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Give iOS Safari a fresh look by customizing your new tab page

In Safari, hit the plus button to open the Start Page. Scroll all the way to the bottom and hit Edit to bring up all available customization options—you’ll see a toggle switch for Background Image at the very end. Make sure it’s activated and tap to choose one of nine preset graphics or one of your photos from your device.

If you go for a shot from your personal collection, you may have to try a few images to find one that works well with everything else on the Start Page. Something that is either very dark or very light (or has clearly delineated areas of both) should contrast nicely, so your links don’t blend into the background. Safari will also use only the vertical or horizontal middle of your image (depending on your phone’s orientation), so you should keep that in mind as well.

Now it’s time to talk about the other customization options behind the Edit button at the bottom of Safari’s new tab page. Apple’s mobile browser can display seven categories of links, but you may not find all of them useful. To deactivate them, simply turn off the toggle switch next to whichever ones you don’t want to see. Whether the switch is on or off, you can also move the options around by pressing the three lines to the right of each one and dragging up or down to rearrange the list.

Those, of course, are the basic options, but it’s worth doing a little more for full customization. Let’s take a look at each category in turn.

It seems that for as long as the internet has existed, we’ve had the ability to “favorite” certain pages that we frequently return to. On Safari, you can do so by tapping the share icon (an arrow pointing up out of a square) and choosing Add to Favorites. The other option here is “Add Bookmark,” which is useful if you’ve created folders within Favorites (if not, we’ll get to that). While “Add to Favorites” will dump the page into the main Favorites area, you’ll need to choose Add Bookmark and select the proper destination to get it into a subfolder.

To edit your Favorites, tap the bookmarks icon (an open book) on any open Safari tab, then choose Favorites. If you’re just looking to clean house, drag any item all the way to the left to delete it immediately; drag it part-way to unveil a Delete button if you want to think about it for a moment. For more granular control, tap Edit.

Once inside the Favorites editing window, you can delete entries via the red minus button they each have, rearrange the list by pressing and dragging the three lines next to each one, or tap the right-pointing arrow to edit the name, URL, or folder location of an individual link. You can also long-press on a link from the Start Page to edit its name, address, and location.

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