What Does Pinning a Tab Do in Safari?

The ability to pin a tab in Safari is not a new feature, but it may be one that you have never used. Mac users may be wondering what pinning a tab is all about: What does it do? Why would you want to pin a tab? Users also have other questions about pinning Safari tabs, like: How many tabs can you pin? Do pinned tabs use much memory?

Some may also wonder if you can pin tabs on iPhone or iPad; you can not. However, iOS and iPadOS do offer other options that can help you keep and arrange tabs, such as tab groups. In this article, we will address questions about pinning tabs for Safari users on Mac. First up is the most basic question: How do I pin a tab?

pinned tabs in safari

How to pin a tab in Safari

Open the website you wish to pin in a tab in Safari. There are a couple of ways to pin the tab:

  • This will work if you have more than one tab open in your Safari window (you can always open another one by clicking on the plus sign).
    1. In the tab bar, grab the tab and drag it to the far left side of the tab bar.
    2. You will see your tab shrink into a square-shaped tab. Release the tab.
  • Alternatively, with your desired tab selected in Safari, go to the top menu bar and click on Window. Select Pin Tab.

How to unpin a tab

Again, there are a couple of ways to unpin a tab:

  • Hover your cursor over the pinned tab and right-click (ControlClick). Select Unpin Tab from the menu that appears.
unpin a tab menu
  • With the pinned tab open in Safari, select Window in the top menu bar and click on Unpin Tab.

How to delete pinned tabs

To delete a pinned tab, first, unpin the tab, then close the tab.

What happens when you pin a tab?

The pinned tab will stay in your tab bar in Safari. It won’t take up much space in the tab bar, and so it is a convenient way to keep a website handy while you are working. It will also be there the next time you open Safari unless you unpin the tab.

There is another advantage to using pinned tabs. If you have a tab pinned in one Safari window, the pinned tab will also be there in any other Safari window you open, and all instances of the pinned tab will be the same. In other words, if you have two Safari windows open, the pinned tab will sync between the two Safari windows; you won’t just have two different versions of the same website like you would with regular tabs. This can be really convenient if you like to use multiple Safari windows.

Do pinned tabs use memory?

They do use some of your RAM and CPU resources. Just like if you are using many (regular) tabs in Safari, having many pinned tabs could potentially have an impact on your Mac’s performance. The effect really depends on the websites you have pinned.

Do pinned tabs stay open?

Pinned tabs stay in Safari while you have it open, and they return after you close and reopen your browser. You may want to be cautious about relying too much on pinned tabs; some users have had trouble in the past with losing their pinned tabs after macOS updates.

How many tabs can you pin?

You can pin multiple tabs in Safari at the same time. I’m not sure if there is a limit, but I have tested up to 20, and I don’t imagine you should need more than that. Safari does offer other options for saving and organizing websites, such as bookmarks and a reading list if you have many websites to keep track of.

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Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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