Sidefari review: A clever app that lets you use two Safari windows with Split View

By , Nov 20, 2015

Sidefari 2

Sidefari, an App Store app first brought to my attention by MacStories, is a release that allows you to view two Safari windows side by side by means of some clever use of iOS 9’s Safari View Controller.

The app, which is available for purchase for only $0.99, comes courtesy of developer Franscico Cantu. Just made available today, Sidefari can come in handy for any user with an iPad that’s capable of Split View, but will be something that is most appreciated by iPad Pro owners.

Once Sidefari installed, it’s just a matter of enabling the “Send to Sidefari” Activity extension via the Safari browser’s Share button. Once enabled, it’s easy to send any content that’s being viewed in Safari to Sidefari.

The whole idea of this app is using two Safari windows side by side, so you’ll want to invoke Split View and select Sidefari from the list of available apps. Afterwards, it’s super easy to send Safari web pages over to the Sidefari window, which essentially allows you to view two Safari windows at the same time.

There is one major downside to using Sidefari as a second browser, and that’s because Safari View Controller windows aren’t capable of navigating to other pages via the address bar. Safari View Controller windows were designed to view URLs directly from applications, and as such, the URLs can’t be modified directly.

Yet, even with that limitation, Sidefari is an excellent app that I can wholeheartedly recommend. Remember, Safari View Controller comes with many benefits, including keychain access, and auto-fill. It’s a limited instance of Safari, true, but die-hard Safari users will still much prefer using a limited version of Safari, instead of having to fire up a seperate browser like Chrome.

Along with the extension, which will likely be the primary way that folks use the app, Sidefari is also capable of saving browsing history, which can act as bookmarks for direct browsing to favorite websites within the app itself.

Yes, it would be great if Apple gave us the ability to run two Safari windows side by side, but until that time comes, Sidefari is a great workaround that’s absolutely worth the $0.99 asking price.

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  • iBanks

    And it was just earlier today where I was watching your video review on my Apple TV 4 and I was thinking, it’ll be awesome to do two safari browsers side by side but can only run one instance of it so I guess I’ll have to download Firefox and run it with Safari. This dev has my purchase.

  • the hood

    Yes you are ‘absolutely’ correct(ed) in your views Mr Benjamin.

    • One of the downsides of writing on iPad… Terrible spell checking. Thanks.

      • the hood

        Why? I conducted a test on my ipad air activating ‘auto-correction’ and ‘check spelling’ (which i don’t use) and interestingly it underlined the misspelt word but did not correct it automatically. Is it possible its internal dictionaries are not loaded?

  • Guy

    Apple will do this next just you watch

  • DTT255

    Ok I searched the app store AND cydia. Cannot find it. Anyone else?

    • Leguro

      AppStore not safari. Maybe not available in your area.

  • Gary LE

    So this app can use your stored passwords and other private info? If so is this app safe?

    • It’s not storing anything, it’s using Safari View Controller, which taps into keychain, etc. I other words, it’s legit.

    • Sleaka J

      All the app does is pass a URL to the Safari View Controller. Once it’s done that, it’s Apples Safari View Controller that renders the pages and does the rest.

  • Eikast

    Last night when I connected (via bluetooth) my older Apple Keyboard it hit me that not being able to have two Safari Windows side by side is a big con for “multitasking”. This app is pretty cool. It’s a genius idea (genius as in it’s the first or at least the first to be noticed to do this). Since it’s using Safari View Controller, most of the work is with the design, supporting iPad multitasking features, and app extension support. Pretty cool idea. A simple idea that hopefully makes him a lot of money.

  • ProllyWild

    now if only iOS will implement a search box for the multitasking menu. The more apps I get, the more time i spend swiping through icons trying to find the right one.

    • Jackson Grong

      Yeah the interface shud be like a mini-springboard

  • Dual Browser was able to use side by side split screens while browsing websites since… iOS 3.2 🙂

  • Ethan Humphrey

    Great Idea! I would buy this app just to support the developer but I have no money left in my account. I’ll have to make my own version of it in xcode.