How to Set Up & Use Shared Tab Groups in Safari on iOS 16

iOS 16 is bringing many new features to the iPhone, including some for the latest version of Safari. One of these, that you can try out now if you've updated to the iOS 16 beta, is Shared Tab Groups, a feature allowing multiple people to collaborate live in a single Tab Group on Safari.

Shared Tab Groups are an interesting new feature for Safari that is available on other platforms where you can use Safari 16 as well, such as on a Mac, but here we'll cover how to set it up and use it on your iPhone. This feature allows you to create a Tab Group that invited people can view and add to, for real-time collaboration and planning of events or just to make it easier to share fun web pages with friends instead of texting them URLs. For more new ways to use Tab Groups in iOS and Safari 16, check out our guide on customizing Tab Group Start Pages and be sure to sign up for our free Tip of the Day newsletter for more guides on the newest features on your Apple devices.

How To Set Up Shared Tab Groups

Setting up and using a Shared Tab Group is easy, but some of the options currently feel hidden or at least unintuitive. I am hoping that the user experience will improve before the final release of Safari 16. Once set up, the feature seems to work well, however, so let's break down how to set it up step-by-step.

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  1. With Safari open, tap the tabs button in the lower right corner.

  2. Now, tap the button in the bottom center of your screen that displays current tabs open or the name of the tab group you are currently in.

  3. Swipe up on the card to see all the options.

  4. Tap the option labeled New Empty Tab Group.

  5. Enter a name for your Tab Group in the text field and then tap Save.

  6. Now you'll be on the tabs screen of the new group. To make it into a shared group, tap the share icon at the bottom center of your display.

  7. A typical share sheet will open, allowing you to share a link to join the group in the usual ways. The simplest way is to share via the Messages app. Just tap a suggested chat or tap the Messages icon to send to someone else. I picked a suggested group chat with two of my coworkers.

  8. After sharing an invitation to the tab group, the share button will be replaced with the icon below, showing small indicators of the people you've invited to collaborate. You can tap this button for tab group options.

  9. The menu here gives you easy access to communication with the members of the shared group, such as sending a text message, or making a group audio or video call. You can also tap the Manage Share button if you want to remove people from the group.

  10. On this screen, you can tap members of the group to revoke their access, or copy the link to share with group members if they have lost track of it. Confusingly, however, this is not where you go if you want to add more people to the group. Read on to see how to do this.

  11. Sending new invitations to an already existing Shared Tab Group is what I found most confusing. Using the Copy Link function from the previous screenshot will not allow any access to people that aren't members of the group, which is what I initially assumed it would do. To add a new person to the group, return to the tabs screen and open the Tab Groups sheet by tapping the name of the group in the bottom center of the screen.

  12. On this sheet, long press the name of the shared group.

  13. This will open a small menu allow you to, among other things, share the Tab Group. In this menu simply tap Share. That's it! This opens a share sheet just like the one used when you initially shared the Tab Group and works in exactly the same way. 

Using the Shared Tab Group works exactly like using any Tab Group, with the exception that all people in the group can use it. You'll see tabs and pages opened by others and what tab they are currently looking at, and they'll see the same for you. Saving a page as a Favorite will make it appear in the Group Favorites section of the start page for everyone, and pinning a tab will pin it for everyone. This is an interesting and potentially useful feature for collaboration, but be careful to switch back to one of your non-shared tab groups before you do anything that you want to be private.

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Author Details

Brian Peters's picture

Author Details

Brian Peters

Brian Peters is a Feature Web Writer at iPhone Life, a creative writing hobbyist, and general technology enthusiast. He has a bachelor's degree in English, and has completed National Novel Writing Month multiple times. He lives in the Austin, Texas, area with his wife, two dogs, and two cats.