Safari Gains Favicon Support in Tabs on iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

Apple at its WWDC keynote on Monday previewed iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, both of which feature Safari 12.


The latest version of Apple's web browser adds long-awaited support for favicons, which are the tiny icons that appear to the left of website page titles, in tabs and the bookmark bar. In many cases, a favicon is a website's or brand's logo.

Microsoft was first to support favicons with Internet Explorer in 1999, and Chrome and Firefox have displayed favicons for many years as well, so this was a long time coming for Safari. Apple confirmed the feature on the What's New in Safari page of its website, alongside a handful of other improvements.

Favicons may seem like a trivial new feature in Safari 12, but as John Gruber noted last year, many people used Chrome or other alternatives explicitly because Apple's web browser lacked support for the tiny icons.

I really can't say this strongly enough: I think Safari's lack of favicons in tabs, combined with its corresponding crumminess when displaying a dozen or more tabs in a window, is the single biggest reason why so many Mac users use Chrome.

Favicons are useful because they make tabs more visually distinguishable, especially for users with several tabs open at once. And, in bookmark bars, it is possible to simply display favicons instead of having lengthier website names, allowing for many more bookmarks to fit within the viewable area.

Favicons are not displayed by default, so the feature must be enabled in the browser's preferences on Mac or via the Settings app on iOS devices.

Mac:

  • Open Safari.

  • Click on Safari > Preferences in the Menu bar.

  • Click on Tabs.

  • Check the box beside "show website icons in tabs."

iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch:

  • Open the Settings app.

  • Tap on Safari.

  • Toggle on Show Icons in Tabs.

Safari 12 is preinstalled on iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, available now in beta for registered Apple developers. It will also be available to download on the latest versions of macOS High Sierra and macOS Sierra in the fall.

Tag: Safari

Top Rated Comments

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27 months ago
This is oddly written. Safari always supported favicons in various ways. They just don’t use them on tabs.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago

I believe they supported it up until El Capitan or so. It's not like Safari never had support for favicons. It did, they removed it, and now it's back.

Favicons have always been supported, as others have mentioned already. The Safari team had just changed the browser to only display them in certain contexts. I think they were aiming for a clean, clutter-free appearance of Safari, something that is opposite to the direction other browsers were going in.

They were really trying to avoid Safari becoming a headache this, but clearly they went too far, and displaying the favicon is useful after all.



Score: 16 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
Wow.... they introduced a feature everyone else had a decade ago.

A feature so common that I never even actively think about it.

Glad Apple figured out how to do this. Always late to the party. But given enough time, Apple will get around to figuring out how to get where everybody else has been.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
Glad it's optional. I don't need my tab-bar looking like Halloween.
Score: 10 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago

Wow.... they introduced a feature everyone else had a decade ago.

A feature so common that I never even actively think about it.

Glad Apple figured out how to do this. Always late to the party. But given enough time, Apple will get around to figuring out how to get where everybody else has been.

I believe they supported it up until El Capitan or so. It's not like Safari never had support for favicons. It did, they removed it, and now it's back.
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
27 months ago
Finally!
Score: 7 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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