Apple walks back many contentious Safari for Mac changes

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Apple walks back most Safari for Mac redesign changes
If you wish, you can make Safari in macOS Monterey look like it does in macOS Big Sur.
Photo: Apple

Apple threw in the towel on its efforts to change the way Mac users interact with the Safari web browser. Most of the design modifications unveiled at this summer’s Worldwide Developers Conference to emphasize tabs are now completely optional as a result of protests from beta testers.

The latest revisions appear in the release candidates for macOS Monterey, which went to developers Monday.

Safari in macOS Monterey is less modified

Earlier betas of macOS Monterey include a Safari Tab Bar with the tabs separated by spaces. This wasn’t popular, so the release candidate that went out Monday removes the spaces so the bar looks like it did with macOS Big Sur.

Apple calls this layout Separate, and it’s the default setting. But users can instead choose a Compact option that combines the Address Bar with the Tab Bar. That latter option was originally the default for Safari in macOS Monterey before beta testers objected.

Tab Groups in Safari are available across your devices
Apple updated its own macOS Monterey intro page to reflect the modification to browser tabs.
Photo: Apple

Many changes remain changed

This doesn’t mean that Safari completely returned to what it was in macOS Big Sur. Monterey will still bring Tab Groups that aim to declutter the browsing experience. They enable users to group their tabs into categories and switch between them easily. These tab groups also populate automatically across the user’s iPad and iPhone.

iCloud Private Relay is still included, too. Part of iCloud+, this optional service disguises the user’s IP address, making it harder for websites to track their visitors.

macOS Monterey is nearly out of beta testing. Apple promised Monday it will release the new Mac operating system to the general public on October 25.