Every so often, a seemingly small bug in Apple's operating systems survives the company's annual OS launches and continues to cause users huge frustration from one software update to the next.

apple macos bigsur safari improvedtabs 06222020
The phenomenon of disappearing tabs in Safari is one such problem -– reports of multiple Safari tabs vanishing without a trace go back to at least iOS 13 and the issue still to this day blights the browser experience for some.

While there isn't an accepted solution to the problem of disappearing tabs, there are cases where it might seem that your tabs are gone, when in fact they are just hidden from view. Here are some ways that you may be able to get them back or stop them from disappearing in the first place.

Reveal Hidden Tabs

On iPadOS, for example, if you press and hold the Show Tab Overview button (four squares in a quadrant) in the top-right corner of the Safari window, this will reveal a dropdown menu that includes an option to Merge All Windows.

safari
Select this option, and all of your open tabs should appear in the current window, potentially including some that were not visible in the Tab Overview screen. Why this happens isn't entirely clear, but it may have something to do with the way iPadOS manages Safari windows that have been opened in Split View mode.

Reveal the Shelf

Another action worth trying on iPadOS is pressing and holding the Safari icon in the Dock or on the Home Screen and selecting Show All Windows from the popup menu that appears.

shelf
This will reveal any open windows in a shelf directly above the Dock, allowing you to switch between them and potentially reveal any tabs that had gotten lost.

Recently Closed Tabs

If you have an inkling that some of the tabs you're missing have been inadvertently closed, you can always use the Recently Closed Tabs option to re-open them. All you have to do is open up the tab view in Safari and long press on the "+" icon to get a look at all of the tabs that you've recently closed.


Even if you're aware of the gesture, it's worth a reminder that this feature exists in case someone gets ahold of your phone and checks your browser. Even if you've closed out a tab, it's still going to be visible in Safari, unless you were using a private browser window or have cleared your browsing history.

Turn Off Auto-Close Tabs

If you still haven't been able to find some of your tabs, make sure that Safari isn't closing them after a certain duration on your behalf: Open Settings, tap through to Safari -> Close Tabs and ensure that Manually is selected.

safari tabs

Bookmark All Open Tabs

If the above suggestions haven't worked for you, there is a workaround: Consider bookmarking your open tabs after each browsing session. This might sound like more hassle than it's worth, but since iOS 13 Apple has included a one-tap option to just that.

safari tabs
If you're on iPhone, make sure you have a few tabs open in Safari that you want to reference at a later time. Now, select one of those tabs, and in the main browsing window, long press the Bookmark icon (it looks like an open book).

A popup menu will appear at the on the screen from which you can select Add Bookmarks for X Tabs, the X being the number of tabs open.

Once you've tapped this option, you'll be asked to save the tabs in a new bookmarks folder (remember to give it a recognizable name). Alternately, you can choose a location from the existing folder list in which to save the tabs.

safari
If you're on iPad, make sure you have a few tabs open in Safari, then simply press and hold on the address bar and select Add Bookmarks for X Tabs.

To access your bookmarks in Safari at any time, simply tap the Bookmarks icon in the main browsing interface or the sidebar to reveal all of your saved favorites and folders. Press and hold on the folder of bookmarks and select Open in New Tabs, or alternatively, Open in Tab Group if you want them grouped.

Tag: Safari

Related Stories

safari icon blue banner

macOS: How to Manage Multiple Open Safari Tabs

Friday January 21, 2022 1:29 pm PST by
Browser tabs in Safari are a great way to visit multiple webpages in the same browsing session without having to close any of them, which makes them particularly useful for cross-referencing and researching things online. But all too often, the number of tabs you have open can get out of control. This makes navigating them tricky and it can also sap system resources, so to avoid being...
safari icon blue banner

macOS: How to Share Safari Tab Groups

Wednesday November 9, 2022 3:31 pm PST by
In macOS Ventura, Apple allows you to share Tab Groups in Safari with colleagues, friends, and family. Keep reading to learn how it's done. Introduced in macOS Monterey, Tab Groups are designed to make organizing and preserving open tabs more manageable in Safari without having to have those tabs active. How to Use Safari Tab Groups in macOS In a Tab Group, you can easily collect and save...
iOS 16 Safari Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Share Safari Tab Groups

Wednesday August 17, 2022 9:12 am PDT by
In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple allows you to share Tab Groups in Safari. Keep reading to learn how it's done. Introduced in iOS 15, Tab Groups are designed to make organizing and preserving open tabs more manageable in Safari without having to have those tabs active. In a Tab Group, you can easily collect and save related tabs, whether the webpages are being used to help you plan a trip...
iOS 16 Safari Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Create Favorites Within a Safari Tab Group

Tuesday August 16, 2022 11:49 am PDT by
In iOS 16, Apple has made several enhancements to its Safari browser, including some new features when working within Tab Groups. One of these is the ability to select webpages from your bookmarks so that they appear as Favorites in the Start Page of any new tab that you open within a specific Tab Group. Here's how it works. If you're unfamiliar with Tab Groups, they provide a handy a way to ...
iOS 16 Safari Guide Feature

iOS 16: How to Pin Tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Tuesday August 16, 2022 10:03 am PDT by
In iOS 16 and iPadOS 16, Apple's Safari browser has inherited a handy feature from Safari on Mac – the ability to pin tabs. Keep reading to learn how it works on iPhone and iPad. Safari's pinned tabs feature lets you better organize your tabs, especially if find you have too many open at the same time. It's particularly useful if you have certain websites that you tend to visit frequently ...
safari macos icon banner

How to Use Safari Tab Groups in macOS

Tuesday December 14, 2021 4:56 pm PST by
In macOS Monterey, Tab Groups are a new Safari feature that aim to make organizing and preserving your open browser tabs more manageable without having to have those tabs active and taking up space. Tab Groups are a way to easily save and manage related tabs, such as those used when planning trips or shopping, or groups can be used to store the tabs you visit daily. If you're planning a...
iOS 16 Focus Feature

iOS 16: How to Limit Browsing to a Specific Safari Tab Group in Focus Mode

Tuesday August 2, 2022 10:39 am PDT by
Apple in iOS 15 introduced Focus mode, an expansion of Do Not Disturb that allows you to set up different permissions for apps, contacts, and more depending on what you're doing. In iOS 16, Apple has expanded what Focus modes can do with new features, including the ability to add Focus Filters. This article explains how Focus Filters can be used to associate a Safari Tab Group with a Focus....
General iOS Mail Feature

macOS: How to Undo Send in Apple Mail

Wednesday November 2, 2022 9:51 am PDT by
With the release of macOS Ventura, Apple updated its stock Mail app with several long-awaited features, including the ability to retrieve emails sent in error. This article explains how to use the new Undo Send Email feature. If you use Apple's Mail app for your email correspondence and you have macOS 13.0 or later installed on your Mac, keep in mind the Undo Send feature. Put simply, if ...

Popular Stories

iphone 14 pro hands snowflakes 1

Best Black Friday iPhone Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 1:55 pm PST by
Cellular carriers have always offered big savings on the newest iPhone models during the holidays, and Black Friday 2022 is no different. Even though Black Friday is officially over, we're still tracking notable offers on the iPhone 14 and iPhone 14 Pro devices from AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile. For even more savings, keep an eye on older models like the iPhone 13. Note: MacRumors is an...
General Black Friday Deals 2022 Green

All the Apple Black Friday Deals You Can Still Get

Friday November 25, 2022 4:40 am PST by
Although Black Friday is now technically over, many Apple products are still seeing major discounts through the weekend as we head into Cyber Monday. In this article, you'll find every Apple device with a notable Black Friday sale that's still available. We'll be updating as prices change and new deals arrive, so be sure to keep an eye out if you don't see the sale you're looking for yet. Note:...
ipad holiday bulbs

Best Black Friday iPad Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 12:25 pm PST by
Black Friday deals have been in full swing for the better part of a month, and even with the shopping holiday officially over, we're still seeing solid discounts on Apple devices. We're highlighting the best sales for all of Apple's product lines, and in this article you'll find the best Black Friday sales on iPad, iPad Pro, iPad Air, and iPad mini. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with ...
airpods pro 2

Apple Engineer Addresses Lack of Lossless Support on New AirPods Pro

Friday November 25, 2022 2:58 am PST by
An Apple engineer has addressed the lack of lossless audio support in the second-generation AirPods Pro in a new interview. Current Bluetooth technology in the AirPods lineup means that Apple's audio products do not support Apple Music Lossless audio. Apple has previously hinted that it may develop its own codec and connectivity standard that builds on AirPlay and supports higher quality...
mac imac snowflakes

Best Black Friday iMac and MacBook Deals Still Available

Thursday November 24, 2022 1:07 pm PST by
Our Black Friday coverage continues through the weekend with the best deals you can find on MacBook Pro, MacBook Air, and iMac. As with all Black Friday deals, we aren't sure how long any of these will last, and prices are always fluctuating, so if you see something you want, be sure to buy it soon. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate partner with some of these vendors. When you click a link and...
maxresdefault

Nothing Phone 1 Displays AirPods Battery Level After Latest OS Update

Friday November 25, 2022 3:33 am PST by
Nothing Phone 1 users today began receiving the Nothing OS 1.1.7 update, which adds support for displaying the battery percentage of connected AirPods, amongst other improvements and bug fixes. If you own a Nothing Phone 1, you can check for the OTA update by going to Settings -> System -> System updates. Bear in mind that as support for displaying AirPods battery level is still an...
apple watch gold ornaments

Best Black Friday Apple Watch Deals Still Available

Wednesday November 23, 2022 9:31 am PST by
We're tracking all of the best Apple product discounts for Black Friday as they continue through the weekend, and the Apple Watch always makes a great gift around the holiday season, so you're guaranteed to find solid discounts right now. In this article, you'll discover the best Black Friday sales on Apple Watch Series 8, Apple Watch SE, and Apple Watch Ultra. Note: MacRumors is an affiliate...