Safari Redesign & Changes in iOS 15

Apple has released its new version – iOS15 – for beta testing, and there are some noticeable differences to previous iOS versions. These changes directly impact user experience, and could impact how your website is viewed by users. Keep reading to see an overview of the changes. 

Safari Changes 

One of the main changes in the update is the core UI in Safari. All UI for interacting with web pages has been moved to the bottom of the screen – including the URL bar. In the current Safari, the URL bar appears at the top of the screen, and tools appear at the bottom of the screen e.g. the back button and share button) – however these two toolbars have now been compacted into one floating toolbar at the bottom of the screen. 

This has likely been done to allow for users to browse and input URLs when using their device with only one hand. And although this change is unique and unlike something we’ve seen before in a UI, it has its drawbacks. 

Firstly, the floating element requires extra empty space – drawing more attention which could disrupt the user experience. Not only that, but it appears in a position that is commonly scrolled in or tapped in – which means users may accidentally tap the URL bar or buttons when they don’t mean to. 

However, since releasing the Beta 4 version Apple has taken on feedback and in Beta 6 have added a switch back to having a top-oriented URL bar if you prefer that. You can change where the tab bar sits by going into your Settings app and choosing whether it appears at the top or bottom of the Safari interface. 

Image source: 9to5mac 

Tab Swipes & Tab Groups 

You can now seamlessly swipe between multiple tabs – swiping left and right to move between tabs that you have open. What’s more, the tab bar minimizes to the bottom of the app – which you can tap back to make it reappear. This makes it great for accessibility and allows users to easily reach different web pages quickly, especially if viewing on larger models of the iPhone. 

There is also a new tab management tool allowing users to have ‘tab groups’. You can access these new Safari Tabs by either tapping the double square icon, or by swiping up on the tab bar. You can rearrange tabs, add new tabs, and customise them. 

Safari Extensions 

Safari is now set to have support from extensions – including content blockers and more. These extensions will be able to be downloaded and installed through the App Store. We will likely see developers build early support for this over the coming months.

Landscape View Tabs 

When you use your iPhone in landscape mode, you’ll see a Mac-style tab bar at the top of the screen – showing your open tabs. This makes it easier for you to move between them. 

Pull Down Refresh 

To refresh your page, you will be able to pull down on the page – rather than previously having to press the refresh arrow. This makes it much easier to do. 

HTTPS Upgrade 

Safari will automatically upgrade sites that are known to support HTTPS from HTTP. Apple is implementing Intelligent Tracking Prevention which will prevent trackers and sites from tracking users across the web. It will also allow you to hide your IP address. Having HTTPS means that your website is secure, and can be the difference between users purchasing from you or using your competitors. Need to make your site secure? Contact our experts who can help. 

Why Are There Big Changes? 

One of the main aims of these changes is to make the browser easier to use when using one hand. Apple has likely listened to user feedback and wants to make the browser even more accessible. What’s more, the browser UI is completely unique – which we all know Apple likes to do.  
Having a mobile friendly website is vital, and if your website is not device responsive, it may result in your users going elsewhere. Get your website mobile friendly by contacting our website developers today who can create a successful mobile friendly website for your business.

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Rebecca helps to keep the team organised and supports all of our clients with day to day activities and content. She also runs all of Ballyhoo's internal marketing.