iPad Browsing Tips for Faster Surfing - dummies

iPad Browsing Tips for Faster Surfing

The iPad or iPad mini helps lessen (but, alas, not eliminate) the biggest problem with the web — the fact that it’s just so darned huge. You probably spend great big chunks of your day visiting sites and still never seem to get to everything on that day’s To Surf list. This problem is alleviated on the iPad by allowing you to surf wherever Wi-Fi can be found (or just wherever if you have a cellular version of the tablet).

Work with iCloud tabs

Safari tabs in iOS, OS X, or Windows are handy browsing tools because they let you keep multiple websites open and available while you surf other sites. That’s fine as long as you use a single device to surf the web, but how realistic is that?

It’s much more likely that you do some web surfing, not only on your iPad or iPad mini, but also on your Mac or PC, your iPhone, or perhaps even your iPod touch. So, what do you do if you’re using your tablet to surf and you remember a site that’s open in a tab on one of your other devices?

In the past, you either had to wait until you could use the other device again, or you could try to find the site on your tablet. Neither is a satisfying solution, so Safari offers a much better idea: iCloud tabs.

If you have an iCloud account, you can use it to sync your open Safari tabs with multiple devices, and then access those tabs on your iPad or iPad mini. For this to work, you must be using Safari 6 or later on iOS, OS X, or Windows, and you must configure iCloud on each device to sync Safari data.

When that’s done, open Safari on your tablet and then tap Show All Tabs. Safari opens the Show All Tabs screen, which not only displays the open tabs on your tablet, but also the open tabs on your other devices.

View a page without distractions

It seems like only a few years ago that purse-lipped pundits and furrow-browed futurologists were lamenting that the Internet signaled the imminent demise of reading. With pursuits such as viral videos and online gaming a mere click or two away, who would ever sit down and actually read things?

Well, a funny thing happened on the way to the future: people read more now than they ever have. Sure, there’s some concern that people are no longer reading long articles and challenging books, but most do spend much of the day reading online.

On the one hand, this isn’t all that surprising because there’s just so much text out there, most of it available for free, and much of it professionally written and edited. On the other hand, this is actually quite surprising, because reading an article or essay online is no picnic.

The problem is the sheer amount of distractions on almost any page: Background colors or images that clash with the text; ads above, to the side of, and within the text; site features such as search boxes, feed links, and content lists; and those ubiquitous icons for sharing the article with your friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and on and on. This figure shows a typical example.

Fortunately, Safari helps solve this problem by offering the Reader feature. Reader removes all those extraneous page distractions that get in the way of your reading pleasure. So, instead of a cacophony of text, icons, and images, you see pure, simple, large-enough-to-be-easily-read text.

How do you arrive at this blissful state? By tapping the Reader button, which appears on the left side of the address bar.


Safari instantly transforms the page, and you see something similar to what is shown in this figure, which is the Reader version of the page shown.


Request a website’s desktop version

Many websites recognize that you’re surfing iPad-style and display a “mobile” version of the site. This version is usually easier to read and navigate, but that ease almost always comes at the cost of having access to fewer site features. If a site isn’t displaying the feature you want, you can request the site’s “desktop” version (that is, the full version that you’d see if you were using a desktop computer). Here’s how:

  1. Double-tap the site’s address at the top of the screen. Safari opens the address for editing.

  2. Swipe down on the screen to reveal the commands.

  3. Tap Request Desktop Site, as shown.