Apple iOS and iPadOS Safari Icon Hero

Normally, Safari on iPhone and iPad displays a list of Favorites on its blank pages whenever you open a new window or tab. Unfortunately, Apple does not provide a simple and obvious way to disable this, but there is a way to do it. Here’s how to set it up.

The Quest for a Truly Blank Safari Page

Ordinarily, if you have any Favorites saved in Safari on your iPhone or iPad, they will show up on a “blank” page like this after you create a new tab or open a new page.

An example of Favorites showing up on a blank page in Safari on iPhone.

Using a simple trick, we’re going to get rid of that group of Favorites links on your Safari’s blank page, and you won’t need to delete your Favorites to do it. The key is to make Safari display the contents of an empty Favorites subfolder that we are going to create.

Although we’ve used iPhone screenshots, the following instructions work for the iPad as well.

Step 1: Make an Empty Favorites Folder in Safari

First, open Safari on your iPhone or iPad and tap the “Bookmarks” button, which is an icon that looks like an open book. On the iPhone, it’s located in the toolbar at the bottom of the screen. On the iPad, you’ll find it at the top of the screen just to the left of the address bar.

Tap bookmarks icon

In the menu that appears, select the “Bookmarks” tab (which looks like the outline of an open book), then tap “Edit.”

In Safari, select the Bookmarks tab and tap "Edit."

Once Edit mode starts, tap “New Folder” at the bottom of the menu.

Tap "New Folder"

In the “Title” text box, type in the name “Empty.” Technically, you can name this folder anything you like, but the name “Empty” will help you remember its purpose in the future.

After that, tap the “Location” drop-down menu and select “Favorites.” Then tap “Done.”

Type "Empty," then tap "Done."

Then tap “Done” again to exit Edit mode.

We’re done in Safari for now. Next, we’ll go into Settings to make a small change.

Step 2: Configure Safari in Settings

Now we need to tell Safari to display the empty folder of Favorites that we just created. When it displays this empty folder, no Favorites will appear, and Safari will generate a truly blank page.

To do that, open “Settings” and navigate to “Safari.”

In iPhone Settings, tap "Safari"

In the “General” section, click “Favorites.”

In Settings, tap "Favorites"

In the list that pops up, choose the “Empty” folder we created earlier.

In Favorites settings, tap "Empty"

After that, tap back once, then exit Settings.

The next time you open Safari to a blank page, you will see no Favorites at all.

An example of a blank page in Safari on iPhone with no Favorites listed

Simplicity at last! If you want to keep the page blank, remember to never save any Favorites to the “Empty” folder we created. Keep it empty, and you’ve always see this blank gray page when you open a new tab or window in Safari on iPhone or iPad.

Benj Edwards Benj Edwards
Benj Edwards is a Staff Writer for How-To Geek. For over 15 years, he has written about technology and tech history for sites such as The Atlantic, Fast Company, PCMag, PCWorld, Macworld, Ars Technica, and Wired. In 2005, he created Vintage Computing and Gaming, a blog devoted to tech history. He also created The Culture of Tech podcast and regularly contributes to the Retronauts retrogaming podcast.
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