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Safari Tab Groups – Great Idea, Poor Execution

I was excited for Safari implementing tab groups in MacOS. Other browsers have add-ons for easy ways to group and save tabs but I couldn’t find anything suitable for Apple’s browser.

Instead, I have such groups saved in bookmark folders – Safari then gives you an option to open all links within a folder, which works as an equivalent, albeit clumsy.

But, yeah, the execution.

The way Safari has implemented it is that, essentially, they appears to be like they’ve scooped up your current open tabs and they hide specific ones until you want to view the group they’re in. So, unlike my solution, the tabs in my groups are all open, just hidden. Also, accessing tab groups is… painful.

  1. You access them via the sidebar icon or View -> Show Sidebar. Yeah, it’s not obvious they’re in there and they’re sharing a space with bookmarks and your Reading List too
  2. How to create a tab group? Yeah, that took me a while too. It’s under the “File” menu.

The problem here then is that the tabs you put in a group are not protected so if you close one out of habit, or whatever, it’s gone from that group. It’s also, when creating new tab groups, way too easy to overwrite an existing one early on, until you get used to how you’re using them. I did this a lot. Thankfully, I had everything “backed up” in my bookmark folders.

It also appears inconsistent when, upon clicking on a link within a tab, whether it launches in a new tab in the current tab group or breaks out to a new one. Sometimes it will, sometimes it won’t. And the kicker came today when it started opening blank tabs.

I moved to the “standard” tab area (i.e. outside a tab group), opened the same link and then clicked on the links, and they all opened just fine – it was only within the tab group that they failed.

So, I’m back to my bookmarks. Nice try Apple.

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