Can I disable the cover flow history at bottom of Safari?
November 14, 2021 7:52 AM   Subscribe

I don't find any utility in the row of poorly labelled thumbnails that show up along the bottom of my iPad screen whenever I open Safari on my iPad. It only takes a second to dismiss them but is there a way to turn this “feature” off permanently? (I can’t believe I'm asking this here but I must not be using the right terminology in my Google searches)
posted by brachiopod to Computers & Internet (10 answers total)
I'm on 15.0.2, and when I open Safari in portrait, I see the address bar at the top, then tabs, then the page content, and nothing at the bottom. When I open it in landscape, same thing, plus a navigational sidebar on the left. Nothing at the bottom.

You're obviously seeing something different. Can you share a screenshot?
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 8:14 AM on November 14, 2021

Best answer: On my iPad those seem to be my “other windows.” I can display the list (even if I’ve only got a single Safari window open) by opening Safari, swiping up from the bottom to reveal the Dock, and tapping the Safari icon again. The rightmost thumbnail shows a plus sign and is labeled “New Window.”

If I touch the windows I don’t care about and swipe upwards, they seem to be dismissed. And if I only have a single window open, Safari doesn’t seem to show the list when I switch to the app.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 9:20 AM on November 14, 2021 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks. Here's a photo of what I'm talking about.

I believe it came with 15.1
posted by brachiopod at 9:20 AM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks fantabulous timewaster. The dock functionality doesn’t seem quite the same for me but dragging the thumbnails upwards a bit farther than I had tried previously has dismissed them and they don't seem to be coming back on each Safari launch.
posted by brachiopod at 9:29 AM on November 14, 2021

I am using 15.1 and I don't get this. In Settings, go to Safari and check the Tabs section. I have it set to "Separate Tab Bar" and when I change it to "Compact Tab Bar", the tabs look different. Worth a try to change it to Separate if you have it on Compact.
posted by soelo at 9:30 AM on November 14, 2021

Response by poster: I'd tried that setting adjustment but no effect on the thumbnails. Forgot to mention that they were also showing up in my Mail app but fantabulous' dragging upwards trick works there too (and I finally figured out the dock could be brought up by not dragging from the very bottom of the screen…and that works in Mail too.
posted by brachiopod at 10:26 AM on November 14, 2021 [1 favorite]

Huh. I see 15.1 came out weeks ago. So much for "automatic updates".

Also, yikes, that looks *immensely* annoying.

Anyway. I've now updated, I still don't see anything relevant in the settings, and although it didn't happen by default, I managed to trigger it once. I couldn't get the dragging-upwards trick to work, but force-closing Safari cleared it.

I've looked at the release notes, and I don't see anything there that sounds at all like what we're seeing, so what it's called and how it's supposed to be helpful remain a mystery, which is frustrating. Thank you for asking this question though, saving me from being caught out by it at some future point and flinging the iPad across the room in irritation.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 10:44 AM on November 14, 2021

FWIW, I've noticed that in at least one other app (Goodnotes).
posted by Lexica at 12:45 PM on November 14, 2021

Best answer: You've already got your answer, but if you're curious, this feature is called the "Shelf" and first appeared in iPadOS 15. When you open an app in iPadOS 15 the shelf appears if the app supports multiple windows and you have more than one window open in that app — for example, in Safari you can open two windows, each with their own set of tabs, and then place them side-by-side in Split View to see two separate sites at the same time. There is a brief mention of the shelf in Apple's iPadOS 15 features page and iPadOS 15 release notes. Here are two nice overviews of the new multitasking features of iPadOS 15 (including some discussion of the shelf): How to master multitasking on iPad and iPad Pro in iPadOS 15 and iPadOS: Multitasking.
posted by RichardP at 4:29 PM on November 14, 2021 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for those links RichardP. I can see I'm really behind the curve on multi-tasking but even more surprised something didn’t come up on it in my searches. I could see it being more useful if more of the thumbnails had legible images or a way of revealing the entire site address.
posted by brachiopod at 5:08 PM on November 14, 2021

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