All the keyboard shortcuts you’ll ever need for Safari on iPad

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iPad keyboard shortcuts safari
Control mobile Safari without taking your hands off the keyboard.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

Safari on the Mac is almost entirely controllable by the keyboard. You can open tabs, navigate forms on the page, and search through pages. And even if there’s no built-in shortcut, the Mac lets you add custom shortcuts to any menu item. The iPad isn’t quite so well-served, but you’d be surprised at just how many keyboard shortcuts there are for Safari on the iPad. In fact, there are so many great shortcuts that you may even forget you’re not using a Mac. Let’s take a look.

Navigation keyboard shortcuts for mobile Safari

Getting around mobile Safari with the keyboard is super-easy. Here are the shortcuts:

  • ⌘T — Open new tab
  • ⌘W — Close tab
  • ⌘N — Open split view
  • ⇧⌘] and ⇧⌘[ or Ctrl-Tab and Ctrl-⇧-Tab — Next/Previous Tab
  • Ctrl-⇧-\ — Show all tabs
  • ⌘[ and ⌘] or ⌘→ and ⌘← — Back/forward
  • Space bar — Scroll down a page (⇧-Space reverses the direction).
  • ⌘↑ and ⌘↓ — Scroll to beginning/end of page
  • ←↑→↓ — Scroll web page (← and → work when zoomed in)

These all come directly from the Mac. ⌘N — or Open split view – is the equivalent to opening a new window on the Mac. The Show all tabs command also works on the Mac (give it a try). This is the same as pinching-in on mobile Safari to show the zoomed-out tab view. Once you get there, though, you’ll have to take your fingers off the keyboard to tap one of those mini windows. You can’t use the arrow keys, or the Tab key, to cycle through them, which seems like an oversight. Hit Ctrl-⇧- again, or the Escape key, to cancel this view.

Utility shortcuts

There are even shortcuts to activate the sidebar, and the tab overview.
There are even shortcuts to activate the sidebar, and the tab overview.
Photo: Cult of Mac
  • ⌘L ⌘L — Open location
  • ⌘F — Find in page
  • ⌘R — Reload page
  • ⌘ ⇧R — Show/hide Reader view
  • ⇧⌘L — Show/hide sidebar
  • ⇧⌘D — Add to Reading List

⌘L — open location — places a cursor in the URL field, ready to type an address, or perform a search. When you begin to type, Safari will pop up the usual list of recent searches, search suggestions, as well as matches from your bookmarks and history. You can choose any of these using the arrow keys.

Find is as powerful on iOS as it is on the Mac.
Find is as powerful on iOS as it is on the Mac.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Find in page — ⌘F — brings up a dedicated search bar at the bottom of the screen. It’s the same one you’ll see if you go to the trouble of searching in the page by tapping, only it’s a lot easier to get to. You can also flip through the search results using ⌘G and ⇧⌘G, stepping forward and back, with the page scrolling to the highlighted text each time.

Show/hide sidebar — ⇧⌘L — slides the combined bookmarks/history/Reading List/Shared Links pane out from the left side, and puts it back again. Like the zoomed-out tab view, you’ll have to bust out a finger to touch the screen if you want open any of those links. And while regular bookmarking with ⌘D doesn’t work, ⇧⌘D will save the current page to your Reading List.

What it doesn’t have

As well as the lack of cursor-arrow control in the tab overview, and the bookmark sidebar, mobile Safari doesn’t support opening bookmarks in the bookmarks bar using ⌘1, ⌘2, etc., like the Mac. Other than that, though, the iOS version of Safari has some pretty comprehensive keyboard coverage. It’s more than enough for the average user, and even the power user won’t feel too frustrated.

  • Safari has gotten so bad lately that I moved entirely to Opera…blows away Safari! I am really surprised how bad Safari has gotten…

    • daniele.mcgarry@mail.ru

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  • OrdinaryUser

    Fully agree with Larry, Safari is a world-class POS which has come (to me) to represent the uselessness of Apple. For months now, every time Safari tries to load a BrightCove video, it freezes and brings down OSX with it. 100% re-creatable. .

    Chrome just doesn’t have crap like this going on so it’s back to Chrome for me. Pity because I prefer the design and graphics handling of Safari and it uses less memory even if it is noticeably slower than any other browser out there, but if they can’t build a browser which loads what many of the UK online newspapers use without falling over itself then it’s no good to me at all. Typical of Apple these days… ‘It just works” hasn’t been true for a long time. It’s all about greed and being the school bully now. Top class prices but 3rd-rate engineering. Every time a winner these days

    Well done Timmy, top job, their whole management team looks more like a used car salesman’s convention every day..

    • Hey, OrdinaryUser, just for giggles I opened the BrightCove website and the videos play just fine in Safari. Nothing hanged or freezed as you can see I was even able to leave this comment.

      • OrdinaryUser

        That’s weird. I just went to BC. Front page, first video – CRASH. Board drawing the to back. Can’t even find the Safari logs, dammit. God I hate Apple… Thanks for the assist though – appreciated.

      • Bart Slartifast

        Another faultless Safari BrightCove experience here.

        Use Console in Utilities for the logs.