How to Close All Tabs in Safari on the iPhone or iPad

If you are one of the many people addicted to opening tab after tab in the Safari browser, you've probably found yourself with far too many tabs open at once. It's easy to open up ten or more tabs in one session of web browsing, and if you don't clean out those tabs on a regular basis, you could find dozens open in your web browser.

While Safari does a good job managing tabs, having too many open can cause performance issues. But you don't have to worry about closing each tab one by one. There are a few ways to immediately close all the tabs open in your browser.

How to Close All Tabs in the Safari Browser

The quick-and-easy method is to use the tabs button. This is the button that looks like two squares stacked on each other. If you are using an iPad, this button will be at the top right. On the iPhone, it is at the bottom right.

  • Instead of just tapping this button, which will show all of your open tabs as cascading windows, tap-and-hold the button. This will bring up the tabs menu.
  • The tabs menu will have an option to close all of your tabs. This will close out of all websites except the page you are currently viewing.
  • On a newer iPad, this menu will also let you open split view. This view splits the web browser in half allowing you to view two websites at the same time.
  • You can also use this method to open a 'private' tab. Read more about private browsing.

How to Close All Tabs Without Opening the Safari Browser

What if you can't even open the Safari browser? It is possible to open so many tabs that Safari has a problem opening. More common are websites that lock you into a series of dialog boxes from which you cannot exit. These malicious websites can lock down your Safari browser.

Luckily, you can close all tabs on your iPhone or iPad by clearing the Safari's cache of website data. This is the sledgehammer way of closing tabs and should only be done when you cannot close them through the web browser. Clearing this data will erase all of the cookies stored on your device, which means you will need to log back into websites that ordinarily keep you logged in between visits. 

  • First, launch the iPhone or iPad's Settings app. (Find out how...)
  • Scroll down the menu and tap on Safari.
  • Toward the bottom of the Safari settings is the option to "Clear History and Website Data".

After you tap this option, you will need to confirm your choice. Once confirmed, all data kept by Safari will be cleared and all open tabs will be closed.

How to Close Tabs Individually

If you don't have many tabs open, it can be easier to simply close them individually. This allows you to pick-and-choose which tabs to leave open.

On the iPhone, you will need to tap the tabs button. Again, this is the one that looks like a square on top of another square at the bottom right of the screen. This will bring up a cascading list of websites open. Simply tap the 'X' on the upper left of each website to close it.

On the iPad, you can see each tab displayed just below the address bar at the top of the screen. you can tap the 'X' button on the left side of the tab to close it. You can also tap the tabs button at the top-right corner of the screen to bring up all of your open websites at once. This is a great way to close tabs if you want to keep a few open. You can see a thumbnail image of each website, so it is easy to target which one to close.

More Safari Tricks:

  • The Share button will let you send a website to a friend as a text or mail message. But one cool hidden feature is "Add to Home Screen." This adds the website to your iPhone or iPad's Home Screen as an icon, creating a shortcut to the website.
  • The half-circle arrow in the web address bar will reload the current page when tapped. But if you hold it down, you can refresh the "desktop" site, which is the version seen on PCs and Macs.
  • You can install an ad blocker. This is done by first enabling ad blockers by opening the device settings, choosing Safari settings and tapping on "Content Blockers". You will first need to download an ad blocker before this option appears in settings.
  • Read more tips for Safari.

Did you know? Private browsing allows you to browse the web without the websites being logged in your web history. It also prevents websites from recognizing and tracking you based on cookies.