Safari Top Sites

The Top Sites feature in Safari allows you to quickly bring up previews of the sites you visit the most and jump into any one of them. You can manually pin sites to appear in Top Sites and arrange them as you like. This is a good alternative to keeping many tabs open at all times as some users do.
Video Transcript / Captions
Closed captioning for this video is available on YouTube: Safari Top Sites.

If you use Safari to primarily go to a set of the same websites pretty frequently then you may want to use Top Sites not only to get there quickly but to be able to see previews of these. Let me show you how Top Sites works.

I'm going to go to Top Sites right now by clicking on the button here at the left side of the Favorites toolbar. That's one way to get to it. I'll show you some other ways soon. Then you're going to see these little previews of different websites that are top sites. Now Top Sites is going to populate itself with the sites that you most often visit. But you don't have to leave it that way. You can actually specify exactly what you want to be here in Top Sites.

So, for instance, say if I want to make sure MacMost is always there in Top Sites. Notice if I put my cursor over it I get a little close button and a pin button. The close button will remove it from Top Sites for now. The pin will not only keep it there but make sure it's always there on Top Sites. So even if I haven't visited that site for awhile it will always appear there. You can pin as many of these as you want. So let's pin a bunch of them.

Now let's say I want to add a site that's not there. So let's go to another site and under Bookmarks I can Add Bookmark for this site and one of the things I can choose here is Top Sites. So I'll Add to Top Sites. Now I'm going to return to Top Sites by clicking that button again and you can see it has added it there and it's pinned it since I've manually added it there it assumes that I want it pinned.

Now I can organize the sites in here by dragging them around. I can put them in the order that I want. So basically I can set it up so that all the pinned sites appear first and then if I visit some other sites pretty frequently it will add them manually. I can remove them or I can decide I want to add them there as pin sites.

Now there's a whole bunch of preferences that you can adjust for Top Sites. So the first thing I want to show you is that you can adjust how you get to Top Sites. So let's go to Safari Preferences and you can set it up under General so that new windows open with Top Sites. Now if you don't have that turned on, I've noticed if you say switched to Favorites, then that button there will actually take you to Favorites, a list of favorites not Top Sites. So you're going to have to have this turned on for New windows open with and New tabs open with and that way anytime you create a new tab, I'm going to use Command T to do that here, you can see it shows me Top Sites.

In addition this button works with Top Sites but if you don't have the Favorites bar turned on you can easily hide it and show it there. You can always customize the toolbar. I'm going to Control click on the toolbar here to hit Customize Toolbar and I can easily add Top Sites into the toolbar like that by dragging it there. The same way you customize the toolbar in any app. Now I've got this button here that will actually take me to Top Sites. So I can go to a website here and I can go back to Top Sites by clicking on that button.

Now you may have already noticed that under Preferences there's some other settings for Top Sites here. The number of sites shown by Top Sites. Six, twelve, or twenty-four can be set here. Notice that if I set it to six the previews are a lot larger than say twenty-four where they're actually pretty small. Twelve is a good medium number.

Now the thing about Top Sites is that it's a good alternative if you are trying to say use tabs a lot. Then you notice that the tab view there is kind of similar except that the thing about this is it can be a little more difficult to get to sometimes but also this will only show you what you have open in tabs. So it kind of makes you want to have all these sites open in tabs all the time. So maybe you have ten different tabs open all the time. Whereas with Top Sites you can feel free to close all the tabs that you're not using and know that you can pretty easily and in a very similar looking interface get to any of these very quickly in a similar way to the show tabs button works.

So you may want to consider trying to use Top Sites if you're used to using this Show Tabs button instead and see if that works better for you and allows you to maybe have a more streamlined browser experience with fewer tabs open.

Comments: 8 Responses to “Safari Top Sites”

    dally messenger
    12 months ago

    So clarifying! Great stuff.

    12 months ago

    Learned something new today. But isn’t this kind of the same thing as Favorites?

    12 months ago

    Karl: Several differences. Favorites are icons, not previews. And favorites have the Favorites Bar. Plus, Top Sites will get added to automatically, if there is room, based on what you visit frequently.

    12 months ago

    Gary… I don’t see Top Sites in Safari on my iPad? Does it work there too… and sync with Safari on Mac?

    12 months ago

    Rick: This tutorial shows Top Sites on the Mac. There is no Top Sites for iOS.

    12 months ago

    My point exactly. Top Sites doesn’t work on iOS, so it might be better just to use Favorites so your “Top Sites or Favorites” copies across all the platforms. Thanks

    Noyes Jim
    12 months ago

    Hi. How come after I click on the left side, I get the icons for favorites and frequently visited, nothing you say to do (hovering with the mouse, etc) seems to happen? Also, when I go to bookmark, I do not get all those options – just to name and folder choice. I’m confused! Thanks!

    12 months ago

    Jim: Make sure you have Top Sites enabled in Safari, Preferences, General, “New windows open with.” Not sure what you mean by bookmarking options. All I show are name and folder choice, and a description too.

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