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

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.