Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.

Federico Viticci on Safari in iOS 15

Federico Viticci of MacStories has published his annual longform review of the iOS and iPadOS updates, and it is typically comprehensive and carefully constructed. Given my criticisms of Safari’s redesign this summer, I wanted to highlight his impressions:

And here’s the thing: the way I see it, this year’s Safari is an excellent upgrade over iOS 14, with desktop-class features that are finally making their way to mobile devices and a design direction that paves a new path for Apple to follow over the coming years. I have some reservations, particularly regarding the iPad version of Safari. But overall, I feel like the struggles with Safari’s design earlier this summer were necessary for Apple to end up in a much better place than iOS 14’s Safari.

The new Safari, especially on iPhone, may take a while to get used to, but I’m a convert, and I wouldn’t want to go back to Safari’s older look on iPhone now. Let’s take a look.

I feel entirely the same. There is a setting for reverting to the previous layout, but I urge you to give this new version a fair shake.

The one annoyance I continue to have on iOS is when I trigger the tab bar when I mean to drag the home indicator, and vice-versa. These gestures are all very clever but they tend to collide on an iPhone’s relatively small display.

On my iPad — and on my Mac, where I have been running beta versions of Safari 15 for weeks — I still think this redesign is a mess. It is unnecessarily cramped, it is visually unappealing, and there are usability problems even if you enable the separate tab bar to mimic previous versions. The best updates to Safari 15 on iPad and Mac will be those that make it look and work more like Safari 14.

But everything else works pretty well, at least. Tab Groups have made it easier for me to keep several projects organized, I am glad to see extensions in iOS and iPadOS, and I like the improved Safari start page.