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Apple walks back on macOS Monterey Safari tab changes

By Kenny Yeo - on 15 Jul 2021, 10:21am

Apple walks back on macOS Monterey Safari tab changes

Safari in the third developer beta of macOS Monterey brings back the dedicated search and URL field. (Image source: MacRumors)

At WWDC 2021, Apple announced the latest version of macOS called Monterey.

One of the highlights of macOS Monterey was a redesigned Safari that Apple says caters better to modern-day surfing habits.

And one of the more controversial changes to Safari was the tab bar. Instead of having a dedicated search and URL field, Apple integrated it into individual tabs. The result was a compact tab bar but the cost of usability.

Developer Michael Tsai (of Toothfairy fame) details the issues on his blog but here are the key points:

For Mac, the new design makes no sense to me, and I’ll likely switch to Chrome if it can’t be disabled:

-- Not only does the location bar move when you change tabs, but, because it changes width, all the other tabs move, too. It feels disorienting.

-- With everything on one line, there’s less space for tab text than before.

-- It’s harder to get at buttons and extensions hidden under the … menu.

-- There’s less empty space where it’s safe for me to click in order to drag the window.

Tsai isn't the only one that feels this way. Prominent Apple writer John Gruber feels the same too as does yours truly.

Yes, you gain more viewing space with the new integrated design but the tradeoffs in terms of usability are not worth it.

Fortunately, it seems that Apple has been listening because in the third developer beta of macOS Monterey, the dedicated search and URL field is back and tabs are shown in a row below it.

According to MacRumors, this separate tab bar view is enabled by default but users who prefer or who have gotten used to the new Monterey-style search bar can re-enable it in "View" menu and disable "Show Separate Tab Bar".

Source: MacRumors

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