Mac Basics: Safari 6 in OS X Mountain Lion

Learn about using Safari 6 in Mountain Lion, as well as ways to personalize your browsing experience.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

The Safari 6 web browser window

Below is the Safari 6 window in OS X Mountain Lion. Some of the window elements can be customized, as described below.

  1. Show the previous page / Show the next page
  2. Show iCloud Tabs button – Click this to see the last webpages you browsed in Safari on your other iCloud-registered devices. Note: iCloud Tabs on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch requires iOS 6.
  3. Share button – Click it to send the webpage to the following:
  4. Smart Search field – Type in a word or phrase to search, a webpage address, title or bookmark.
  5. Bookmarks bar – Bookmark your favorite webpages so you can get to them quickly.
    • Tip: Use iCloud to sync your bookmarks with your other iCloud registered devices.
    • The following items are on its left side:
    •  = Show / Hide Reading List – A blue progress bar () will pass over the icon as the webpage is saved for offline reading.
    •  = Show / Hide Bookmarks and History.
    •  = Show Top Sites.
  6. Tabbed browsing bar – Shows webpages in tabs. To close a tab, click the button that appears in the left of the tab when the cursor hovers over it.
    • The following items are on its right side:
    •   = Add new webpage tab – Click to open a new tab
    •  = Show All Tabs – Click to show tabs in Tab View
  7. Reload / Cancel webpage loading – Click it to reload the webpage. Becomes the webpage load cancel button when webpage is loading.
    Tip: When in private browsing mode, the private banner () will appear just to the left of the reload button. Click it to exit private browsing.
  8. Reader button – Has the following states:
    •  = Webpage is reader capable – Click it to show Reader.
    •  = In Reader mode – Click it to hide Reader.
    •  = Webpage is not Reader capable.
  9. Download Popover button – Appears with a blue progress bar when you start a download and you will see a Safari icon fly across the screen to the downloads folder on the Dock. Click the Download Popover button to expose it, where you have these options.
    • Click the "X" icon to stop a download.
    • Click the orange resume icon to resume a download.
    • Click the magnifying glass icon to find the downloaded file on your Mac.

Tab View

New in Safari 6 is Tab View, which shows you all open tabs. 

Use one of these methods to show all tabs.

  • Click the "Show all tabs" button in the Tabbed browsing bar.
  • Pinch in with two fingers when you are viewing the webpage in its full size.
  • In Safari select View > Show All Tabs or press Shift-Command-\ (⇧⌘\).

Use one of these methods to navigate the tabs.

  • Use two finger swipes to the left or right.
  • Click a tab bullet.
  • Use the left and right arrow keys.

Use one of these methods to zoom in on the selected tab.

  • Click a tab.
  • Pinch out with two fingers to zoom in on the selected tab.
  • In Safari select View > Show One Tab or press Shift-Command-\ (⇧⌘\).
  • Press the Enter key.

Reading List

The Reading List is a quick way to add a link to a webpage you want to read later, even if you are disconnected from the Internet. It will keep track of what webpages have been read. iCloud keeps your reading list up-to-date on all your devices. Once you are done with the webpage, you can remove it from the reading list.

Tip: Click the "Unread" button in the Reading List column to only see webpages you haven't read yet. Click the "All" button to see all webpages in the Reading List.

To add webpages to the Reading List, use one of these methods:

  • Click the Share button (item 3) then select "Reading List" from the pop-up menu.
  • Shift (⇧)-click a link.
  • Click "Add Page" button at the top of the Reading List column. Note: Click the Reading List icon (item 5) to show / hide the Reading List.
  • Select Bookmarks > Add to Reading List
  • Control (⌃)-click a link and select "Add Link to Reading List"
  • Press Shift-Command-D.

Note: You will see a Safari icon zoom to the Reading List icon.

To remove webpages from the Reading List, use one of these methods:

  • Click the "x" icon that appears on the right of the webpage preview in the Reading List column when the cursor hovers over it.
  • Control-click on the webpage preview in the Reading list and select "Remove item".
  • Click the "Clear All" button in the Reading List column then click the "Clear" button in the confirmation sheet to clear all webpages.

Multi-Touch gestures

Multi-Touch is built into Safari, so you can tap, scroll, and swipe your way around the web.

  • Two finger side to side swipe to navigate: Swipe forward (to the left) and back (to the right), and the web pages you visit slide in and out of the Safari window.
  • Double-tap to zoom: Double-tap the trackpad with two fingers to magnify part of a web page. Double-tap again to return to the original size.
  • Pinch to zoom: Zoom in and out of web pages more precisely. Just move your thumb and finger to pinch in or out.
    • Tip: Pinch in when at actual size to see Safari Tab view. Use two finger swipes to page through your tabs. Pinch out or click the tab to zoom in on the selected Safari Tab.
  • Two finger scroll: Slide two fingers up or down the trackpad to scroll through websites. Momentum scrolling makes browsing feel even more natural.

Safari Reader

Safari Reader can remove ads and other visual distractions from webpages. It works like this: As you browse the web, Safari detects if you’re on a webpage with an article. Click the Reader icon that appears on the right of the Search & URL field or press ⇧⌘R (Shift-Command-R), and the article appears instantly in one continuous, clutter-free view. You see every page of the article–whether there are two or twenty. Onscreen controls appear when you hover the cursor near the bottom center of the Reader webpage. These let you zoom in and out, email or print Reader content, and hide the Reader. Change the size of the text, and Safari remembers it the next time you view an article in Safari Reader.

Smart Search field

You can type both search terms and web addresses into the field. As you begin to type, Safari automatically suggests a webpage match, called a Top Hit, and highlights it. Simply press the Enter key to select the Top Hit.

If the Top Hit is not the site you intended to visit, check the list of relevant suggestions, which are drawn from your preferred search engine, bookmarks and history. Click or use the arrow keys to select a search term or webpage, then press Enter.

In Safari select Safari > Preferences… > General (toolbar) and select the search engine you would like Safari to use. The choices are:

  • Google
  • Yahoo!
  • Bing

Improving your searches

  • Use quotation marks to find the exact phrase.
    • If you are looking for an article about “Troubleshooting printer connections” put quotation marks around the phrase as shown.
  • Confine your search to a specific website or subdomain of the website.
    • To confine your search results to a website, you can add site:[website] to your search. 
    • For example, entering: "Troubleshooting printer connections" 
      ...will show webpages only from
  • To confine your search results to a subdomain of a website, you can add site:[] to your search.  
    • For example, entering: "Troubleshooting printer connections"
      ...will show webpages of only the support section of the website.
  • How to exclude a word(s) in your results.
    • To exclude words from your search results, use a hyphen ahead of the word(s) that you would like to exclude. 
    • For example, entering: "Troubleshooting printer connections" -archive
      ...will search for the exact phrase of "Troubleshooting printer connections" on the Apple support website that do not contain the word "archive".

Safari Extensions

Safari Extensions are made by third-party developers and are a great way to add features to Safari.

In Safari, select Safari > Safari Extensions… to view the Safari Extensions Gallery.


With Resume enabled, Safari will open up with the same set of websites you had when you left Safari.

To enable Resume, in Finder select Apple () menu > System Preferences… > General and uncheck "Close windows when quitting an application".

Tip: Press the Shift key when you open Safari to skip Resume.

Set your homepage


To set your homepage, follow these steps:

  1. In Safari select Safari > Preferences… > General (toolbar)
  2. Type or paste the homepage URL in the "Homepage:" field
  3. If you want your homepage to open in a new Safari window, select "Homepage" in the "New windows open with:" pop-up menu.
  4. If you want your homepage to open in a new Safari tab, select "Homepage" in the "New tabs open with:" pop-up menu.

Important: With Resume enabled, Safari will not always open with your homepage, even if in Safari Preferences you have selected "Homepage" in the "New windows open with:" pop-up menu. To open your Homepage under these circumstances, hold down the shift key when you open Safari.

Learn more

Click here to learn about more Safari features.

Web developers note: Web content based on your local drive may not render in Safari with the default security setting of "Local File Restrictions".  To disable Local File Restrictions, follow these steps:

  1. In Safari select Safari > Preferences… > Advanced (toolbar)
  2. Check the "Show Develop menu in menu bar" option. Close Safari Preferences.
  3. In Safari select Develop > Disable Local File Restrictions to toggle the setting.

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