Safari: macOS Monterey and iOS 15 latest beta shows Apple is still looking for the perfect interface

Apple is still looking for the perfect design for its new address bar in Safari.

In iOS 15 and macOS Monterey, Apple attempted a very significant interface and feature update for its Safari browser. Tempted, because the Cupertino company shows mid July 2021 that it is not yet sure of itself: the last beta has fixed some behavioral bugs and refined the behavior of an element which, without a doubt, will be at the center of conversations – the floating address bar.

Apple pioneered the new address bar behavior from the macOS Monterey and iOS 15 private betas. In the first public beta, the Cupertino company confirmed its desire to see an address bar low on the shelves. web pages, while it is traditionally at the top of a site. But the behavior was random, especially because of the animation that accompanied entering a URL: when it was touched, the bar rose to the top of the tab or window.

With beta 3, this behavior has changed: the address bar is well at the bottom, but locks at the top bar of the keyboard on iOS, which makes a lot more sense in terms of experience. On macOS, Safari changes completely and adopts by default an operation with two levels of bars, for addresses and tabs. The clean interface of the first betas can be found by right-clicking in the top bar of the browser then “Customize the toolbar”.

On the left, the new behavior of Safari on iOS 15. On the right, the behavior of the first betas // Source: Numerama screenshots

Will the lower address bar stay?

In practice, the address bar at the bottom of the page is really interesting. It falls directly under the thumb and allows you to very quickly launch an interaction with the browser, without having to raise your hand or change your hand. Our tests since the first betas show us that, after a few days of trial and error, the habit comes quickly and we find just as quickly that other browsers have an interface problem.

But this bar poses a real concern in terms of web design. It floats above a site taking up considerable space and hides when scrolling. Some websites already have a good management of this bar: the lowest block displayed on the screen is always above it. It’s a bit more complex for websites that have dynamic menus at the bottom of the screen in the mobile version.

According to our tests, this leads to bugs and other glitches, between the address bar that goes over the menu, the menu that does not appear, or problematic situations where a native pop-up (for example a word saved password) removes all navigation functions from the screen (previous page, etc.). A sign that the development of this new Safari is still underway and that we should not rush to adapt the websites before its official release – probably at the end of September 2021 with the new iPhones.

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