How to close all the tabs in Safari on iPhone and iPad in one fell swoop

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As you go about your day, chances are you will be opening a lot of URLs in Safari on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad as the day wears on, be it directly in the mobile browser itself or by tapping on URLs in third-party apps such as your favorite news reader applications.

And because every new URL gets created in its own new tab, you’ll soon end up with a bunch of open tabs, which can lead to performance issues and the annoying reloading issue, especially on iOS 7.

While you can always get rid of the individual tabs by swiping them away, this gets old fast in the case of a dozen or more open tabs. Turns out there’s a nice little trick to close all tabs in iOS Safari at once…

To accomplish this, we’ll use Safari’s Private Browsing mode, which allows you to surf the web without the websites being logged in your web history or being able to track you based on cookies, here’s how.

Step 1: Open Safari’s tabs view
With Safari running in the foreground, tap the tabs button in the lower right of the screen. Up pops a nicely laid out view of all the tabs you currently have open, keep them all or cancel.

How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 000)How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 001)

Step 2: enter Safari’s Private Browsing mode
Notice the button labeled Private in the lower left corner of the interface? Tap it. Up pops a dialog box telling asking whether you would like to close all your open web pages before turning on Safari’s Private Browsing mode.

While you could Keep All your open tabs and continue surfing the web anonymously, this isn’t what we want to do. Instead, choose Close All and Safari will shut down your open tabs and put itself in Private Browsing mode.

How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 002)How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 003)

Step 3: switch Private Browsing back off before exiting
You now only need to switch Private Browsing back off: tap the tabs button in the lower-right again and hit the Private button to disable the private feature. This is a great way to close all the tabs at once, without having to swipe them away one at a time.

How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 004)How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 005)

The trick applies to Safari on iPad, with one key difference.

Due to the larger screen, Safari on iPad has enough canvas at its disposal to actually put your open web pages in the tab bar at the top of the interface. So where do you find Private Browsing mode in Safari for iPad?

How to (close all Safari tabs, screenshot 007)

Easy, just hit the “+” button in the upper right corner in Safari. This will create a new tab. Now look at the lower left corner – there’s your Private button.

How do you like this little trick?

Sound off in the comments and feel free to share your own iOS tips and tricks at so we can pick the best ones and feature them in future how-tos (yes, we’ll credit you).