Customize Safari startup page and new tab page on the Mac

How fast can you start your web browser and access the sites and content you want? If you don’t immediately see what you need, customize Safari startup page and new tabs with sites and links.

With every new version of macOS, Apple tweaks Safari and adds great new features. The Safari startup page and the new tab page are more customizable than ever. Let’s see how to make them work the way you want and enable you to get to your favorite sites and content faster.

There is more to Safari’s startup and new tab pages than you might think and they can be very plain and simple, but super fast to display, or you can fill them out by adding bookmarks, Siri suggestions and links to recently visited sites. What you show on the start and tab pages is up to you and different people have different needs, so there is no right or wrong way, just your way.

If you have not recently checked out the startup options, it is time you took another look because they may have changed since you last looked. It only takes a few minutes to completely redesign the startup, new window and new tab pages and it might make web browsing simpler and quicker by placing what you need on these pages.

1 Customize Safari startup page

Customize Safari startup page in preferences on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Select what Safari opens with

Open Safari bowser on the Mac and go to Safari > Preferences > General. Click Safari opens with and choose one of the four options. Open a new window with nothing in it or a private browsing window that has no identity or history. I prefer A new window.

2 Choose favorites for new windows

Startup options in Safari browser preferences on the Apple Mac: Screenshot

We have set Safari to open a new window. Click New windows open with and you can choose what appears in the window, like Start Page, Home Page, Empty Page, Same Page or Favorites.

If you have only a few sites saved in Safari’s Favorites bar, selecting Tabs for Favorites on this menu can be a useful way to open those favorite websites each time Safari is started. However, if you have 50+ sites in the Favorites bar, Safari will try to open 50+ tabs on startup! I made this mistake.

Select Choose tabs folder to stop Safari opening every site in Favorites. You get a small window like this.

Select the startup tabs in Safari on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Select a bookmarks folder to show on startup

This enables you to choose which folder in Favorites, Bookmarks or Safari Menu to use when Safari starts up. (You do organize bookmarks into folders don’t you? No? Best start now!) I chose the Apple news folder, which has half a dozen websites bookmarked. Now when I open Safari, I see the latest news on tabs.

You could create a special startup folder in Favorites (go to Bookmarks > Edit Bookmarks) containing the websites you want to see in new tabs or new windows or select an existing folder.

For now, select Favourites for new tabs. Favourites are websites you have bookmarked.

Safari startup settings on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Safari startup settings

Here are my startup settings for Safari. Opening the browser opens my Apple news favorites, but opening a new tab opens an empty page.

3 Start Safari with the Start page

Startup options in Safari browser preferences on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Start with the Start page in safari

Another startup option for new Safari windows and for new tabs is to select the Start page. It can be selected for one or both. This is what you see when opening Safari or a new tab:

Safari Start page on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Safari Start page

All of the elements shown here can be customized and they can be shown or hidden. Click the icon in the bottom right corner of the Safari browser to show a menu.

Safari Start page options on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Safari Start page settings

Simply use the checkboxes to choose what you want to see on the Start page and they will be displayed when Safari is started or a new tab is opened. You can show or hide the Favorites, Frequently Visited, Siri Suggestions and other sections in the new window or new tab page.

After configuring the startup and new tab preferences, open a new window or tab. Ctrl+click an empty space on the page to access a menu.

Safari start page on the Apple Mac: Screenshot
Left click and Ctrl+click Safari Start page items

Left clicking items, such as Favorites folders opens them. Left clicking websites opens them. Try Ctrl+clicking items because some of them show a menu with useful options. For example, you could open s folder of Favorites in separate tabs: Ctrl+click then click Open in New Tabs.

If there are more items than will fit in the window, there is a Show More option. For example, there are more frequently visited sites than can be seen, so click Show More to see them or Show Less if there are too many.

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