Apple has released Safari 15.1 for macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina, and the update rolls back a nasty change to the tabs.
Safari 15: Tab Groups and More
At the end of September, Apple released version 15 of Safari, which already made the latest features of the browser available for older versions of macOS. Tabs, in particular, got a major makeover.
For example, tab groups were added, so you can easily save multiple tabs or share them with others. But the design of the tabs themselves had also been overhauled, much to the frustration of users.
Unclear Tabs in Safari 15
Unlike before, tabs in Safari 15 were separate buttons. This has to do with the “compact view” Apple has brought to Safari, which combines the tabs and address bar. This was supposed to be the default view at first, but Apple came back to it due to criticism.
The buttons for the tabs took up more space than necessary, and were unclear: it was difficult to see which tab was open. In light mode of macOS, the active tab became dark, and in dark mode, this tab became light. Previously, the active tab was always lighter.
And to add to the confusion: the favorites bar was now also suddenly under the tabs, while the tabs normally always formed the bottom part of the menu bar.
Safari 15.1 to the rescue
Fortunately, Safari 15.1 solves the tab problems again. This version is already included in macOS Monterey, but is now also available separately for Big Sur (11.0) and Catalina (10.15).
The tabs are back to the way they were in Safari 14 and before after this update, and the favorites bar is back in its old place. At the same time, you still retain the advantages of tab groups. So the best of both worlds! You download the update via ‘System Preferences>Software Update’.
The compact view is also still available, via ‘Safari>Preferences>Tabs>Compact’. This display takes some getting used to, but it leaves more room for browsing, which is especially useful on smaller screens.