Safari for iOS is as old as the iPhone itself, and even with all the apps that have come and gone in those seven plus years, Safari is the old standby, the essential app that’s in the dock row of millions of iPhones and iPads.
Apple improves Safari in every iteration of iOS, and iOS 8 is no exception. The changes aren’t radical, but they do add some extra flexibility and convenience to browsing the web on your iPad and iPhone.
Get a website’s desktop version
Sometimes you don’t want the stripped-down mobile version of a website. Google’s Chrome has long had a ‘request desktop version’ option, and now Safari does also.
To access this, tap the URL bar and give a gentle pull down on the menubar that pops up. You will see two new choices: Add to Favorites and Request Desktop Site. Tap the latter and the page will reformat, usually presenting itself in desktop glory.
Scan your credit cards
Forget squinting at your worn-out credit card to get the numbers when buying something online. Apple’s browser has a clever new feature that will scan the information with the device camera.
While Safari already offers to save your cards with auto-fill, this is another step that simplifies the process of buying something online.
Search with DuckDuckGo
If you are trying to get away from Google’s omnipresent eyes, then DuckDuckGo is for you.
It joins Google, Bing and Yahoo as your options for performing a web search from the Safari address bar. DuckDuckGo puts privacy as its highest priority, pledging to never use one’s personal data when delivering search results.
While sometimes that means it’s not as sharp with location-awareness or other specific search results, you may enjoy its minimalist design and commitment to anonymity.
Subscribe to an RSS feed
Safari lets your mind wander when browsing by offering shared links related to the site you’re visiting. Customise this by subscribing to a site’s RSS feed so you can get more of their stuff in Safari.
To do this, touch the bookmarks icon and then select the @ column. On the bottom you will find a button labelled Subscriptions. Touch that and then select ‘Add Current Site’ to include it in the list of feeds.
The shared links section is another nice addition – it clues you in to other articles and discussion related to what you’re reading.
Access app passwords
As part of Apple’s Continuity features, which tie desktop and mobile apps together, iOS apps can now use your saved AutoFill credentials so you can quickly log in. To toggle AutoFill on and off, visit Settings > Safari > Passwords & Autofill, where you can also see a list of the accounts for which you let Safari remember the passwords.
Developers have to enable this, so it may not be working on all of your favourite apps. It could be one less annoying step in the ongoing process of typing in passwords (though you should be using a password manager, anyway).