It is useful to have quick access to the sites you visit often, and in Safari 14 you can create a custom homepage with your favorites, sites you visit often and much more. Not only can you set this up on your Mac, but your favorites sync via iCloud to your other devices, so you can easily access the same sites on your Mac, iPhone and iPad.
How to make your homepage very useful in Safari 14.
The new Safari homepage on Mac has several sections, but the most important are your favorites, the sites you visit often and want to access quickly.
To add a site to your favorites, click and hold the + button to the left of the Safari address bar, then select Favorites.
To add favorites to iOS, tap the share button at the bottom of the Safari window, then tap Add to favorites.
As you can see on the left, I have a number of folders in my favorites; they let me organize the sites I visit often and access them from the new homepage. It displays individual websites, then a Bookmarks folder; when I click that folder, it shows all the subfolders. You can see what my homepage looks like at the top of this article.
Clicking on the Bookmarks folder on the home page gives me quick access to the other folders you can see on the screen directly above.
To edit your favorites, select Bookmarks> Edit Bookmarks. On iOS, tap the bookmark icon at the bottom of the Safari window, then tap Edit. If you see the reading list or history, tap the Bookmarks tab, which is the one on the left.
In either case, you will see a list of bookmarks, and you can edit the order by dragging them around (on iOS, you must first tap Edit at the bottom of the screen), and you can delete them as well. Right-click a bookmark on your Mac, then select Delete; On iOS, when in edit mode, you see small red icons that you can tap to delete bookmarks.
You can also edit your bookmarks. You may want to change the name that appears; some sites show long names. Or you may want to edit the URL, for example if you have saved a URL to a page on a site but want to change the bookmark to the top level of the site. To do this, right-click on Mac and select Rename or Edit Address; on iOS, tap a bookmark when you are in edit mode to make changes.
Customize the home page
Now that you’ve set up favorites, it’s time to customize your homepage. Choose Bookmarks> Show Home Page. You should see all your favorites, as well as a section that lists frequently visited sites. At the bottom right of the home page there is a small settings icon; click on this.
You have seven options:
- Favorites: These are the favorites you put right over.
- Often visited: These are sites you visit often; some will be favorites, and others will not. They change over time as you visit multiple sites frequently. By default, frequently visited sites display thumbnails, but I do not find these very useful. You can change to display icons, as on the screen on my home page above, by right-clicking on one of the frequently visited websites and selecting View as icons. Note that the frequently visited sites are different on each of your devices.
- Privacy report: This tells you how many trackers Safari has blocked in the last seven days; Click Privacy Report to see a more complete report showing blocked trackers within 30 days. Read Understanding Safari’s new privacy report for more on this new feature.
- Siri Suggestions: These are suggestions based on content in Messages, Mail and more, which you may want to bookmark or add to your reading list.
- Reading list: These are pages you have saved for later reading. To add a website to the reading list, select Bookmarks> Add reading list; on iOS, tap the Share icon, then tap Add to reading list.
- iCloud tabs: These are tabs and windows that are open in Safari on other devices where you are signed in with the same Apple ID. If you have multiple devices, click on the heading and you will see a menu that allows you to view tabs from another device.
- Wallpaper: You do not need to use the gray color on the default Home Page. You can select a wallpaper to make the page more colorful. Select one of the images in the settings, or drag an image to the home page to set it as wallpaper. Clicking + in the Wallpaper section opens a dialog in the Desktop Pictures folder, and you can choose from a number of Apple’s default wallpapers here. A tip: Choosing a very busy image will make it difficult to read the names of your bookmarks. If you scroll down a bit, you will see a Solid Colors folder, where you can choose from a variety of colors if you want a simpler page background.
You can also right-click on the home page to enable or disable any of the items above. And from the context menu, you can select Remove image to remove the wallpaper, or Select Wallpaper to change the image.
Use the custom home page on all your devices
The great thing about the new homepage is that it syncs across your devices via iCloud. To use this when opening new windows or tabs, go to Safari> Settings> General and select Home for new windows and tabs.
On iOS, go to Settings> Safari, then tap Favorites in the General section. Tap Favorites again to ask Safari to view your favorites. by default, it also displays frequently visited sites when you create a new tab. However, it does not offer all the other options available on Mac.
You may find, as I have, that having the web is much easier to have consistent favorites on the home page across devices. I always know how to access the sites I visit often, and when I have multiple bookmarks available from a folder in Favorites, I can also easily find the pages I want.
About Kirk McElhearn
Kirk McElhearn writes about Mac, iPod, iTunes, books, music and more on his blog Kirkville. He co-hosts Intego Mac Podcast and PhotoActive, and is a regular contributor to The Mac Security Blog, TidBITS and several other websites and publications. Kirk has authored more than twenty books, including Take Control books on iTunes, LaunchBar, and Scrivener. Follow him on Twitter at @mcelhearn. View all posts by Kirk McElhearn →