Are Safari tabs slowing down my iPhone?
Unlike desktop browsers, opening tabs in the background on Safari won’t slow down your iPhone. With some very limited exceptions, cards are “suspended” and will not use any resources until you interact with them.
If you’re worried that your huge pile of unclosed tabs in Safari for iPhone is slowing down your phone, draining your battery life, or eating up your storage, this is the article for you.
Safari handles tabs efficiently, so leave them alone
Listen, we understand. It’s only natural to assume that opening a bunch of tabs in Safari on your iPhone must have some kind of impact. Only feels right?
So he could keep hundreds, if not thousands tabs open on your iPhone doesn’t it hurt performance, battery life, or both? And surely there must be a huge storage penalty for caching all those pages?
But it is an application of the old desktop-oriented model of web browser usage and influence to a mobile device that is designed to work in a different and more efficient way.
Despite all the claims you’ll find on the web and in viral videos that you should routinely close all your tabs to improve performance, it just doesn’t matter.
When you are not actively viewing a page in Safari, the page is in a suspended state. It’s more or less a glorified tag that just happens to have a fancy thumbnail for your viewing convenience. The number of tabs you have in Safari doesn’t drain battery life or slow down your phone. If your phone needs resources, it will simply take care of managing all the resources in the background without your intervention.
It is so effective at this, in fact, that despite our best efforts through extensive testing to even replicate it the smallest performance hit to say: “Look! Under these extreme circumstances, you can finally see the impact of oversized browser tabs on iPhone!” we came empty handed.
We have loaded thousands of cards. We tried to force websites to stay active in the background and drain the battery. We logged into web-based resources that we controlled and monitored extended activity that indicated that the browser tab in question was doing something, anythingin general.
The end result? Huge proof that the Safari experience on the iPhone is optimized to have as little impact on the overall user experience on the phone as possible.
Nothing we did reduced performance. Playing music from a website loaded in the background (which is the only way a website will stay active when you’re not directly interacting with it) had no additional impact on battery life that you wouldn’t get from playing any music on your iPhone.
Just like closing apps on your iPhone has no effect on performance (and actually hurts performance and battery life), spending a lot of time troubleshooting your Safari tabs does nothing to make your phone faster or your battery last longer. And there’s no storage performance hit either, because as soon as your phone needs the space taken up by any website’s caches, it will simply grab that space and use it.
But close them if it makes you happy
So when should you close your tabs? Not to speed up your phone because unfortunately that’s just a placebo effect that makes you feel better.
Instead, close your tabs when it helps your mental health and makes you feel happy. Whether you like to start each week with a clean slate, or have cards open related to a work project you don’t want to think about anymore, or for any number of reasons you just don’t want cards cluttering up your phone, feel free to throw them all away.
In fact, you can even customize your phone automatically closes tabs for you on the schedule. Again, it won’t have any impact on performance, but who doesn’t love a little automation? Setting up a tab closing schedule is like having a little Roomba for your digital detritus.
Don’t care and don’t want to bother closing them? And that’s okay. I never work. You can open Safari on my phone at any time and, except for those rare times when I’ve closed tabs for the purpose of writing articles here on How-To Geek, it’s constantly tied to the maximum number of tabs.
And hey, while we’re talking about cards, check them all out these tips and tricks for wrangling your stack of Safari tabs to be organized (or not) as you wish.
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