Create Start pages for Safari tab groups on the iPhone

Are you a tab fan? Do you have dozens of web browser tabs open at the same time? Organize them into groups and create a custom Start page for Safari tab groups on the iPhone. Sync them to your Mac.

It is hard to imagine browsing the web without tabs and they are surely one of the best, if not the best, feature in web browsers ever. Some people have 50 or more tabs open at once and maybe more.

Keeping track of so many tabs, especially on an iPhone with a much smaller screen than a Mac, is not easy or fun. It is a pain. However, there are features that are designed to make multiple tabs easier to work with.

In Safari, tabs can be organized into groups. For example, if you regularly check the news each day on several websites, they can all be put into a group and named, such as News. You can then easily access all the news sites by opening the News tab group.

Using tab groups is better than having none, but the feature seems a bit overly complicated and confusing, especially when it comes to syncing tab groups across devices. Hopefully, this is a feature that will be refined over time.

Let’s take a look at the current state of Safari tab groups on the iPhone. Did you know you can create a custom Start page for each tab group? That Start page can contain its own website favorites and other features.

1: Use the tabs button

Tabs in Safari on the iPhone: Screenshot
Press the tabs button in Safari

Just one tab is open here, but this will work no matter how many tabs are open. In fact, opening several tabs is a quick way to populate a tab group with websites. However, let’s continue with one tab.

2: Show the tab menu

Tab menu in Safari on the iPhone: Screenshot
Press and hold X Tabs at the bottom

At the bottom of the screen, it says X Tabs. In my case, there is just 1 Tab, but there could be many tabs open. Don’t tap, press and hold on the tabs number at the bottom of the screen until a menu like this opens.

Your menu might look slightly different to mine because I already have some named tab groups. You might have differently named tab groups or even no tab groups.

Press New Empty Tab Group at the top of the menu to create a tab group containing no websites. Press new Tab Group From X Tabs to create a tab group with however many tabs are currently open.

Create a new tab group and the default Safari Start page is added to it.

Press an existing tab group and it shows the tabs in that group, which may or may not have a Start page. I will select an existing tab group that does not have a Start page.

3: Add Safari tab groups Start page

A tab group in Safari on the iPhone showing website tiles: Screenshot
Websites in a tab group in Safari

Websites in the tab group are displayed as thumbnail images. If a tab group does not have its own Start page, press the plus button in the bottom left corner of the screen to add one to it.

4: Add favorites to Start

Safari tab group Start page on the iPhone: Screenshot
The Start page for a tab group

The content of your Start page will be different from mine, but it will have similar sections. For example, it will have a Favorites section, a Frequently visited section, and at the top is My Tabs Favorites – My Tabs is the name of my tab group.

Press the plus button to add favorite websites to the Start page. Customizing it by adding favorites makes it unique to this tab group.

5: Select a bookmark

Browse bookmarks to add to the Start page favorites in Safari on the iPhone: Screenshot
Add favorites to a tab group Start page

Your Safari bookmarks are displayed and you can browse them and tap one to select it as a Start page favorite.

6: Build up favorites

Favorites on the tab group Start page in Safari on the iPhone: Screenshot
Add sites to Favorites on the Safari Start page

Repeat the process and add more favorites to the Start page. Select websites that belong to the same category. For example, add news sites to a news tab group, gaming sites to a games tab group, sports sites to a sports tab group.

Fvaorites you add apply only to this Start page in this tab group. You can repeat the process with a different tab group and have different favorites.

7: Start page editing

Edit a Safari Start page on the iPhone
Edit the Safari Start page

Scroll down to the bottom of the Start page and there is an Edit button that enables you to choose what elements are displayed on the Start page. Press it.

8: Customize the Start page

Select the content you want to see on Safari Start pages: Screenshot
Choose what to see on Safari Start pages

The Customize Start Page screen enables you to make global configuration changes. Favorites are specific to each tab group, but any changes here are made to all Start pages everywhere.

Enable Start Page on All Devices to sync your tab groups and Start page settings to other devices like an iPad and a Mac. Use the other switches to customize the Start page contents. It is a shame you cannot customize individual Start pages with these options, but who knows, maybe that will come in the future.

Repeat everything here with each tab group you have. Add a Start page if the group does not have one, and customize it with favorites.

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