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In Safari 14.0 and higher on the Mac, the Tab Preview feature lets you peek into the web page by hovering your cursor over the tab. If you find this annoying, you can disable it using Terminal. Here’s how.

Apple added the Tab Preview feature in the macOS Big Sur update, but it’s also available for macOS Catalina users who have updated to the latest version of Safari.

An example of Tab Preview in Safari on Mac
Tab Preview in Safari on macOS Big Sur.

Usually, Apple adds a toggle in the Preferences for disabling the newly added features, but there’s no such option available for Tab Preview. But don’t worry: All it takes is a single command in Terminal to disable the feature.

Before we get started, you’ll need to provide full disk access to Terminal. To do so, click the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the screen and choose “System Preferences.”

Open System Preferences from Apple Menu on Mac

Click “Security & Privacy.”

Go to Security & Privacy in System Preferences

You’ll need to unlock this preference pane to make changes, so click the lock icon in the lower-left corner.

When the security pop-up appears, use either Touch ID or enter your password. (If your account isn’t set to “administrator,” you’ll need to enter credentials for an administrator account to make changes.)

With preferences unlocked, click the “Privacy” tab, then select “Full Disk Access” in the sidebar. Place a check mark beside “Terminal” in the list.

Enable Full Disk Access for Terminal App

Close System Preferences.

Now that Terminal has full disk access, it’s time to open the Terminal app itself. You can do this by using Spotlight Search, browsing Applications > Utilities, or using Launchpad.

RELATED: How to Open the Terminal on a Mac

When the Terminal window opens, click it once, then paste the following command and hit the Return key:

defaults write DebugDisableTabHoverPreview 1

Terminal Command To Disable Tap Previews in Safari

After that, select Terminal > Quit Terminal from the menu bar (or press Command+Q) to safely exit the Terminal app.

For the change to take effect, you’ll have to relaunch Safari. When you go back to the app and hover over one of the tabs, the preview thumbnail won’t appear.

Once this process is complete, you can optionally disable Full Disk Access for the Terminal app. It’s not required, but it will make your system more secure if you don’t use Terminal often. To do so, open Settings and navigate to Security & Privacy > Privacy > Full Disk Access and uncheck “Terminal” in the list.

How to Reenable Safari Tab Preview Thumbnails

If you change your mind and want to bring back Safari’s tab preview thumbnails, reopen Terminal and paste the following line, and then hit Return:

defaults write DebugDisableTabHoverPreview 0

Restart Safari, and you’ll see the tab thumbnail previews again when you hover your cursor over each tab. Happy browsing!

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Mastering Tabs in Safari

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Khamosh Pathak is a freelance technology writer who specializes in tutorials. His work has also been published on Lifehacker, iPhoneHacks, Zapier's blog, MakeUseOf, and Guiding Tech. Khamosh has nearly a decade of experience writing how-tos, features and technology guides on the internet.
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