OSX & iOS: Browsing Made Portable

The best browser is the one you have with you.

In the days of yore, I would find myself browsing the web on my iOS device and think to myself, "I should really be looking at this on my Mac," and so I'd email myself a link to the site that I was viewing, jump over to my Mac and fire up my email client, open the email that I'd sent to myself, click on the link within that message, wait for my browser to launch and then continue browsing. Whew! Talk about going around your elbow to get to your thumb!

iOS 6 and Mountain Lion take all of that hassle away with iCloud Tabs. First off, you need an iOS device running iOS 6 and sign into your iCloud account. Open Safari and enjoy some small-screen web browsing. Now, switch over to your Mac running Mountain Lion that's also signed into the same iCloud account. Open Safari, and click on that little cloud icon in the upper left corner. Magic! There's a list of all of your iOS devices that are signed into your iCloud account and browsing the web with Safari, including any tabs that you left open from your last session!

Safari on the Mac with iCloud Tabs open, showing a list of active browsing on an iOS deviceSafari on the Mac with iCloud Tabs open

Now you can pick up your browsing right where you left off on your iOS device, and enjoy some extra screen real estate.

The same trick works going the other way too. Start browsing on the Mac and then switch over to your iOS device. Open Safari on the iOS device and then down in the bottom tab bar, tap on the bookmarks icon. From the main bookmarks menu, you'll see a folder called iCloud Tabs. Tap on that, and you'll see your browsing session from your Mac as well as any other iOS devices that are signed into your iCloud account. Cool, eh?

The bookmarks and iCloud Tabs menus displayed on the iPhoneThe Bookmarks and subsequent iCloud Tabs menu on the iPhone

You can do the same thing on your iPad, however it's a bit easier to access your iCloud Tabs in the iPad interface. Just tap on the little cloud icon in the upper left of the Safari toolbar, and you'll be presented with an interface very similar to that on the Mac.

Safari on iPad with iCloud Tabs openThe iPad more closely resembles the Mac with the cloud icon in the upper left