Atlas Updates

How To Search Your Browsing History On Safari

by Atlas Updates

If you're on a computer all day, you churn through dozens of web pages every hour. Quickly accessing, comparing, and drawing from those pages can dramatically speed up any research project. So understanding how to use your browser history is a big time-saver.

Review The History Of Your Current Browser Tab

Safari gives you multiple entry points to your browsing history. To review the history of a single tab, you can hold down the "back" button while viewing that tab. It's a quick way to see the pages you've just visited.

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View Your Recent Browser History

The History tab displays the web pages you've visited most recently, on any Safari tab or window. This list is around 15 pages long, so if you're doing intensive research on the web, it maxes out pretty fast. It's the best way to see any page you've recently visited across all tabs, but if you churn through a lot of pages, web pages you visited just a few hours ago may not be on this list.

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The History tab also shows the last seven days of web history. Mousing over the days will bring up a display of all web pages you visited on that day, on any Safari tab or window. For heavy web users the list will be dozens of pages long. Still, if you remember the day you visited a page, you can find it here.

View Your Entire Browser History

To show your entire web browsing history on Safari, you can select History > Show All History or hit ⌘-Y. This will replace the tab you are viewing with your Safari web history on all tabs and all windows. Assuming you've never cleared your history, "Show All History" will do just that—show a list of every web page you've ever visited on that device, organized by date.

Unless you keep a very detailed daily diary, you aren't likely to remember the exact date and time of every web page you've looked at. To narrow down your search, you can use the Search bar at the top of the page. It's an instant filter search, so results show as you type. This is a nice feature but if you have a massive web history it can cause Safari to crash.

If you need to find a page you visited weeks or months ago, but don't know the specific day, this is the one place in Safari to look for it.dutch-oven-safari-browsing-history.png

Safari also surfaces your web history when you type in the program's address bar. If the term you are typing matches the title of a page you've bookmarked, or that you visit frequently, a link to that page will appear in a drop-down as you type. These suggestions are based on your history, but don't include your entire history. For example, if you type "Chicago" you won't be shown every page you've ever visited that has the word "Chicago" in it. Instead, you'll be more likely to see pages that have "Chicago" in the title of the page, or that you've visited often.

Sometimes, a topic that you researched for 30 minutes three weeks ago suddenly seems pertinent to your latest project. If you're able to easily find that research, you've just saved yourself 30 minutes. Safari has limitations that make this difficult.

Safari's history is organized around time, not around topic. While it can search page titles for certain terms, it isn't very good at understanding how these terms relate to each other. When it pulls up your search history, it displays a list of URLs and page titles, which sometimes isn't enough information to tell you if you've found the page you were looking for.

Search Text & Topics On Pages In Your Browser History

Atlas Recall is a program for your Mac that can search for and return you to web pages you've viewed in Safari. Rather than showing you a list of URLs and titles, Atlas' advanced search interface displays a preview screen of each page—and it can search the text that was on that page. The visual prompt of the page helps make a connection with your memory that a URL often won't.

If you need to find a page you once visited, but aren't sure what the the page was, Atlas Recall can find it. The visual view will help you find the page you need.

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The search will also find files and documents related to the topic in other programs. Say you are researching solar power. If you started writing a memo about solar panel costs in Microsoft Word, Atlas will show you that. If you made a list of key solar providers in an Excel spreadsheet, Atlas will show you that. If you downloaded a pertinent infographic, Atlas will show you that.

Atlas recognizes that events occurring at the same time tend to be related. So if, while you were Googling solar panel providers, you chatted a work colleague who just installed a solar roof, your chat will be likely to show up when you look for that page again. This entire personal library of activity is also available on your phone, with the Atlas companion app.

When you're trying to reconstruct a Safari session, Atlas Recall is the single place to access not just your web history, but your computer history.

Learn more about all of Atlas Recall’s features.