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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.

Full-screen Mode

As bright and clear as the screen on an iPhone or iPod touch may be, it's still small--there's just not a lot of room for webpages to breathe. New to the iPhone and iPod touch in iOS 6 is full-screen mode--but only if you're viewing a webpage in landscape orientation. Just click the full-screen (opposing arrows) button in the bottom-right corner of the screen, and Safari's address bar and toolbar disappear, giving the current webpage a good amount of additional space.

Though Safari's toolbar is hidden while in full-screen mode, three new, semi-transparent buttons appear at the bottom of the screen: forward and back for page navigation, and a button for exiting full-screen mode.

New tab limit

Prior to iOS 6, Safari let you open up to eight pages simultaneously on the iPhone and iPod touch, and up to nine tabs at once on the iPad. The eight-page limit remains on Apple's smaller iOS devices, but on the iPad, you can now open up to 24 tabs.

Other Changes

Finally, iOS 6 adds a couple improvements that are easy to miss. Apple says that iOS 6's Safari offers significantly better JavaScript performance compared to Safari in iOS 5. And in iOS 6, if you tap an iTunes Store or App Store link on a webpage, you'll be able to preview the linked product page right within Safari, rather than being immediately whisked away to the appropriate store app.


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