Why Mobile Safari Doesn’t Have A Unified Address Bar Like In Mountain Lion

Why Mobile Safari Doesn’t Have A Unified Address Bar Like In Mountain Lion

Expect mobile Safari’s address bar to look like this for some time.

One of the improvements Apple made to Safari 6.0 was to take the search and address bars and roll them into one — just like a lot of popular web browsers do. The change hasn’t been made to the mobile Safari app, though, which is puzzling, because it’s a more efficient use of screen space on a smaller display.

But there is a good reason for that omission.

Open up mobile Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch, and tap on the address bar. Then hit cancel and tap on the search bar. You’ll notice that the keyboard changes slightly depending on which bar you’re using.

With the search bar, you get a spacebar at the bottom of the keyboard, but with the address bar you get a period, a forward slash, and a ‘.com’ button. The first makes it easy to search using more than one word, while the second makes it quicker and easier to enter URLs — without switching between different keyboards manually.

Why Mobile Safari Doesn’t Have A Unified Address Bar Like In Mountain Lion

This is why Apple hasn’t unified the search and address bars in mobile Safari.

Some third-party browsers extend the keyboard. Google Chrome, for example, leaves the spacebar at the bottom of the keyboard, but provides you with other buttons in an extra row across the top of the keyboard.

Why Mobile Safari Doesn’t Have A Unified Address Bar Like In Mountain Lion

So why doesn’t Apple do this with Safari? Well, it looks nasty — especially on older iOS devices which have smaller displays. And as we know, Apple’s not going to add something that looks nasty. It never extends the virtual keyboard, in any app, so it’s not going to make an exception for mobile Safari.

With that said, you probably won’t see a unified address bar in mobile Safari for quite some time.

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  • mr_bee

    We can only hope that this means they will finally start to give us access to the keyboard and the dictionary in a later version of iOS in order to fix this.

  • Steve Peterson

    Why isn’t there a full-screen mode for Safari under iOS 6 on the iPad?

  • MrMLK

    I certainly hope that this isn’t the case. Please tell me that they had a better reason then no one at Apple could think of a keyboard that would work for both entry types. Like, for example, the keyboard they already have in the Messages App for address entry. It already has a full keyboard, a space and a period. All they would need to do is to replace the “@” symbol with a “/”.

  • Jonathan Ober

    “And as we know, Apple’s not going to add something that looks nasty.” – **cough** ios 6 maps **cough**

  • hanhothi

    I don’t want a unified bar. I am not sure about this, but I don’t want Google (my default search provider) spying on everything I type in to my address bar. Love their maps, hate big brother!

  • CharilaosMulder

    Never thought of it, very reasonable though.

  • iHKDesign

    “And as we know, Apple’s not going to add something that looks nasty.” – **cough** ios 6 maps **cough**

    No one is complaining about the look. The new maps are beautiful.

  • fpocha

    Or it could be because the unified search/address bar relies on instant suggetions of the most relevant search terms/websites – something that would be hard to implement especially when devices have slow/spotty network connections. Just a thought…

  • Dave Marks

    Plus you have to clear the URL each time you type in that field which is frustrating and a fiddle at the best of times!

About the author

Killian BellKillian Bell is a freelance writer based in the UK. He has an interest in all things tech, but most enjoys covering Apple, anything mobile, and gaming. You can follow him on Twitter via @killianbell, or through his website.

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