You’ve opened a website on your iPhone, but you don’t know how to get rid of it. Have no fear, it’s easy to close a website by closing its tab in Safari. We’ll show you how to do it.

What is a Tab in Safari?

In Safari, a “tab” is a web page that is currently open in the browser. It might be in the foreground and you’re looking at it now, or it might be in the background and you can switch back to it later.

The terms “tab” and “tabbed browsing” originated on desktop PCs in the 1990s. Before tabbed browsing became popular, most browsers opened each website in its own separate window. With tabs, you can open many websites at the same time in the same browser window.

On an iPhone, the term “tab” isn’t as relevant since Safari is always a single-window experience, but Apple chose to preserve the use of the term. It’s a familiar way of saying that multiple web pages are open at the same time.

How to Close a Single Tab in Safari on iPhone

First, open the Safari app. While viewing any page, tap the tabs button (two overlapping rounded squares) in the lower-right corner of the screen.

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(In iOS 15 or higher, if your address bar is at the bottom of the screen, you can also swipe upward on the address bar to see a list of open browser tabs.)

Tap the "tabs" button in Safari on iPhone.

After tapping the tabs button, you’ll see a list of your currently open website tabs with a thumbnail preview for each. To close a website (tab), tap the small “X” button in the upper-left corner (iOS 14 and earlier) or upper-right corner (iOS 15 or later) of the site’s thumbnail.

Tap the "X" on the thumbnail to close the tab.

Repeat this with any other tabs you’d like to close. In iOS 15 or later, you can also quickly swipe the thumbnails to the left to close them.

RELATED: How to Get the Old Safari Back on iPhone

How to Close All Safari Tabs at Once

If you need to close many Safari tabs (even dozens or hundreds of them) and you don’t want to tediously tap or swipe through them one at a time, you can quickly close them all at once.

To do so, press and hold the tabs button (the two overlapping squares) until a menu pops up. In the menu, select “Close All Tabs.”

Tap "Close All Tabs."

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A confirmation message will pop up. Tap “Close All Tabs” again, and all your tabs will disappear.

If you’ve made a mistake and closed something important, hold down the plus (“+”) button at the bottom of the screen. You’ll see a “Recently Closed Tabs” list that you can use to re-open the tabs you need. Happy browsing!

RELATED: How to Close All Safari Tabs at Once on iPhone and iPad

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Benj Edwards is an Associate Editor 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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