How to Preview Safari Links before Opening on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

Quick Links

Peeking at the URL of a link that you’re about to open is a good way to make sure the URL is what you expect and not a trick. Here’s how to preview links in Safari for Mac, iPhone, and iPad.

Popular desktop web browsers have featured URL status bars for decades. But Safari for Mac doesn’t enable one by default. If you want to quickly check the URL of a link, you can do it by enabling the status bar.

Related: What Is A URL (Uniform Resource Locator)?

First, open the Safari app on your Mac. Click the “View” section in the menu bar and choose the “Show Status Bar” option.

Enable Status Bar in Safari for Mac

With this enabled, when you hover over any link, you will see its full URL address in the status bar in the bottom-left corner of the page.

Preview URL in Safari for Mac

If you ever want to disable this link preview, click View > Hide Status Bar in the menu bar at the top of the screen.

Unlike the Mac, Safari on iPhone and iPad doesn’t have a status bar. But it does let you peek into the page that you want to open. You can tap and hold any link to load the page in a pop-up preview window. If you don’t like the full preview, you can switch to only viewing the URL (like Safari on Mac).

To get started, open a page in Safari on your iPhone or iPad. Tap and hold any link on the page.

Tap and Hold Link in Safari

If you’re running iOS 13, iPadOS 13, or higher, you will see a thumbnail preview of the page pop-up. To preview the URL instead, tap the “Hide Preview” button located at the top of the pop-up window.

Tap Hide Preview to Disable Website Preview

The thumbnail will disappear and you’ll see the URL listed in the box. If it looks safe and you want to open the page from this pop-up, tap the “Open” button in the menu list below the preview pop-up.

Website URL in Popup

If you want to get the thumbnail peek back later, just tap and hold a link again and select “Tap to show preview” at the top of the pop-up window.

Keeping an eye on URLs is just one more way that browsing with more knowledge will help you avoid web-based scams and keep you safer on the web.

Related: Why Do Websites Redirect to Fake “Congratulations” Gift Card Pages?

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