How to reopen a recently closed tab in Safari on iOS

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Reopen recently closed tabs in Safari.
None of these Tabs is yet open.
Photo: Joe Shlabotnik/Flickr CC

You’ve done it. We’ve all done it. You’ve closed a tab in Safari and instantly realized that it was the wrong one.

It’s not the end of the world. You can open a fresh tab and schlep over to the history panel to hunt down that URL. Or, if you remember something about the title of the page, you can start typing it into Safari’s URL bar and watch for suggestions that match. But there’s a much easier way to access all your recently closed Safari tabs — and it’s just one long-press away.

How to access recently closed tabs in Safari for iOS

This trick works on both the Mac and on iOS devices. All you need to do is long-press (or long-click on the Mac) the + icon, aka the New Tab icon. Do that, and up will pop a panel with a list of the tabs you closed since the last Safari relaunch. If you force-quit Safari for any reason, this list will be wiped (which could be handy if you’ve been up to no good on someone else’s device).

One long press is all it takes.
One long press is all it takes.
Photo: Cult of Mac

If you want to use this trick on the Mac, you just long-click on the same New Tab icon, the one at the far right of Safari’s tab bar. Then mouse over to pick the tab you’re looking for.

On the iPhone, there’s one extra step. Because the New Tab button is hidden in the default Safari view, you first must hit the Show Tabs button — the one with a square overlapping another square. Once you are in the tab overview, you can long-press the big + button that appears at bottom center.

And that’s it. You can’t do much other than tap on one of the list entries to reopen that tab, but that’s often all you want. And if you’ve accessed this list with a long-press, then that’s exactly what you want to do.

More mobile Safari tricks

Make two taps in the URL bar? Not me. I just want to Paste and Go.
Make two taps in the URL bar? Not me. I just want to Paste and Go.
Photo: Cult of Mac

Mobile Safari is packed with neat little tricks like this. For instance, have you ever long-pressed the URL bar? Do that, and you get the option to copy the URL or, if there’s something on your clipboard already, to Paste and Go, which is a great shortcut for searching or landing a URL.

Check out all the things you can do with tabs!
Check out all the things you can do with tabs!
Photo: Cult of Mac

Or try long-pressing on the Bookmark icon to quickly add a new bookmark (or addd the current page to your reading list). Have a look around, because you’ll probably find something you didn’t know about. Like all the handy options available under the Show Tabs icon. You should definitely check out that one.

  • Ian Goss

    Thanks!