Master Safari in iOS 7 on your iPhone and iPad with these simple tips, from beginner's tasks such as opening multiple tabs, to more advanced techniques such as the Reader Mode, private browsing and fullscreen mode.

iOS 7 Safari tips

Along the bottom: back and forwards navigation arrows; sharing icon; bookmarks icon; and tabs icon. The icon to the left of the web address (or URL) is the Reader icon, and the icon to its right is refresh. We explain how to use these functions below

iOS 7, which is pre-installed on the iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c but is also available as a free update for earlier iPhones and iPads, adds an enormous number of new features. In this tutorial we'll go through the most interesting and useful new Safari features in iOS 7, as well as explaining the basics of web browsing on the iPhone and iPad for beginners.

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Safari in iOS 7: How to load a web page

Tap the Safari icon to open the app. If you've not been looking at web pages already, iOS 7 will show you a mostly blank page with a few bookmarks of commonly visited pages (including its own website).

Assuming you don't want to go to any of these, click the bar at the top - that's the unified URL and search bar. The keyboard will come up automatically and you can type in the address you're looking for.

iOS 7 Safari tips

As you type, iOS 7 will start to suggest possibilities - again, these will obviously tilt towards big companies - and bookmarked pages that fit what you're typing. Click any of the suggestions to fill in the rest of the URL and jump to that page.

As the iPhone or iPad loads the page, you'll see a progress bar underneath the URL bar.

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Safari in iOS 7: How to search for a keyword or phrase

iOS 7 Safari tips

We said the URL bar is also a search field. Unlike in iOS 6, where you typed URLs in the lefthand field and searched in the right. Now you search directly in the URL bar.

It's done in exactly the same way as typing in the URL - in fact it's easy to accidentally go to a URL instead of searching, especially if you're searching for a term that's close to a web page that you've visited recently.

Here we want to search for the word Facebook instead of going to the site itself (let's say we wantto read the Wikipedia page about, for instance). I type the word Facebook and iOS instinctively fills in the rest of the URL. To avoid going to Facebook I need to click Delete to remove the added-on text and click Return to run the search.

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Safari in iOS 7: How to bookmark a web page

In the centre of the bottom bar of icons is a square with an arrow coming out it: that's the sharing option, and it's really useful. (If you can't see any icons along the bottom of the screen you've gone into fullscreen mode - see below for how to get out of it.)

Click the sharing icon and then click the Bookmark icon at the bottom left. iOS 7 will then check what you want to call the bookmark, allow you to edit the URL, and let you put the bookmark in a folder.

Remember, too, that you can bookmark a web page directly on to your home screen - it's the option Add to Home Screen, also in the sharing palette. This will create an icon on your iPhone or iPad's screen, as if it was an app, but will instead open Safari and send you to correct link.

iOS 7 Safari tips

Safari in iOS 7: How to share a link via email, text, Twitter or Facebook

Also in the sharing palette you'll see colourful icons for text, email, Twitter and Facebook - iOS 7 has strong integration for the two biggest social networks and makes it easy to share links to your friends and followers.

Safari in iOS 7: How to open multiple tabs

The tab button is the icon at the bottom right of the screen: it looks like two documents laid on top of each other. (If you can't see any icons at the bottom of the screen, you've probably got fullscreen mode on - see below.)

Hit the tab button and the currently open tabs will be shown in a neat 3D 'stack', enabling you to see at a glance all the pages you've got open. To jump to one of the tabs in the stack, tap it. (If this is the first time you've used tabs, of course, there will only be one tab open.) If there are more than three tabs, you may need to swipe through them.

iOS 7 Safari tips

To open a new tab, click the big plus sign in the middle of the bottom bar, then enter a URL or select one of the bookmarks offered.

To close one of the tabs, hit the small X at the top left of its page in the stack.

iPad users: things work a bit differently on the tablet's bigger screen. Instead of the fancy 3D stack, your tabs are simply arranged along the top of the screen, as in the past. Also bear in mind that the icon bar is integrated with the URL bar, with the sharing icon and forwards and back arrows to the left, and bookmarks to the right.

Safari in iOS 7: How to use fullscreen mode

Fullscreen, unlike in iOS 6, activates automatically when you start scrolling down a page. Flick downwards and the URL bar at the top and the icon bar at the bottom will both disappear, allowing the web page to fill all the available space on your iPhone or iPad. (The root URL of the site remains at the top, however, in a shrunk black bar.)

To bring back the icons and URL bar, you simply need to scroll back upwards.

Safari in iOS 7: How to use Reading list

Reading List is Apple's take on the 'read later' concept - a highly popular way of reading longer articles from the web. If you happen across what seems like a fascinating article while browsing, but haven't got time to read it now, you simply add it your read later list and catch up on the train or bus, or other free moment. The article will be saved to your phone, so you won't need to be online when you read it. Ideal for Tube journeys.

We're fond of Instapaper, a paid-for app that provides this service, partly because the way it reformats articles is so pleasing to the eye (it sort of combines the effects of Reading List with Apple's Reader mode - see below), but Apple's Reading List is built into iOS 7 at no charge, and obviously benefits from greater integration than any third-party service.

From the web page you want to save to read later, hit the sharing icon and select the option 'Add to Reading List'. If it's a particularly long article there might be a slight delay while iOS saves it.

To see your Reading List, tap the Bookmarks icon (the stylised open book), then choose the second option along - with the spectacles icon. (Your actual bookmarks are on the left, whereas your Shared links are on the right.) Click a saved article and you'll be able to read it, even if you're offline.

Once you've opened the article from the Reading List, iOS 7 will remove it from the unread list. To view it again in future, click the option 'Show All' at the bottom of the list.

Safari in iOS 7: How to use Reader

Reader mode allows you to view web pages with all the advertising and other bumpf removed. (No, we don't understand how that's legal either, but it's a nice option to have.) If a page can be viewed in this way, a button will appear in the URL bar, and pressing this will overlay a simple, bare-black-text-on-white-background version of the article.

iOS 7 Safari tips

Tap the Reader icon to the left of the web address...

iOS 7 Safari tips

...and iOS 7 gives you a simplified version of the page

(Perhaps the legal side of things can be explained by the fact that you have to let the whole page load up, ads and all, before the button appears. And any links you click from the Readerised page will take you to normally formatted pages, which again will have to load up fully before you can hit Reader again.)

In iOS 5 and iOS 6, the 'Read' button would appear on the righthand side of the URL bar (right next to the refresh icon), and I used to accidentally hit this on average about five times a day. Now it appears on the left, and is much more convenient. It's the set of lines intended to look like a stylised paragraph. Tap this to enter Reader mode; tap it again to go back to the normal view.

By the way, you can also use Reader mode via the sharing palette.

Safari in iOS 7: How to change your search engine

The default search engine in iOS 7 Safari remains Google, but you can switch this to Bing or Yahoo very easily. Go to Settings, then scroll down to Safari. Right at the top of the subsequent page of options, click 'Search Engine' and select from the three choices.

iOS 7 Safari tips

Safari in iOS 7: How to open links in the background

Also in the Settings, Safari options list, there's an option labelled 'Open Links in Background' or 'In New Page'. Some iOS users (myself included) prefer to open additional links in the background rather than the foreground. (If I wanted to go directly to the page I'd simply follow the link - if I'm open it as an additional tab then it means I probably want to read it afterwards.)

If you feel the same way, select the option to open links in the background. Now, when you see a link you'd like to open in addition to the current page (as opposed to navigating straight to it, and leaving the current page behind), tap and hold it until a little menu appears. Select 'Open in New Tab'.

iOS 7 Safari tips

Safari in iOS 7: How to use Private browsing mode

Most desktop browsers offer a 'private browsing' mode, which doesn't save a history of previously visited sites - this lets you keep anniversary presents secret from your other half, and obviously offers other allurements too. Anyway, you can use a private browsing mode on your iPhone and iPad, too.

On the iPhone, hit the tabs icon at the bottom right and then press Private to the lower left of the stack. Safari will ask if you wish to close down the existing tabs before entering private mode.

Anything else you want to know about using Safari in iOS 7? Get in touch on Twitter or add a comment below.

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