Apple introduced major updates to Messages this year in iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura. Features like Edit or Undo sent messages and SharePlay in Messages have blown up.
But one feature that has gone rather under the radar is Collaboration using the Messages app. The new OS updates make collaborating in various apps like Keynote, Notes, Pages, Numbers, Finder, Reminders, etc. extremely easy. One of the key apps that Collaboration has come to is Safari.
Collaboration in Safari builds upon a feature introduced last year that became an instant hit – Tab Groups. Safari now lets you share these grouped tabs with your friends, family, colleagues, etc., and collaborate on them. Let’s decipher what it all means and how you can use it.
What are Shared Tab Groups in Safari?
Before diving into what Shared Tab Groups mean, let’s have a crash course on Tab Groups to jog your memory if you haven’t been using them prominently until now. Introduced in iOS 15, iPadOS 15, and macOS Monterey, tab groups do exactly what it sounds like.
The feature allows you to group certain tabs together so you can manage the clutter of open tabs in Safari. Simply put, using these groups, you can manage different tabs, say work and personal, and put them in neat, little boxes, metaphorically speaking.
So, instead of managing different open tabs in different windows of Safari – which isn’t even an option on the iPhone – you can organize them in different groups. Switching between these tabs is then a matter of clicking a tab group.
Now, with iOS 16, iPadOS 16, and macOS Ventura, you can even share these tab groups with other people. You know how sometimes when you’re planning a vacation with friends, remodeling your home, or shopping for furniture with your partner, you’re always sharing links back and forth? Shared Tab Groups save that hassle of always having to send links.
You can simply add the link to the tab group you’re sharing with someone, and they can easily check it out. And if they come across a link that they’d like to share with you? They can do the same – add it to the tab group you shared with them. They can also remove a tab from the group.
The shared tab groups will sync across your Apple devices using the same Apple ID.
Using the latest collaboration controls, you can also chat in messages or start a FaceTime call right in Safari. And if someone adds something to the tab group, you’ll get updates in the Messages app, as well.
You also get live updates and see which tabs the other people are looking at. Let’s dive right in and see how to use it.
How to Share a Tab Group?
You can share a tab group from either your iPhone using iOS 16 or Mac using macOS Ventura. And the people you’re sharing the tab group with also need to be on the latest iOS or macOS version on their Apple devices to be able to join.
Sharing a Tab Group from iPhone
On your iPhone, open Safari. Then, tap the ‘Tabs’ icon from the bottom-right corner of the screen.
The tabs will open in a grid view. Tap the downward arrow next to ‘N Tabs’ from the toolbar.
From the overlay menu that appears, tap the tab group you want to share to open it.
If you don’t know how to create a tab group, you can check out our dedicated article on the same.
When the tab group is in the grid view, tap the ‘Share’ icon in the top-right corner of the screen.
The Share Sheet will open. You’ll see that it has the option ‘Collaborate’ written there. And unlike other apps like Notes, where you can switch to ‘Send a Copy’, that option isn’t available here. Also, Messages is the only app available in the Share Sheet for shared tab groups. Select ‘Messages’ from the Share Sheet to share the invitation to the tab group.
The ‘New Message’ screen will open in an overlay window and the invitation to collaborate on the tab group will load in the message box. Enter the name of the recipient(s) you want to invite in the ‘To:’ field and tap the ‘Send’ button to send the invitation.
To view the collaboration pop-up, tap the ‘Collaboration’ icon in the top-right corner when the tabs are in the grid view.
Sharing a Tab Group from Mac
The process for sharing a tab group is the same for the Mac. The only difference is in how you access the tab group.
Open Safari on your Mac, and click the ‘Sidebar button’ from the left of the address bar if it isn’t already open.
Then, click the tab group you want to share.
Click the ‘Share’ icon at the right of the address bar.
From the pop-up menu, either click the conversation from Siri suggestions if it is available there or click the ‘Messages’ icon to share the tab group.
The Messages app will open and the invitation for the tab group will automatically load in the message box. Enter the names of the contacts in the ‘To:’ field and send the message to begin the collaboration.
You can view the collaboration pop-over from the ‘Collaboration’ icon in the right corner of the address bar.
Using the Shared Tab Groups
Once you’ve sent the invitation using Messages, the collaboration will kick off immediately at your end. When the other person taps the invite, you’ll get a notification telling you that they joined.
Using the shared tab groups is then a walk in the park. All collaboration controls will be available from the collaboration pop-over. You can see the tab(s) other participants are currently viewing as their contact photo will appear on the tab they’re viewing.
All of you can add and remove tabs from the shared tab group as you would normally do from a tab group.
You can also start a chat or FaceTime call in Safari. Open the Collaboration pop-over and click the ‘Message’ icon to chat while viewing the tabs. Messages will open in an overlay window over Safari so it’s easy to get back to Safari after you’re done chatting. To start a FaceTime call, click the ‘Audio’ or ‘Video’ options. You can also share your screen in the FaceTime video call to collaborate more closely on the shared tabs.
To manage access for the shared tab group, like removing someone, or stop sharing it altogether, click the option for ‘Manage Shared Tab Group’ from the collaboration pop-over.
Shared tab groups are a fresh breath of air and something that utilizes the potential of tab groups. You’ll do well to note that you can only share tab groups for collaboration. If you go on to share a simple tab, it’ll send that person the link the old-fashioned way.