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Save and Restore Tabs in Safari 5

posted by pimpmysafari on (6 years, 3 months ago)

The feature request that came 30 seconds after Tabbed Browsing was a way to save and restore your tabs upon restart. This is particularly useful after a browser crash when you want to get back to all those websites you weren't quite finished with.

I usually have so many tabs open at any given time that reloading them all on startup is a test in patience (and of my Internet connection), so I tend to not use it. But it is a popular feature.

There are no less than six ways to get your Safari tabs saved and restored, some have been around for a long time in the form of plugins. Others are new to the scene running as newborn Safari Extensions.

Safari's Built in Restore Tabs

Some people (including perhaps some extension developers) may not realize that Safari actually has a restore tabs option available as a core feature. You can choose "Reopen all tabs from last session" from the History menu. This won't happen automatically, so you have to choose it manually. But if you don't like to always have your previous session restored, this might be all you need.


The Glims plugin (see our Glims page) a tab save and restore feature with a few options (see the screenshot). This plugin has some behaviors that I like to see, like a prompt to restore or not if the browser had just crashed, and it saves the window sizes and positions as well as the tabs.

Glims Tabs

You're probably already using Glims (and if not, why not?), so you get this feature for free with a bunch of others.


The Saft (see our Saft page) plugin also has an option to save and reload windows. Otherwise, it is very no-frills and it works well enough. If you're using Saft already, look no further. But I wouldn't get Saft just for this.

Saft Misc Options


The SafariStand plugin (see our SafariStand page and SafariStand English Documentation) will restore the previous session or you can configure it to prompt you to specify which tabs to open, and in all one window. When restoring multiple window sessions, window size and position are not restored.

Safari Stand Restore Last Workspace


If you prefer not to have all the other features that come along with Glims or Saft, SafariTabs is a special purpose tab save/restore SIMBL plugin that does the job. It restores tabs and windows, but doesn't restore the window locations like Glims does.

Safari Tabs Preferences

SafariTabs, like SafariStand, gives you the option to choose which tabs you want to open.

Safari Tabs Chooser

Glims, Saft, and SafariTabs have been saving and restoring Safari's tabs for years. Now that Safari has extension support, a few other tab savers have appeared on the scene.

SafariRestore Extension

The SafariRestore Extension came out pretty quickly after Safari 5 hit the streets with extension support. It has a few options in its bag of tricks such as opening all tabs in one window (if you open multiple windows, it does not preserve their locations) and an option to prompt before restoring.


Safari Restore Prompt

Tabs Safari Extension

Finally we have the most recent extension to appear on the extensions scene, aptly named Tabs. It will automatically or manually open all tabs, though it doesn't preserve window position. This extension comes with a bonus toolbar button to duplicate the current tab. And if you speak ?esky (Czech), or just want to learn enough to talk to uh, nobody, this is the one for you.

Tabs Extension

So there you have it. At least six ways to save and restore tabs in Safari. A wealth of options.

One important note is that extension API doesn't have visibility into whether Private Mode is running in your browser. So the two extension based tools will restore all tabs, including those that were opened in private mode. So if private browsing is your thing (which isn't all that private anyway), stick to the old school plugins for this functionality to avoid the embarrassment of having your old (formerly) private tabs start up for someone else.

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