Recover a Mangled URL in the Address Bar of Safari, Other Browsers

| TMO Quick Tip

Occasionally, when editing a URL in the address bar of a browser, it becomes hosed up, truncated or totally lost. Here's how to quickly recover the original URL for a web page without going back to the original source/link.


Let's say you're reading an article that has a long URL/address. Perhaps you're tying to delete all the extra query string after the core URL and a "?" mark. (I do that all the time for the Particle Debris column.)

And then you make a mistake and delete too much. Alternatively, say you're editing a URL for some other reason and mess up. This full URL


Or perhaps you intended to copy the the URL and ended up mistakenly pasting something else.

Sometimes, you may not be able to get back to (or find) the original link, and you desperately need that mangled URL back the way it was when you first loaded the page.

The fix is to hit the ESC key once. The browser stores the original URL when the page is first loaded, and when you hit ESC, that page's original URL is returned to the address bar, overwriting any edits

This tip saves me often, what with all the URL editing I do to insert core URLs into articles without the query string. It's been tested and works in Safari, Firefox, Opera and Chrome. If you use another browser, check it out and let us know if this tip works.

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Lee Dronick

Good tip! Is there something similar for iOS?

John Martellaro

Lee: if there is, I haven’t found it.

Lee Dronick

Yes I have taken to copying all and the cleaning it up in Notes, Pages, or whatever.


This will also revert to the current URL if you are typing a search term in the address bar (except you have to hit “escape” twice).

Maybe I’m not following what you would be trying to do differently in iOS, Lee, but if you hit “cancel” it does essentially the same thing that John is describing.

Lee Dronick

I want the URL and not the stuff after it, and that can be quite a string. I sometimes have difficulty selecting just the URL, my arthritis being a growing problem.

Heath O'Brien

you can do this by reloading the page also

John Martellaro

Mr. O’Brien. Not sure what you meant. If you try to reload a page with a mangled URL, you’ll get a 404 error.

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