iOS 15 had a lot of updates in store for users. Most users got the memo on the major updates part of the new OS. But a lot of wonderful updates didn’t get on everyone’s radar.

The update to Safari was one of those changes. iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 have introduced customization to Safari’s start page to iPhone and iPad respectively. The feature was previously available on macOS Big Sur. With the advent of this feature, you not only get more control over your Start page, but you can also say goodbye to a boring start page.

What can you Customize in Safari?

The Start Page is now a hub for Favorites, Frequently Visited Pages, Privacy Report, Siri Suggestions, Reading List, and iCloud Tabs. You now also have an option to set a background image for Safari.

Safari already showed a lot of these categories on the Start Page but didn’t give users any control over what they see. With Customizations in Safari, not only have the categories gotten more refined, but you get complete control over them. Here’s what you can have on your Start Page:

  • Favorites: Websites you bookmark to the Favorites folder will appear on the Start Page
  • Frequently Visited: Safari will show websites you frequently visit for quicker access
  • Shared With You: iOS 15 has introduced a new Shared With You feature for Messages. It shows the content shared with you in Messages related to an app in the app itself. For instance, Music shared with you in messages appears in the Music app. In the same vein, any articles or websites shared with you appear in Safari on the Shared With you section of the Homepage.
  • Privacy Report: In iOS 15, Safari shows a privacy report on the Start Page when enabled. It shows a summary of how many trackers Safari prevented. Tapping it offers deeper insights into the data.
  • Siri Suggestions: Websites Siri suggests that you might want to visit. It uses a lot of factors to suggest a website, such as your browsing history, bookmarks, contributions to Siri from other apps
  • Reading List: Websites you add to your reading list to read later now appear on your Start Page. This visibility sure makes it more convenient to actually read those articles later, as opposed to adding them to the list and forgetting all about them as many users did before (or maybe it was just me)
  • iCloud Tabs: Web pages that are open on your other devices
  • Background Image: A background image for the Safari Start Page. You can choose a custom image from your Photos app or use one of the provided images.

How to Customize the Start Page

Now that you know the extent to which you can customize the Start Page, customizing it is a piece of cake.

Open Safari on your iPhone. If a tab is open already, tap the ‘Tabs’ icon.

Then, tap the ‘+’ icon at the bottom left corner to get to the Start Page.

Once you’re on the Start Page, scroll down to the very end and tap the ‘Edit’ option.

The overlay page for Customizing the Start Page will open.

If you want to have the same Start Page across all the Apple devices using your current Apple ID, keep the option for ‘Use Start Page on All Devices’ on, otherwise, disable the toggle.

Then, you’ll see the options for all the categories you can choose to keep on the Start Page. Turn off the toggles for the categories you don’t want to see.

You can also arrange the order in which they appear on your Start Page. To reorder a category, tap and hold the handle (three lines) at the right corner and move it up or down.

The last option on the page is for the background image. To use a background image, keep the toggle for ‘Background Image’ on.

Then, move on to the images to set an image. Tap the image you want to set as the background.

To select an image from your Photos app, tap the ‘+’ icon and choose the image you want to use.

Currently, you can only have one custom image in the list of images. To choose another custom image, tap the ‘X’ on the image. The ‘+’ icon will appear again and you can choose another image from your gallery.

To stop using the background, turn off the toggle for ‘Background Image’.

Once the customizations are complete, tap the ‘X’ in the upper right corner to return to the Start Page.

What you see on the Start Page of your browser changes the browsing experience completely. Customization in Safari offers both functionality and aesthetics that elevate how you use the browser.