Safari on the iPad lets you open up to nine pages simultaneously, but the iOS 5 and 5.1 versions dump the awkward multipage interface and gain instead a brilliant rendition of tabbed browsing similar to the desktop version of browsers like Safari.

When we surf the web on a Mac or PC, we rarely go to a single web page and call it a day. In fact, we often have multiple web pages open at the same time. Sometimes, we choose to hop around the web without closing the pages we visit. Sometimes, a link automatically opens a new page without shuttering the old one. (If these additional pages are advertisements, this isn’t always welcome.)

After you have one page open, here are two ways to open additional web pages in Safari so that they appear on the tab bar at the top of the screen (rather than replacing the page you’re currently viewing):

  • Tap the + button (see the figure) on the right side of the tab bar near the top of the screen. A blank tab named Untitled will appear, as shown. Now type a URL, tap a bookmark, or initiate a search and it will appear in this tab.

  • Hold your finger on a link until a list of options appears, and then tap Open in New Tab.

To switch tabs, just tap the tab. To close a tab, tap the gray X that appears on the left edge of the active tab.