3 ways to close all Safari tabs except for the current one

Tabbed browsing had got to be one of the greatest inventions web users have been enjoying ever since AOL’s Netscape browser came along way back in the 1990s.

As always, with great power comes great responsibility.

Don’t use tabs responsibly and you’ll strain system resources to the point where Safari slows your Mac to a crawl. Also, you don’t need me to tell you that keeping too many tabs open at the same time is an invitation to go down the rabbit hole of the Great Time-Suck.

Besides, can you imagine the amount of time lost clicking around open tabs and swiping that tab area left and right trying to find the tab you’re looking for? Plus, having too many open tabs definitely kills your ability to to declutter your mind and focus on your work.

Check out the video below to learn more about why tabs sometimes can be productivity killers.

If you’re like me, you have a few dozen open tabs in Safari at any given time.

Every time I notice my Mac’s responsiveness has been affected by having too many tabs open, or I simply want to focus on the task at hand without any distractions, I employ a simple trick that lets me close all Safari tabs except for the one I’d like to focus on, in one fell swoop.

It could be a news story I happen to be interested in, a longform article I’d like to read thoroughly or maybe a quick HTML game to kill a few minutes of my time.

And when I’m done single-tasking in Safari, I can always quickly resurrect my closed tabs one by one or restore any windows and tabs from my last browsing session at once.

When several tabs are open in a Safari window and you’d like to close all of them except one, you can do that in three different ways as outlined further below.

Method #1: right-clicking

You can close all Safari tabs that are no longer needed except for the active tab without pressing any keyboard shortcuts or using menu options.

1) Select your Safari window with multiple tabs open.

2) Control (⌃)-click or right-click with your mouse or trackpad the tab you want to keep.

right-click to close all safari tabs

Right-clicking the tab brings up its contextual menu

3) Select the option Close Other Tabs from a popup menu.

This will immediately close all open tabs except the currently selected one.

Method #2: Tab Close button

You can also close all Safari tabs except the active one this way:

1) Select your Safari window with multiple tabs open.

2) Option (⌥)-click the close symbol (“x”) at the leftmost side of the tab you want to leave open.

tab close button to close all safari tabs

Clicking the Close Tab button while holding the Option (⌥) key also does the trick

This method will also close all open tabs in the current Safari window, except for the currently selected tab. Closing all but the most essential tab is a good way of keeping yourself from getting distracted while helping free up valuable computer resources for other tasks.

Method #3: keyboard shortcut

You can also use keyboard or menu shortcuts to close all Safari tabs except one.

1) Select your Safari window with multiple tabs open.

2) Click the tab that you’d like to maintain.

keyboard shortcut to close all safari tabs

Closing unnecessary tabs prolongs battery life and makes your Mac run faster

3) Click the File menu, hold the Option (⌥) key and choose the option Close Other Tabs.

TIP: you can also press Option (⌥)-Command (⌘)-W to achieve the same effect.

This will keep the tab you’re currently viewing open and close all others.

Tabs in other apps

In macOS Sierra and up, other apps can merge multiple windows into a row of tabs, too.

Not only that, but you can even use the aforementioned Safari shortcuts to close tabs in other apps. For instance, you can Control-click the tab in TextEdit to open a shortcut menu, then choose the Close Other Tabs option. Likewise, you can Option-click the “x” symbol in the tab to close all other open tabs in a window while maintaining the current tab.

Tabs in Apple’s TextEdit app

You can create tabs in Finder windows, as well as in Apple’s stock apps like TextEdit and third-party apps like Pixelmator (just choose Window → Merge All Windows). This feature only works in apps that support working with multiple documents and tabbed browsing.

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