Safari crashed or was accidentally closed, and now you need to recover the tabs you opened? That’s a common problem, especially for users who are clumsy or have far too little RAM, freezing the operating system or causing it to kill the application. Luckily, the internet browser has been around for over a decade and went through over fifteen major versions. Developers have had a lot of user feedback and collected data to analyze, and came up with solutions to these issues. Thus, the browser will try its best to store information about tabs and windows and provide it when you need to recover Safari tabs. We’ll show you how it works.
1. Recover recently closed Safari tabs on Mac, iOS, and iPadOS
Though information is wiped from RAM if you close the browser or the application or the operating system hangs and crashes, today’s software is sophisticated. Safari and other leading browsers store a list of recently opened tabs for a time, usually until you next launch them. With that in mind, here are the instructions to restore recently opened tabs in Safari depending on the platform:
Retrieve recently closed tabs in Safari for Mac
Not much has changed regarding this technique for the last few versions of macOS. The first thing you should try is pressing “Command + Shift + T”. If that doesn’t work, proceed with reopening the Safari tabs you closed on a Mac computer this way:
- Open the Safari browser from your desktop, Spotlight, or dock.
- A new menu bar will replace the Apple menu.
- Select History, then Reopen Last Closed Tab. Alternatively, you may hover over Recently Closed to see a list or click Reopen All Windows from Last Session.
Reopen tabs you closed in Safari for iOS
A thing to note is that we’ll demonstrate the procedure for iOS 15. These steps work on version 14 as well but are slightly different on version 13. Because those two are outdated at the time of writing, we recommend you update your operating system. With that said, follow these steps to rescue recently closed Safari tabs in iOS 15:
- Launch the iOS Safari app.
- Tap the two-tab icon in the bottom right corner.
- You’ll now see a list of currently open tabs. Ignore them and long-press the + icon in the bottom left corner.
- After a few seconds of holding the button, you’ll see a list titled “Recently Closed Tabs” with the ability to scroll up and down, tap to open, and see their number at the bottom.
- Note. There doesn’t seem to be a set limit for the number of tabs except for your device hardware. Users have tested it with upward of a hundred.
Open the closed tabs within the iPadOS version of Safari
Unsurprisingly, this technique is similar but not identical on iPadOS. You must do the following to recover recently closed Safari tabs on iPadOS 15:
- Open the Safari app for iPadOS.
- Navigate to the upper right corner and press and hold the + icon next to “Done”. If you don’t see it, tap the two overlapping tabs icon first.
- A “Recently Closed Tabs” drop-down menu will appear. Once again, you can scroll through the list and tab the tab you want to reopen.
2. Check cross-platform synced tabs through iCloud
We presume you’re signed in to iCloud using your Apple ID. As you undoubtedly know, the service is known for cloud syncing data across devices in Apple’s ecosystem, which applies to Safari. Also, though the process below mentions ‘open’ tabs, recently killed ones may be present. Further, we won’t separate them by platform, because developers made the procedure uniform. With that said, here’s how checking open or recent tabs within Safari across Apple devices works:
- Launch the Safari application for Mac, iOS, or iPadOS.
- Tap the same two overlapping tabs icon as in the method.
- Scroll to the bottom, and you’ll see a list of tabs separated into columns titled, for example, “Mike’s MacBook Pro” or “Mike’s iPhone 12”.
- Tap or click the tab to reopen it.
3. Examine Safari tabs in all open windows
One thing a lot of users forget is that Apple devised a feature that lets you launch multiple instances of the same application. Compatible operating systems let users keep them independent or combine them at will. Therefore, users oftentimes think they have closed a window and instead merely pushed it to the background by opening a new one on top. Though tabs should be visible using methods 1 and 2 in the newly launched window, you can still go back to the old one manually. These are a few distinct ways to open other Safari application windows on iOS and iPadOS:
- Press and hold the Safari app icon on the home screen for a few seconds. A small window will pop up, offering the Show All Windows option.
- Slide from the bottom of the screen to the middle. You may also double-tap the home button. This will launch “App Switcher”, letting you see other Safari windows.
- Launch Safari, then, on the home screen, slide from anywhere toward the top. You’ll see an app dock appear. Open Safari, and you’ll see all instances of the browser.
As for the Mac version, the fastest solution is to click and hold the Safari icon in the dock, and you’ll see a list of all versions. The one with a checkmark is in the foreground and users may click on others to bring them up. There’s also a chance you accidentally used Mission Controls and the old tabs are in Safari windows on another desktop. To check, press the “Command” and the “up arrow” buttons together, then select a desktop at the top.
4. Review your Safari search and browsing history (Workaround)
As noted, this isn’t a direct way to find a closed tab, but an alternative to getting the same result. Unless you used incognito mode or wiped your search and browsing history from Safari, you can do this:
- On Mac: Open Safari, then click on History → Show All History in the top menu bar.
- For mobile devices: Launch Safari, tap the open book icon at the bottom, switch to the History tab (clock), and see the list of pages you visited.
In both cases, you can use the search field to narrow the results down.