Apple finally shows how tab groups should be done

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With the release of macOS Monterey, Opera is no longer the ruler of tab management. See what Safari has to offer that can help keep your out-of-control tabs easier to use.

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Image: Apple

For the longest time, Opera was the only browser that seemed to know how to truly handle the management of tabs. With the Workspaces feature, users could gain control of an inordinate amount of tabs with ease. But Opera seemed to be the only browser to get just how important it is to help users manage their tabs. Google tried with Tab Groups, but for me, that feature just doesn’t cut it. 

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So, when I upgraded my Macs to Monterey, I was thrilled to find Apple added a new feature to Safari that rivals Opera’s Workspaces. The feature is called, aptly, Tab Groups. 

But Apple’s take on this is much more like Opera’s than Google’s. Here’s how it works. When you open Safari, you should see a new drop-down in the upper left corner. Click that drop-down and you’ll see the new Tab Groups listing. 

On first use, you won’t have any tab groups, so you’ll need to create one. Click New Empty Tab Group, which will open the Tab Groups sidebar, where you can give the new group a name.

Keep creating new tab groups, making sure to name them according to the function they’ll serve, until you have all you need. 

Once you’ve created all of your tab groups, close the sidebar and then select the tab group you want to work with from the drop-down. 

Open a new tab and point it to the site you want. Switch to a different tab group and do the same. 

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You can keep switching tab groups to go back to the sites you were previously working with, all the while keeping Safari’s tabs under control. 

The one caveat to Safari’s Tab Groups feature is that pinned tabs only show up in the Start Page (which is accessible from the Tab Groups drop-down). Because of that, you’ll wind up with unrelated pinned tabs that cannot be organized by function or service. That’s fine because it keeps even more clutter out of Safari’s Tab Groups. 

For me, Safari’s Tab Groups feature is the one thing I needed to migrate back from Firefox to Apple’s browser as my default. If only the Mozilla developers would follow suit.

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