Disappearing Safari tabs on iPhone and iPad? 10 Working fixes

Disappearing Safari tabs on iPhone and iPad

Here are some quick fixes:

  • You can disable auto-close Safari tabs by going to Settings → Safari → Close tabs → Manually.
  • Ensure that all tabs are visible by using either Show All Windows or Merge all Windows option in Safari on iPad.
  • To access the closed tabs, tap and hold the Plus button and select the tab you want to open.

I think we can all agree that the disappearing Safari tabs on iPhone and iPad are frustrating. Especially if you were doing something and paused it to resume later, only to discover Safari has automatically deleted all those tabs.

If you tend to keep multiple web pages open on your browser to access them later, losing them would be the last thing you want to happen. So why does safari tabs keep disappearing on iPhone and iPad? There are multiple reasons for it, and I have gone through them to find the right fixes for you. Read along!

  1. Disable auto-close Safari tabs
  2. Show all Safari windows on iPad
  3. Merge all windows on iPad
  4. Access the recently closed Safari tabs
  5. Check the browser history
  6. Bookmark the tabs on Safari
  7. Check internet connection
  8. Enable background app refresh
  9. Update software to the latest version
  10. Restore tabs through other Apple devices
  11. Hard reset your iPhone

1. Disable auto-close Safari tabs

Auto-close is a feature in iOS and iPadOS, where you can make Safari close all the tabs after a particular period, such as a day, week, or month. If it’s turned on, the time to worry thinking why your safari tabs keep disappearing has come to an end, as you are going to find the fix here:

  1. Open Settings → tap Safari.
  2. Scroll to the Tabs section and tap Close Tabs.
  3. Here, tap Manually.

    Disable Auto-close on iPhone

That’s it! Now Safari won’t be closing tabs automatically, and you can have peace of mind.

2. Show all Safari windows on iPad

Despite turning off the auto-close tabs on your iPad, if you still cannot access all the Safari tabs, it might be because you are using multiple Safari windows on your iPad. So, let’s see how to switch between multiple Safari windows and find the disappeared tabs:

  1. Press and hold the Safari icon on the dock.
  2. Tap Show All Windows.

    show all windows on iPad

Now, you can see all the Safari windows that you have opened. Check if you can see the tab you are looking for in these windows. If you want to merge all these windows, I have mentioned the steps for that in the next part.

3. Merge all windows on iPad

Since managing all the Safari windows is a difficult task, the best way is to merge them all. All you have to do is:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Tap and hold the Show Tab Overview (four squares in a quadrant) on the top right.

    Show Tab Overview
  3. Now, tap Merge all Windows.

    merge all windows in safari on iPad

As you can see, all the tabs present in multiple Safari windows will be combined and will be shown under a single window. Now, you can jump between tabs without fear of losing any tab unexpectedly until you close them.

4. Access the recently closed Safari tabs

If you closed a Safari tab mistakenly, it’s very easy to revive them. All you have to do is:

  1. Tap and hold the + icon in Safari for iPad at the top right.
    On iPhone, tap the tabs button → long-press the + icon.
  2. Tap any tab from the list of tabs you have closed recently.

    access recently closed Safari tabs on iPhone and iPad

Other than that, you can also open the closed tabs on Safari from the browser history section. I have mentioned that in the next method.

5. Check the browser history

  1. Open Safari on your iPad or iPhone
  2. Tap the book icon at the top left.
  3. Select History. Here you can revive the tabs you want to.
    On iPhone, it will look like a clock icon.

    browser history on Safari for iPhone

6. Bookmark the tabs on Safari  

If Safari keeps closing the tabs on your iPhone or iPad, it could be some bugs in iOS. It would be better to stick with a workaround until a fix is released. The best one is to bookmark all the tabs that you are using. But wait! Before you think about the tedious process, I can assure you it’s very simple. Just follow these steps.


  1. Open Safari → tap the tabs icon.
  2. Tap and hold one tab.
  3. Now, tap Add Bookmarks for X Tabs.
  4. Give a name to the folder.
  5. Select a location and after that, tap Save.

    Bookmark the tabs on Safari on iPhone


  1. Long-press the address bar.

    tap and hold address bar
  2. Tap Add Bookmarks for X Tabs.

    merge all windows on safari
  3. Name the folder and select a location.
  4. Next, tap Save.

You can access these bookmarks from the location you have saved. If Safari removes your tabs, you can load them by selecting tap and hold that folder → Open in New Tabs or Tab Group.

7. Check internet connection

All the methods you have performed will be useless if you haven’t connected to the internet. Connect your iPhone or iPad to the internet and see if you face any issues. Safari is an internet browser; hence, it needs a proper internet connection to use its features.

8. Enable background App refresh 

Maybe it’s because Safari is not allowed to run in the background, causing the app not to behave properly and thus, miss some tabs. You can enable Background App Refresh to let Safari run in the background. All you have to do is:

  1. Open Settings and tap General.
  2. Tap Background App Refresh.

    enable Background App Refresh on iPhone
  3. Now, tap Background App Refresh again.
  4. Enable Wi-Fi & Mobile Data.

    enable background app refresh

9. Update software to the latest version

Safari cannot be updated individually since it’s a system app, and the only way to update is by updating your iOS or iPadOS version. You can check for the latest software updates on iPhone or iPad by going to Settings → General → Software Update.

10. Restore tabs through other Apple devices

Since you cannot access Safari tabs on iPhone and iPad, let’s look at a way to restore them. But for this method, you should have already enabled the Sync option on your Apple ID and should be logged in with it on another iPhone or iPad. After that:

  1. Open Safari and select the Tabs icon on the other iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down, and you’ll see tabs opened on other devices.

11. Hard reset your iPhone

If you cannot fix the issue of tab disappearing on Safari, the last resort is to reset your iPhone or iPad, as it may fix the software bugs causing the issue. But before that, perform a quick restart or a force reset as some issues will be easily fixed.


Q. Does updating iOS delete Safari tabs?

No, updating your iPhone won’t delete tabs of the Safari browser. You can ensure by turning off the auto-close tabs option from Settings → Safari → Close tabsManually.

Q. Why did Safari delete my bookmarks?

The Safari bookmarks might get deleted if you have turned off the sync between devices, and thus, you won’t be able to access bookmarks saved on other devices.

That’s it!

I can understand how frustrated you will feel when tabs disappear on Safari. With this guide, I hope you were able to fix the issue once and for all. Also, do you prefer Safari over other alternatives? Let me know in the comments below.

Want more Safari tips, tricks, and fixes? Here are some handpicked ones:

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  1. Thank you so VERY much for: clear pics, easy to understand directions & work around. VERY much appreciated 😃

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