Join Garrick Chow for an in-depth discussion in this video Web browsing with Safari, part of iPhone and iPod touch iOS 5 Essential Training.
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Probably one of the most exciting features of the iPhone when it first released was its inclusion of a real web browser. Until that point, most web browser on mobile phones we're only able to display strip down versions of most website's, where the layout you saw was rarely what the web page's designer had in mind. And trying to click links to move from page to page, involved using directional arrow keys on your phone's keyboard to navigate from link to link. The iPhone and the iPod touch however, have Safari, the mobile version of the same Safari browser from Apple that runs on both Mac OS X and Windows, so you get to see most web pages exactly as they look when you view them on an actual computer.
I say most web pages, because although Safari does work much like your computer's web browser, it does lack certain capabilities, most notably it doesn't support Flash and you also can't stream music or videos through the web browser and you can't install any additional plug-ins. Whether this affects you a lot or a little depends on the sort of web pages you tend to visit. Speaking from my own personal experience, I find that I don't usually browse too many websites where Flash is required when I'm on my iPhone, but that could be just me and your own experience might be different. So in this chapter we're going to look at using Safari to browse the web as well as some other cool tricks you can do while you're surfing around on the internet.
Let's begin with a quick tour of Safari. You launch Safari by tapping its icon. In this example, my bookmark's list pops open, I'll tap Done to close it. We'll talk about bookmarks in an upcoming movie. If you've previously used Safari, you'll most likely see the last page you were browsing when you re-open it. Now that said let's start our tour at the top of the screen and work our way down. Firstly we have our Address Bar, just tap in the field once and tap in the website's address. For this example, maybe I want to visit lynda.com. I could tap Go right now to go to lynda.com, but notice we also have a .com button here, so you can just tap that once to add the .com to your address.
Now before we visit lynda.com, I'm going to delete that .com and show you another cool tip. If you hold down the .com button, after a second, notice that you also get the other options of .net, .edu and .org. so you also don't have to type those options out if the website you're visiting is a .net, .edu, or .org address. But I do want to go to lynda.com in this case so I'll choose that and then tap Go. So now I'm looking at lynda.com on my iPhone and I'm seeing it exactly as it looks on a browser on a computer. Notice how quickly it loaded too. When you're on a Wi-Fi network, web pages will load just about as fast on your iPhone or iPod touch as they do on you're computer.
If you're on an iPhone and you're connected to AT&T's 3G network, they'll load a little more slowly. And if you're only on AT&T's EDGE network, be prepared for a much longer wait. Still, it beats not having any internet connection at all. Okay, so that's the Address Bar where you type in the addresses of the web pages you want to visit. The other thing I want to mention about the Address Bar right now is that this is also we're you'll find the button to Reload or Refresh the page, which is the circular arrow you see on the right side of the field. If you need to reload the page, maybe you want to see if it's been updated since you've last loaded it, just tap the Reload button. Notice while the page is loading, the Reload button turns into an X which is the stop button.
You can tap the stop button to stop the page from loading. But in this case I do want to load lynda. com completely so I'll tap Reload again. Lastly, when you tap in the Address Bar to type an address, notice we have an X in a circle here. That's the button to clear the entire address field so you have empty field to type in without having the hold down the Delete button. But I do want to stay on this page right now so I'll tap Cancel. Okay, so that's the Address Bar. To the right of that is the Search Bar. By default, Safari uses Google as its built-in search engine so any term or phrase you type into the Search field will be submitted to Google.
I'll tap in the Search field and let's search for lynda weinman and then I'll tap Search, and now notice in the Address Bar that we're looking at the search result at google.com. Google is one of many websites that recognizes when you're visiting the site on an iPhone or iPod touch and then presents you with the page formatted to look good on your device. Notice I don't have to scroll left and right or zoom in to view my results. I can just scroll up and down. So to visit a new link on a webpage, just tap it, and now we're looking at lynda.com again.
Now, it's not very easy to read the page and the size. Most web pages are designed to be viewed on computer monitors, which are wider than they are tall and we're currently browsing on the iPhone in portrait orientation. You might find it easier to flip the phone to landscape view when you're browsing web pages. That make things a little easier to read but the only thing about landscape mode is you might find it more difficult to comfortably hold the phone or iPod touch in landscape than in portrait. Let's flip it back to portrait and I'll show you few other ways to make web pages easier to read. First I'm going to tap the link to the lynda.com blog at the button of the screen so we have some more text to look at.
So the text in the main portion of the blog on the left side of the screen is really tiny right now because Safari loads pages so you can view the entire width. Now as you might expect, you could pinch out and drag to resize and position the column of text want to read. But a much easier and quicker method is to simply double tap the column of text you want to read, and just like that, it's resized and repositioned perfectly on your screen. And I think you'll agree that the text is much easier to read at this size. Double tapping the text again zoom's back out to the full page width view again. Now one of the things about double tapping web pages that I want to mention, when you're zoomed in, double tap it near the top or the bottom of the screen will scroll the page up or down.
The closer you tap to the top or the bottom the more the page will scroll which is pretty cool. But if you double tap too close to the center of the screen, the page will just zoom out again. So it does takes some practice to figure out exactly where to double tap to scroll and where to double tap to zoom in and out. Alright, now let's look at the buttons across the bottom of the screen. The triangle in the lower left corner is the Back button which works just like the back button in any other web browser. Tap it once to go back to the previews page. Once you've done that, the forward button becomes available, tap it once to go to the page you we're just on.
The next two buttons are for activities like adding bookmarks and viewing you're history which are pretty robust setup features, so we'll looked at them in their own upcoming movie. Final button in the lower hand corner of the screen is the Pages button. Sometimes you want to visit another website or web page without losing the page you're currently viewing. Just tap the Pages button. Here you can tap New Page to generate and open a new blank browser page. I'll tap in the address field and let's visit apple.com, and you can now see that the Pages button indicates I have three pages open. Another scenario in which you might want to open a new window is if you want to follow a link on a web page, but again without closing the current web page and just zoom in a little bit on the page here.
So for example, maybe here on Apple's page. I want to tap the iPhone button, but I also want to leave the apple homepage open. All I have to do is hold down on that link and after seconds some buttons appear. Select Open in New Page and as you can see that generates a new page and loads the linked page. I can switch back and forth between my open web pages by tapping the pages button and then flicking to the page I want and then tapping to view it. You can have up to eight pages open at once. Once you've reached your eight page limit or if you just want to close the page you no longer want open, tap the pages button and navigate to the page, and tap the X button to close it.
Even if you only have one page open you can still tap the pages button and tap the X button to close it, leaving you with just a single blank browser page. Okay, so that's the basics of loading and browsing web pages in Safari. In the rest of this chapter, we'll look at other things you can do while using Safari to surf the web.
- Exploring the touchscreen interface
- Setting up iPhone and iPod touch preferences
- Synching with a Mac or PC
- Typing with the intelligent keyboard
- Making phone calls and retrieving voicemail
- Finding a location with Maps
- Downloading and playing music and video
- Shooting and editing photos and video
- Using accessibility features
- Tweeting on the iPhone
- Locating a lost iPhone with Find My iPhone
- Sending free text messages with iMessage
- Finding and purchasing applications from the App Store