website that was previously disabled by your restriction settings.

After you have entered the passcode, scroll down and tap "Websites". You have three choices: Allow All Websites, Limit Adult Content and Specific Websites Only. The Limit Adult Content option is great because it not only restricts Safari from loading any website deemed to have adult content, but you can also add specific websites to the list to keep them from loading up or add a website to the list of allowed sites to load.

The Limit Adult Content option is good for teens, but for younger children, the Specific Websites Only option is usually best. When browsing Safari under this option, you can easily "Allow" any website that you think is fine for your child without going back to settings. Simply tap the Allow link and then type in the passcode to allow the website past the filter.

Read More About Limiting Content Including Apps, Movies and Music

3
Tap to Go to the Top of a Page

The tap-to-top feature takes you back to the top of a website after you have scrolled down the page. This feature actually works in many different apps where you scroll down a page such as Facebook and Twitter.

The way it works is by tapping in the center of the screen at the very top of the iPad's display.  Normally, the time is displaying at the top of the screen, and if you simply tap the time, you will go to the top of the page.

If you are in Split View in the Safari browser, you will need to tap at the top center of the side where you want to scroll back to the top. So you can't aim for the time in Split View, but the feature still works if you tap the top-center of the left side or the right side.

4
Backward and Forward Gestures

The Safari browser has a backward button (<)  at the top of the screen that allows you to move to the previous web page.  This is great when you are searching Google and the page you landed on isn't quite what you are wanting.   There's no need to search again when you can just go back to Google.  There's also a forward button that becomes available when you have moved backward, letting you get back to that original web page. 

But when you scroll down a page, these toolbar buttons disappear.   You can get them back by tapping to the top, but a quicker way to move back and forth is with gestures.  If you tap your finger on the far left edge of the screen where the display meets the bevel and then move your finger to the middle of the screen without lifting it, you will see the previous page unveiled.    You can also go 'forward' by doing just the opposite: tapping the far right edge and sliding your finger to the middle.

5
How to View Your Recent Web History and Re-Open Closed Tabs

Did you know the iPad keeps track of the web history of every tab you have open in the Safari browser? Me neither. Not until I stumbled across it. You can access your recent history by tapping and holding your finger down on the back button (<) at the top of the screen. After a few seconds, a list will appear with every website you've had open on that tab.

You an also re-open a tab if you accidentally closed it. You can do this by holding your finger down on the new tab button, which is the toolbar button with a plus (+) sign. When you hold your finger down, a menu will pop up with a list of your most recently closed tabs.

6
How to View and Clear Your Entire Web History

If you want more than just your recent web history, you can get to it through the Bookmarks Menu. The bookmarks sub-menu is a little confusing at times. There are three tabs at the top: bookmarks, reading list and shared list. The Bookmarks tab also has several folders including the "Bookmarks Menu" section of the bookmarks tab.  (I said it was confusing, right?)

If you are on the top level of the Bookmarks tab, you will see an option for History just below the Favorites section. If you are not on the top level, you will see a "< All" link just below the Bookmarks tab button that will take you to the top level.

In the History section, you can view your entire web history and return to any web page by simply tapping on it. You can also delete a single item from your history by sliding your finger from right-to-left on the link to reveal a delete button. There is also a "Clear" button that bottom of the screen that will delete your entire web history.

7
How to Browse Privately

If clearing out your web history sounds like a lot of work just to hide the websites you visited when shopping for your spouse's birthday present, you'll love private browsing. When you browse in private mode, Safari doesn't log the websites you visit. It also doesn't share your browser cookies, which means it doesn't tell those websites anything about you.

You can turn on Private Browsing by tapping the tab button, which is the one with two squares on top of each other, and then tapping "Private" at the top of the screen. You'll know when you are in private mode because the top menu will have a black background.

Fun Fact: Private Browsing cannot be entered if parental restrictions are turned on for the Safari browser.

8
The Reading List and Shared Link

Are you wondering what those other two tabs in the Bookmarks Menu? The Reading List is a cool feature that allows you to save an article you've found on the web to the reading list. This list is shared by all of your devices, so if you find a great article on your iPhone but want to read it later on the larger screen of your iPad, you can save it to the Reading List.

You can save an article to your Reading List the same way you save a bookmark: tapping and holding the bookmarks button.

The Shared Links list is another neat feature for those who love Twitter.  It will show all of the links shared on your Twitter timeline. This makes it a great way to find out what's buzzing at the moment.

9
How to Share a Web Page

Speaking of sharing, did you know there are a few ways you can share what you are reading with friends? The Share button is the button with an arrow pointing out the top of a square. When you tap it, you will see a window with options from sharing the web page via a text message or mail to printing the web page.

It's easy to share a page via a text message, but if you are standing right next to the person and they use an iPad or iPhone, you can use AirDrop. The top section of the sharing menu is devoted to AirDrop. Any nearby friends in your contacts list will show up here. Simply tap their icon and they'll be prompted to open the web page on their device.

10
How to Block Ads on All Websites

This one is becoming a more popular option as web pages fill up with so many advertisements that they actually slow down the process of loading the page to a crawl. One good thing about most ad blockers is the ability to "whitelist" a website, which means you can block ads but tell the blocker to allow ads on your favorite sites to make sure the publisher gets the needed advertisement revenue to keep the website afloat.

Unfortunately, blocking ads isn't the most straightforward process. First, you'll need to search for an ad blocker on the App Store. When you find one you want, you need to turn it on in the iPad's settings. You can do this by opening the Settings app, choosing Safari settings from the left-side menu, tapping "Content Blockers" and then turning the specific ad blocker on in the content blockers page.

Confused? Read our guide to blocking ads on the iPad. Or you can read the next tip to find out how to block ads for a single page.

11
Read an Article Without the Ads

You don't need an ad blocker to strip ads out of an article. The Safari browser has a reader mode that will combine text and pictures without the advertisements to give you a good, clean read. And you don't need to do anything special to set it up. Simply tap the button of horizontal lines next to the web address in the search bar. This button will reformat the page to be much more readable.

12
Search the Web or Search the Web Page

The search bar at the top of the Safari browser actually does quite a bit more than simply search Google for whatever you type into it or go to a specific page when you type in a  web address. It can also suggest websites and show matching websites from your saved bookmarks or our web history.

Want to search the web page itself? The search bar's results also shows "on this page", which matches the phrase you type in to every time it is used on the page you are visiting. You'll even get backwards and forwards buttons to move through every instance of the word or phrase throughout the entire page.

13
Request the Desktop Website

It would be nice to think the iPad has been around long enough and is popular enough that most websites give us pages that take into account the larger real estate on our screen, but some websites still load up the somewhat-limited smartphone or mobile website. In these instances, its nice to know we can request the 'full' website.

You can load the desktop version of the website by tapping and holding the "refresh" button next to the search bar. This is the button that has an arrow going in a semi-circle. If you tap and hold the button, a menu will appear giving you the "Request Desktop Site" option.