How to Manage the Top Sites Feature in Safari

Add, Delete, and Organize Your Top Sites in Safari

Safari's Top Sites page

Coyote Moon, Inc.

The Top Sites feature in Safari displays thumbnail images of the websites you visit most often. Rather than type in a URL or select a bookmark from the Bookmarks menu or the Bookmarks bar, click one of the thumbnails to go to a website quickly.

The Top Sites feature was first introduced with the release of OS X Lion and Safari 5 as a possible replacement for bookmarks as the primary way to reach the websites you view most often. 

Since the initial inclusion of Top Sites in Safari, it has undergone a few changes and updates, resulting in some features requiring slightly different methods to access them.

Information in this article applies to Safari 7 through Safari 12, except where noted.

Access and Edit Top Sites

The Top Sites feature automatically keeps track of how often you visit websites and displays the ones you visit most, but you're not stuck with the results. It's easy to add, delete, and manage your Top Sites.

  1. To access Top Sites, click the grid icon at the left side of the Bookmarks bar (in Safari 7 through Safari 12), or click the History menu or Bookmarks menu (in Safari 5 or 6) and select Show Top Sites. If a site updated the contents of the page since the last time you visited it, a star icon appears in the top right corner of the site's thumbnail (in Safari 5 and 6 only).

    Web page showing the location of the Top Sites icon in the top left corner
  2. To edit the Top Sites in later versions of Safari, hover the cursor over the Top Sites thumbnails to reveal icons that let you delete a page or pin it to its current location, preventing the pinned website from moving around on the Top Sites page. In Safari 5 or 6, click the Edit button at the bottom left corner of the Top Sites page.

    Safari Top Sites showing deletion and pin options
  3. Rearrange thumbnails by clicking and dragging them to a new location on the Top Sites page.

    Safari Top Sites showing rearrangement of thumbnails by clicking and dragging

When you're finished making changes to Top Sites in Safari 5 or 6, click the Done button in the lower-left corner of the Top Sites page. Changes are saved automatically in Safari 7 through 12.

Change the Thumbnail Size

There are three options for the size of the thumbnails in Top Sites, and two ways to make the changes, depending on the version of Safari you use.

Changing Thumbnail Size in Safari 5 or 6

In Safari 5 or 6, use the Edit button in the bottom left corner of the Top Sites page. You can then select from small, medium, or large thumbnails. The default size is medium. The size of the thumbnails determines how many sites fit on a page — 6, 12, or 24. To change the size of the thumbnails, click the Small, Medium, or Large button in the lower right corner of the Top Sites page.

Changing Thumbnail Size in Safari 7 through 12

In Safari versions beginning with Safari 7, Apple moved the thumbnail size and number of sites per page to Safari preferences.

  1. In Safari 7 through Safari 12, select Preferences from the Safari menu.

    Selecting Safari Preferences
  2. Click the General tab.

  3. Use the drop-down menu next to the item labeled Top Sites shows and select 6, 12, or 24 sites.

    Safari General preferences

Add a Page to Top Sites

To add a page to Top Sites, open the web page and either drag its URL to the open Top Sites screen or to the Top Sites icon at the top left corner of the current screen.

You can also add a page to Top Sites by dragging a link from a web page, an email message, or another document to the Top Sites icon.

You must be in Edit mode in Safari 5 or 6 to add pages to the Top Sites.

Delete a Page From Top Sites

To permanently delete a page from Top Sites, hover your cursor over the page you want to delete and click the X that appears in the top left corner of the page's thumbnail.

Pin a Page in Top Sites

To pin a page in Top Sites so that another page can't replace it, hover over the thumbnail image and click the pushpin icon that appears in the top left corner. The icon changes color from black-and-white to blue-and-white to indicate it is pinned. To unpin a page, click the pushpin again. The icon changes from blue-and-white to black-and-white when it is unpinned.

Reload Your Top Sites

Losing your internet connection even briefly can cause a minor glitch in the Top Sites feature, but it's easy to fix by reloading the Top Sites page. Open the Top Sites page in Safari and use the keyboard shortcut Command + R to reload the page.

Other Top Sites Options

If you want to open all new Safari windows in Top Sites, click the Safari menu and select Preferences. In the Safari Preferences window, click the General tab. From the New windows open with the drop-down menu, select Top Sites.

Safari Top Site options

If you want new tabs to open in Top Sites, in the New tabs open with the drop-down menu, select Top Sites.