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Archived - Mac Basics: Safari 5.1

Safari 5.1 is a fast, innovative web browser for OS X Lion and Mac OS X v10.6 Snow Leopard.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

This article will help you learn about using Safari 5.1, as well as ways to personalize your browsing experience.

Note: Some of the following information applies to all versions of Safari, and some applies to Safari 5.1 on OS X Lion only. For more information about Safari 4, see Safari 4.

The Safari 5.1 web browser window

Below is a typical Safari 5.1 window in OS X Lion. Some of the window elements can be customized, as described below.

  1. Show the previous page / Show the next page *
  2. The "+" button to add Bookmark, Reading List or Top Sites for the current webpage loaded *
  3. Smart Address (URL) Field / History and Bookmark search field (blue progress bar appears when loading a webpage) *
  4. Bookmarks bar, includes icons on the left for Reading List, Bookmarks and Top Sites
  5. Tabbed browsing bar
  6. RSS feed icon; other icons that may appear there include Reader, Private (see below)
  7. Reload / Stop / Progress button (if there is a progress indicator, hover the cursor over to see the stop button)
  8. View recent searches / search engine selection button 
  9. Smart Search Field *
  10. Add Tab button
  11. Search field SnapBack (visible after loading a webpage from a search)
  12. Full Screen Browsing button, OS X Lion only.
  13. Scrollbar, in OS X Lion only appears when you scroll

* Collectively, these elements make up the Safari 5.1 toolbar. You can customize the Safari toolbar if you wish, as described below.

Note: In OS X Lion you can resize any corner or edge of the Safari window. Click and drag the corner or edge you would like to resize.

Reading List (item 4)

The Reading List is a quick way to add a link to a webpage you want to read later. 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 "+" button (item 2) then select "Reading List" from the pop-up menu.
  • Shift (⇧) click a link on a webpage.
  • Click "Add Page" button at the top of the Reading List column. Note: Click the Reading List icon (item 4) to show / hide the Reading List.
  • Select Bookmarks > Add to Reading List
  • Press shift-command-d (⇧⌘D)

Note: You will see a Safari icon fly to the Reading List icon when you add a webpage.

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 in OS X Lion

Multi-Touch is built into Safari in OS X Lion, 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.
  •  Two finger scroll: Slide two fingers up or down the trackpad to scroll through websites. Momentum scrolling makes browsing feel even more natural.

Full Screen Browsing in OS X Lion

Click the full screen button (item 12) for Safari to enter full screen mode. Safari will move to its own space and expand to fill the screen. Press the escape (esc) key on the keyboard to exit full screen mode. 

Resume in OS X Lion

When you open Safari in Lion or restart the Mac, Safari automatically restores the open windows and tabs from your last browsing session, so you can continue right where you left off.

Tip: To open Safari without resume, hold down the shift key (⇧) as you open Safari. Safari will then open with the options you selected in the "General" tab of Safari preferences, options like your homepage.

In Mac OS X v10.6 and Microsoft Windows, you can choose to have Safari automatically restore your windows in the "General" tab of Safari preferences.

Safari Reader (item 6)

Safari Reader can remove ads and other visual distractions from online articles. 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 Smart Address Field (item 3) 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 close the Reader. Change the size of the text, and Safari remembers it the next time you view an article in Safari Reader.

Set your homepage

A home page is the webpage that your browser starts with when you open it or open a new window. To set your Safari 5.1 homepage:

  1. Navigate to the webpage you would like to set as your homepage (such as http://www.apple.com )
  2. Choose Safari > Preferences…, or press ⌘, (Command-comma)
  3. Click the General icon
  4. Click "Set to Current Page"

Smart Address (URL) Field / History and Bookmark search field (item 3)

You can easily type or paste web addresses here to search. As you begin to type an address in the address field, Safari automatically completes it with the most likely match called the Top Hit and highlights it. Simply press the Enter key to connect to the highlighted site.

If the Top Hit is not the site you intended to visit, check the list of relevant suggestions, which are drawn from your bookmarks and browsing history, that Safari displays. Click the site you want to visit or use the arrow keys to highlight the site, then hit Enter.

You can also type or paste the full web address if you wish.

Smart Search field (item 9)

Here you can choose your search engine: Google, Yahoo!, or Bing.

This field lets you find what you’re looking for instantly. As you enter text:

  • Safari recommends relevant searches via your selected search engine
  • Lists your most recent searches
  • Lists search engines to choose from
  • Helps you find text on the webpage Safari has loaded

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" site:apple.com
      ...will show webpages only from apple.com.
    • To confine your search results to a subdomain of a website, you can add site:[subdomain.website] to your search.  For example, entering:
       "Troubleshooting printer connections" site:support.apple.com
      ...will show webpages of only the support section of the apple.com 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" site:support.apple.com -discussions
      ...will search for the exact phrase of "Troubleshooting printer connections" on the Apple support website that do not contain the word "discussions".

Customize the toolbar

If you want to change the items that are on your Safari 5.1 toolbar, or restore an item that was accidentally removed:

  1. Choose View > Customize Toolbar…
  2. The sheet shown below will appear, allowing you to add and arrange items on the Toolbar by dragging them to where you would like them to appear.

    For example, you can add items such as the "Open in Dashboard" tool by dragging it from the customize Toolbar sheet to the Safari 5.1 Toolbar.
    Or, you can drag the default set into your toolbar, if you want to restore it to default.


Top Sites

Safari automatically identifies your favorite sites and displays them as a wall of graphic previews. To visit one of your top sites, click its preview. As you browse, Safari identifies the websites you’re most interested in based on how often and how recently you visit a site. As you explore the web and discover new websites, your Top Sites will change to match your tastes.

Top Sites sample window

Graphic previews with a star icon in their upper-right corner indicate new content is on that webpage since you last visited it. 

Whenever you want to return to your Top Sites page, click the Show Top Sites button () in the bookmarks bar.

To manually add a webpage to Top Sites:

  1. Navigate to the webpage in Safari 5.1.
  2. Drag the website icon (for example, ) located in the left side of the smart Address (URL) / History and Bookmark search field (item 3), to the Show Top Sites bookmark bar item (). This will add the graphic preview of the website to the upper-left position in Top Sites.

To customize Top Sites, click the Edit button.

  • To see 24 graphic previews click the Small tab. To see 12 graphic previews click the Medium tab. To see 6 graphic previews click the Large tab.
  • To arrange the order of your graphic previews, click and drag a graphic preview to the location on the Top Sites grid where you would like it to appear.
  • To remove a top site, click the X icon in the upper left of the graphic preview.
  • To lock a top site, click the "Push Pin" icon in the upper left of the graphic preview. The icon will turn blue when locked. Click it again to unlock.

Full History Search

Instantly find pages you visited in the past with Full History Search. To find a page you want, enter your search term(s) in the Search History field in Top Sites. You can search for anything that was on a page you visited, including metadata-like photo captions. There’s no need to remember page titles or complex URLs. Safari displays search results using Cover Flow, so you can flip through large graphic previews to quickly pick out the site you’re looking for.

A date indicator helps you sort through your history.

Full-page zoom to change the size of webpage text and graphics

Zoom in or out on web content using keyboard shortcuts, Multi-Touch gestures, or the Zoom toolbar button for more comfortable reading. Images and graphics scale up while text remains razor sharp, keeping the webpage layout consistent as you zoom. To add the Zoom button to your toolbar, simply choose Customize Toolbar from the View menu and drag the button onto your toolbar.

Use keyboard shortcuts ⌘+ (Command-plus) to zoom in and ⌘- (Command-hyphen) to zoom out.

On a multi-touch trackpad you can pinch out to zoom in, and pinch in to zoom out.

At any time you can also press ⌘0 (Command-zero), or choose View > Actual Size to return the webpage contents to the default size.

Private Browsing

For privacy, you can choose Safari > Private Browsing… 

When you surf the web using a shared or public Mac, Private Browsing can protect your personal information. You can check your email at the library, or shop for birthday presents on the family Mac. When you turn on Private Browsing, Safari doesn’t remember the pages you visit, your search history, or your AutoFill information.

In Safari 5.1, a "PRIVATE" button appears on the right side of the smart Address (URL) field (item 3) when you are in Private Browsing. Click it to see a "Turn off private browsing" confirmation sheet.

Clearing history

Safari keep tracks of webpages you've recently visited. If you want to manually clear your browsing history, click on the "Clear History…" button in History search or choose History > Clear History…

If you want Safari to automatically clear the history after a certain period of time, not at all, from the Safari menu choose Preferences… > General . From the "Remove history items:" pop-up menu, choose your preferred setting (After one day, After one week, After two weeks, After one month, After one year, or Manually).  The default setting is "After one month".

Until you close the Safari 5.1 window, you can still click the Show the previous page / Show the next page buttons (item 1) to return to webpages you have opened. 

Searching for words in a page

To quickly find a word or phrase that's on a webpage, either press ⌘F (Command-F), or choose Edit > Find > Find…, and type the word or phrase to find. Press ⌘G (Command-G) or click the forward-pointing triangle to the left of the search field to see the next occurrence of that text on the page.

Safari Extensions

Extensions are a great way to customize Safari. Safari Extensions are built with web standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. They can have all the power and functionality of advanced web applications.

For example, there may be an extension that provides a toolbar showing you how your favorite sports team is faring in today’s game, or a contextual menu item that sends a link to a social networking site.

All extensions are digitally signed for improved security.

You can view a list of featured extensions by choosing Safari > Safari Extension Gallery. Find one you like and install it with one click. There’s no need to restart Safari.

As your list of extensions grows, you can easily manage them in the Extensions pane of Safari Preferences. If you want your extensions to update automatically, enable "Install Updates Automatically" option in the "Extensions" pane of Safari preferences.

Learn more

Want to learn more about Safari? Check out the built-in Safari Help guide on your Mac (in Safari, choose Help > Safari Help). Also visit the Safari features website.

Additional Information


Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: Aug 12, 2013
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  • Last Modified: Aug 12, 2013
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