We’ve all grown accustomed to using the Back button in our web browser to navigate back to a previously viewed web page. Throw that habit out the window and check out SnapBack in Apple’s Safari.
Have you ever wondered what that tiny orange circle with the white arrow in Safari’s address bar or search box was for? That’s the icon for SnapBack, one of the browser’s unique major features. Earlier this month I posted an extensive list of “21 Apple Safari internet browsing tips and productivity boosters” and purposely left out SnapBack because it deserved an article all on its own. I wanted to give it the proper attention and really show how beneficial it can be when you find yourself lost in a web surfing frenzy.
The way SnapBack works is by silently marking a web page every time you type in a new URL, click a bookmark, or open a new window. As you continue browsing by clicking links and drilling down into the levels of a website, you may find yourself a long way from where you started. Sure, you could hit the Back button a few (or a few hundred, depending on how crazy you got) times to get back to that original page. Or you could simply click the SnapBack icon once and it will bring you there immediately. It’s a huge, huge time saver when you lose track of your starting point.
To give you an example, let’s say you’ve chosen MacYourself.com from your Safari bookmarks and you’re on the home page. After you venture through a couple of articles and leave a few comments, you eventually click on a link to MacRumors.com. You keep browsing, reading some of the latest Apple gossip when you realize you want to go back to MacYourself again. By this point, you’ve gone through 10-15 pages and definitely don’t want to click the Back button that many times. Clicking the orange SnapBack icon in the address bar gets the job done.
Where Safari’s SnapBack feature really comes in handy, though, are Google searches. How many times have you done a search, clicked on a result, and then gone off on what is the internet equivalent of a wild tangent? Computers have made us so A.D.D. that it’s easy to lose our initial train of thought and transition into something else without even realizing it. Having the SnapBack button in the search box gives you the chance to go back to the original Google search page (including your exact position on that page at the time of your click) and get you back on track.
It takes some time to get used to since it’s not built-in to other mainstream internet browsers, but Safari’s SnapBack feature is an excellent tool that helps you surf faster and smarter. Oh, and in those times when you know you’re going to want to revert back to a certain web page, you can instruct Safari to create a SnapBack point by going to History > Mark Page for SnapBack in the menu bar. Happy browsing!