How to Move Safari’s Search Bar Back Where It Belongs in iOS 15

How to Move Safari’s Search Bar Back Where It Belongs in iOS 15
Photo: Nicole Lienemann, Shutterstock

With iOS 15, Apple tried to revamp Safari’s traditional user interface. In some ways, it was an ambitious effort, like how the UI changes colours to match the website you’re browsing. The company’s decision to move the search bar to the bottom of the display, however, was not so well-received. Apple did add the option to move the bar back to the top if you’re among those who can’t (or don’t want to) get used to the new design — but it’s not obvious how to change it.

Why is the search bar’s new position such a challenge?

We’ve been used to the search bar being located at the top of the screen forever, both on iPhone but also with just about every browser in existence. Moving it to the bottom of the display really throws you off; I’ve been using the beta all summer, and I’m still not used to it.

In theory, it should be an improvement; the bottom of the display is much easier to reach with one hand, especially on larger iPhones, and you can even use it to quickly switch between tabs just like you switch between apps. From a design perspective, it makes sense.

The problem is that many of us are truly hardwired at this point to expect the search bar at the top, and no amount of retraining is going to stop us from trying to tap the top of the display to start another web search, before remembering, “Oh, right, it’s on the bottom now.”

Apple seems to know that its initial approach wasn’t going to fly. With iOS 15 beta 6, the company not only gave Safari a redesign, it also added an option to bring the search bar back to the top of the display. It isn’t clear from the outset, though, that this option is here. Safari won’t give you a notification about it, and you won’t find it anywhere in the app itself.

How to move the search bar to the top of the screen

Open Settings > Safari, and scroll down to Tabs. To move the search bar back up to the top of the page, tap “Single Tab” (Tab Bar will be selected by default). Now, when you return to Safari, you’ll find the search bar back at the top of the browser, just as the internet gods intended.

Image: Jake Peterson Image: Jake Peterson

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