How to Close All Tabs in Safari on the iPad

Getty Images / Mauro Grigollo

If you are one of the many people addicted to opening tab after tab in the Safari browser, you've probably become frustrated that there is no clear way to close all of the tabs at once. Unfortunately, while there was a workaround using the private browsing mode for iOS 7.0 and earlier, the iPad now retains all of the open tabs even if you flip to private browsing mode and back again.

If you are still using a version of iOS earlier than 8.0, you can skip to the directions for using this trick.

But what can you do if you are using the latest version of iOS?

You can use a sledgehammer or you can use a razor blade.

The sledgehammer way is to go into the iPad's settings, choose the Safari settings from the left-side menu and tap the "Clear History and Website Data" button at the bottom of the screen. This will not only close all of your tabs, it will also clear out all of the cookies. So any website that automatically logs you on would forget who you are until you log in again, and any passwords or information that automatically filled would need to be input again. This method is best if you have opened so many tabs that Safari doesn't run properly and you can't close the tabs any other way.

The razor blade method is to close the tabs individually. There's a quicker way to do this than tapping the X button on the tab. Instead, tap the button that looks like two squares to show all of your open web pages.

Instead of tapping the X button, use your finger to slide the webpage off the left side of the screen. Simply tap the webpage representation and slide all the way to the left. You need to slide your finger quickly else the Safari browser will think you want to rearrange the tabs.

This fast swiping motion is much quicker and easier than pecking at those Xs.

It's not as good as a close all tabs button, but until Apple adds this feature, we'll just have to practice up on our swiping.

How to Close All Tabs in Safari for iOS 7.0 or Earlier

If you use the original iPad or you are still using iOS 7.0, you can close all of the webpage tabs on your iPad by placing Safari in "Private Browsing" mode within the iPad's settings. Toggling Private Browsing either on or off will prompt the iPad to offer you a choice of closing all tabs, making it a great way to do a quick cleanup of your Safari browser.

  1. Go into your iPad's settings. (Get help getting into the iPad's settings.)
  2. Scroll down the left-side menu until you locate Safari. Choosing this option will bring up all of the Safari settings.
  3. Private Browsing is located in the Privacy section. Flip the switch from Off to On (or On to Off) and a message box will appear offering you a choice to close down all of the tabs.
  4. Choose "Close All" to shut down the tabs.
  5. Important: Switch Private Browsing back off before exiting.

What is Private Browsing? It allows you to browse the web without the websites being logged in your web history. It also prevents websites from recognizing and tracking you based on cookies.