Tabs are not meant to be read. Tabs are meant to be opened, and left opened, while you spend your valuable time opening more tabs. At any given moment, you may have dozens of tabs running idle in the background, waiting for your return. But when disaster strikes, and you accidentally quit your browser — or it quits you — any hope of visiting those tabs again is lost. Or is it?
The main problem, at least on a Mac, is how easy it is to accidentally quit your browser while you’re using it. Command + Q is designed to instantly shut down the active app, perfect for the times you’re actually done with it, but otherwise totally dangerous. Command + Tab, for example, quickly changes the app, while on a browser, Command + W closes the currently window or tab. Both Tab and W are directly next to Q, meaning a simple slip of your finger makes the difference between closing your active window, and shutting down Chrome altogether.
On the flip side, browsers sometimes shut down without human error. They’re programs, after all, and programs occasionally crash, especially when you have an ungodly amount of tabs all vying for your attention. Whichever way your browser quits, you have a problem: You want your tabs back, and they seem gone forever.
How to restore tabs after your browser quits
Most major browsers seem to have the same command for restoring tabs after the browser quits, which makes everyone’s life much easier. Whether you use Safari, Chrome, Edge, or another option, do the following the next time your browser goes belly up on you:
- Mac: Command + Shift + T
- PC: Ctrl + Shift + T
When you do, your previously closed tabs will come back to life, as if they’d never left. Well, almost. They’ll still need to reload, so prepare to look at a lot of refreshing screens as you click through your tabs. You might have lost some progress, too, depending on what you were doing in the tab when the browser quit, so that’s a bummer. But, hey, at least your tabs are back.
Another option is to tell your browser to reopen your previous session any time you start the browser. That will preserve all tabs and windows in the event you quit your browser, and reopen them upon launch. Personally, I prefer to start a new browsing session with a clean slate, since I tend to quit my browser with a ton of tabs open anyway. But if you like the peace of mind, dive into your browser’s settings:
- Chrome: Settings > On startup > Continue where you left off.
- Edge: Settings > Start, home, and new tabs > Open tabs from the previous session.
- Safari: Settings > General > Safari opens with > All windows from last session.
Don’t let your browsers quit on you to begin with
Macs make it too easy to accidentally quit your browser, but you can fight back. Some browsers, like Chrome and Edge, have a feature that requires you to hold down Command + Q for a few seconds before the app quits. A quick press of the keys will only trigger a “Hold Command Q to Quit,” saving you from the situation entirely. You can look for the “Warn Before Quitting” feature by clicking the browser name in the menu bar.
Unfortunately, Safari doesn’t have this feature.