Everything new in Safari in iOS 16: shared tab groups, extension sync, web push notifications and more

Everything new in Safari in iOS 16: shared tab groups, extension sync, web push notifications and more

The Safari update for iOS 16 builds on the Tab Groups feature introduced in “iOS 16” and adds some much-needed quality of life and security improvements.

This guide covers all the new features in Safari in “iOS 16” and iPadOS 16.

Tab group updates

Tab groups, introduced in iOS 15, let you organize your tabs and save them in different segments that you can switch between. For example, if you are planning a trip, you can save all your tabs in a “Travel” group. In iOS 16, Apple takes Tab Groups even further with new features.

Pinned tabs

Pinned tabs are now available in iOS 16 and iPadOS 16 and can be used in tab groups. If you have tabs in your tab group that you want to keep open all the time, pinning is an option. To pin a tab to a tab group in ‘iOS 16’, open the tab group, long press on the URL bar in Safari and select the ‘Pin Tab’ option.

pin tab ios 16 tab groups

Home Pages tab group

Each tab group has its own separate home page in ‘iOS 16’, so you can have different favorites, frequently visited sites and other options unique to each group of tabs.

ios 16 home tab group

The home page can be accessed by going to the tab view and then pressing the “+” button to open a blank page. If you scroll all the way down, you can tap “Edit” to customize your tab group home page. You must have active the tab group you want to customize, as this is a process that must be performed for each tab group separately.

Shared Tab Groups

Any tab group you create can now be shared with friends and family, allowing multiple people to contribute links and collaborate. Anyone can add tabs and see the tab group update immediately.

ios 16 shared tab groups

A tab group can be shared by tapping the share sheet icon at the top of the tab view and then selecting a person to share it with. You can send an invitation with messages and then see who is participating in the tab group UI.

master key

Passkeys are intended to replace traditional passwords when logging into websites or apps, and Apple intends to introduce passkeys beginning with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura.

Passkey feature Orange 1

Passkeys are next-generation credentials that are more secure and easier to use than passwords because they use a dual authentication key system. One key is public and stored on the website server while the second key is private and stored on the device. On the iPhone and other devices with biometric authentication, Face ID or Touch ID is used to authorize the passkey to authenticate the user to the website. The keys must match to allow login, and since the second key is private and only available to the user, it cannot be stolen, leaked, or phished.

Passkeys rely on iCloud Keychain, which in turn requires two-factor authentication for further protection. Passkeys are synced across all of a user’s devices via the ‌iCloud‌ keychain, which is end-to-end encrypted with its own cryptographic keys.

Passkeys work on all Apple devices, but Apple is also working with companies like Microsoft and Google to ensure Passkeys can be used with non-Apple devices as well.

sync extension

If you’ve downloaded an extension on another device, you can see it in Safari preferences on your “iPhone” thanks to Extension Sync, a new feature of “iOS 16”.

Sync ios 16 extension

Once installed, the extension syncs across devices, so you only need to activate it once. Extensions are listed in the Settings app under Safari > Extensions. Extensions that are not present on your device are listed in the On Other Devices section for your easy download.

If you don’t want to share extensions across devices, you can disable the option in the same Settings section.

Web Push Notifications

Website push notifications have been available through Safari on Mac for a while, but in ‘iOS 16’ these push notifications will also be available on ‘iPhone’ and iPad.

Support for web push notifications will not be available at the launch of “iOS 16” as the feature will be available in an update later this year.

Like on Mac, web notifications are available on an opt-in basis and you can choose websites for which you want to receive notifications.

Sync website settings

Your site settings like page zoom, auto reading view and more are now synced across devices so you only have to set your preferences once. If you don’t want to share website settings across devices, you can turn this off in the Safari section of the Settings app.

Share safari across devices ios 16

Strong password handling

When you create a website account with Safari, Safari will suggest a strong password that you can sync with Keychain from ‌iCloud‌. Unfortunately, some websites have specific requirements, such as a certain number of symbols or capital letters, that strong passwords don’t always meet.

Edit Safari secure password

With “iOS 16” there is an option to edit strong passwords so you can customize them as needed to suit the needs of the website.

focus filter

Apple added a new focus option called Filter in iOS 16. Filters are designed to allow users to filter out content in apps and view a specific Safari tab group or email account. If you’re using a Focus with a filter set, the app with the filter only shows what you’ve selected and hides everything else.

ios 16 focus filter 1

For Safari, you can select any tab group account to associate with a focus. When you’re in this focus, Safari shows only the group of tabs you’ve selected, with a filter set.

Make the subject stand out from the background

‌iOS 16‌ has a fun feature that lets you drag subjects directly from pictures, and it works in the Safari app. Open a web page with any image, long press on the image, then select the “Copy Subject” option.

Safari isolate theme ios 16

Your ‌iPhone‌ will automatically copy the main subject of the image and you can then paste it elsewhere, such as the Messages app.

Feedback Guide

Have questions about Safari in “iOS 16”, know of a feature we left out, or have feedback on this guide? Email us here.

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