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Hands on with iOS 6: Safari

Dan Frakes | Sept. 21, 2012
Safari for iOS was already perhaps the best mobile browser on the market. But in iOS 6, Apple has added a few features that provide much-requested functionality, as well as some minor tweaks that improve performance.

In iOS 6, Reading List is much more useful. Now, whenever you add an article to your Reading List, the entire article--text, images, layout, you name it--is saved to your device and synced to your other iCloud-enabled devices and computers. In other words, assuming each of those devices and computers have at some point connected to the Internet to sync the latest Reading List changes, you'll be able to access and read your saved articles, even if you're offline.

To add the currently viewed article to your Reading List in iOS, you just tap the Share button in Safari and then tap Add To Reading List. If you want to add a link on the current page, without having to visit the link first, just tap and hold the link until a menu appears, and then tap Add To Reading List in that menu.

On the iPad, you get a third option: When viewing the Reading List, you can add the frontmost webpage by tapping the plus-sign (+) button at the top of the list. (On your Mac, you just choose Bookmarks -> Add To Reading List, or press Shift+Command+D.)

To access your Reading List on an iPhone or iPod touch, you tab the Bookmarks button in Safari and then tap Reading List. (If you're already in a sub-list in the Bookmarks list, tap the left-facing arrow until you get to the top level, titled Bookmarks.) On an iPad, you tap the Bookmarks button and then tap the Reading List (glasses) icon at the bottom of the Bookmarks popover. You can access a similar list on your Mac by clicking the Reading List (glasses) icon in Safari's toolbar.

Each saved article displays its favicon (site icon), article title, and a brief summary. Tapping Unread at the top of the list shows only unread articles, newest at the top; tapping All shows all articles (with read articles slightly grayed out). Tap any article to open it. To delete an item from your Reading List in iOS, simply swipe to the right over the article name and then tap the Delete button that appears.

Safari's Reading List feature still isn't as good as services such as Instapaper and Pocket, which offer more features and better article-reading layouts, but Reading List is at least now more useful than a list of bookmarks.

(Note that the offline feature of Reading List is available only on the iPhone 4 or later and the iPad 2 or later.)

Media Uploading

One of the most-requested features added to Safari in iOS 6 is media uploading. When using a website that allows you to upload photos or videos--for example, Ebay, Craigslist, or a photo-sharing site--tapping the Upload or Choose File button on a webpage gives you the option to choose an existing photo or video from your Photos library, or to take a photo or video using your device's camera. For the former, you just navigate to an album and then tap on the image you want to use; it's immediately uploaded to the site. For the latter, after you take the photo or video, if you're satisfied with the way it turned out, tap the Use button to upload it.

 

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