iOS 7 Safari supports new shortcuts with external keyboards

iOS 7 Safari on iPhone

Mobile Safari in iOS 7 has undergone some major under-the-hood changes which have vastly contributed to the overall speed increase in web page rendering times. The iOS 7 web browser is now nimbler, faster and greatly simplified, but that’s not saying Safari doesn’t pack in other improvements.

This includes the handy new Mac keyboard shortcuts. That’s good news for people who use a Bluetooth keyboard with their iOS device as you can now open a new tab, close the currently active tab and even move the focus to the unified search/address bar using the familiar keystrokes…

Kudos to Tao of Mac for the heads-up!

The following shortcuts are supported:

• Cmd+L to move the focus to the location bar
• Cmd+T to open a new tab
• Cmd+W to close a tab

Of course, these are standard keyboard combinations that have been in place in the Mac edition of Safari for ages.

Now, I’m a big fan of tabbed browsing so the ability to open and close tabs without lifting my finger from the keyboard = increased productivity. But it’s the Cmd+L shortcut that I’m really excited about.

Instead of tapping Safari’s address bar, I can now instead use the keyboard combo to move focus to the location bar – especially handy for searching the web (or text) from Safari’s address as opposed to visiting directly.

Another benefit: using the external keyboard gives you more real estate as its virtual counterpart doesn’t pop up.

The post also mentions some issues with some Bluetooth keyboards refusing to register the Spotlight keystroke (“it takes me back to the Home screen without toggling the search field”) and some Bluetooth keyboards refusing to work at all.

It seems toggling Bluetooth off and on again in Settings solves the problem.

I just wish more apps supported external keyboard shortcuts. For example, Chrome comes to mind as do Apple’s own stock apps other than Safari. For example, why aren’t there keystrokes to navigate the Messages app? Moreover, key combos dedicated to iOS multitasking would have been a great time saver.

For now, it’s possible to use any Bluetooth keyboard to navigate the Apple TV menus and even set up the set-top box during first run.

Jeff will soon have a super detailed walkthrough of everything that’s new in iOS 7 Safari so stay tuned.