How to Customize Safari Start Page on Mac

Apr 12, 2021 - 13 Comments

How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur

Do you use Safari as the default web browser on your Mac? If so, you might be happy to know that Safari’s start page is now customizable, as long as you’re running a new version of Safari on the Mac.


With Safari 14 and later, start page customization allows users to set a background image, choose the sections that are displayed like Favorites or Frequently Visited, and more. These modern Safari version are available on macOS Big Sur, macOS Catalina, and macOS Mojave, so as long as you’re on a modern macOS release you can get started.

Let’s review how you can customize the start page in Safari for Mac.

How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS

Customizing your start page is actually a pretty simple and straightforward procedure, here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Launch “Safari” on your Mac from the Dock, Spotlight, or Applications folder

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur
  2. First, we’ll learn how to show/hide certain sections. To do this, click on the customize button located at the bottom-right corner of the Safari window. Here, simply uncheck or check the sections that you want to hide or show on the Start page.

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur
  3. Next, we’ll see how to remove unwanted favorites from Safari and clean up your start page. To do this, right-click on any of the icons under the Favorites section and choose “Delete”.

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur
  4. Similarly, if you want to remove any of the Frequently Visited websites from showing up on the home screen, right-click on it and choose “Delete”.

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur
  5. Reading lists can also be removed in a similar way too. They show up at the bottom of your start page. Right-click on any of the reading lists and choose “Remove Item”.

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur
  6. In this step, we’ll learn how to change your Safari background. To do this, simply right-click on the empty area in the start page and click on “Choose Background”. This will open up Finder and you can set any picture as the background.

    How to Customize Safari Start Page in MacOS Big Sur

And there you have it, you’ve customized the Safari start page to your liking.

Whether you’re using Safari 14+ that’s pre-installed on macOS Big Sur or you’re running a standalone version of Safari 14 on an older version of macOS like Catalina or Mojave, the above steps are going to be identical. As long as you have a modern Safari version you’ll have these options available.

Aside from the new customization options, newer versions of Safari also let you check the Privacy Report for websites to see how many trackers have been contacted by a specific website. These trackers are automatically blocked and prevented from tracking you across the web. Safari also has native translation with support for seven different languages, with more languages likely to be on the way.

Safari 14 also brings some performance improvements. According to Apple’s claims, Safari is now capable of loading frequently visited websites 50 percent faster on average than Google Chrome. Power efficiency has also been improved as Safari can now stream video for up to three hours longer and browse the web for an hour longer compared to third-party browsers like Chrome or Firefox.

Did you overhaul the look of your start page in Safari for Mac? What do you like about a customized Safari start page? Share with us your thoughts and relevant experiences in the comments.

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Posted by: Hamlin Rozario in Mac OS, Tips & Tricks

13 Comments

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  1. Martha McClain says:

    I very much prefer opening Safari with my home page of choice and do not like using this extra step.

  2. John F Foster says:

    “…click on the customize button located at the bottom-right corner of the Safari window.”

    No such button appears on my SAFARI page.

    • Paul says:

      As the article says, if you do not see the option it likely means you’re on an older Safari version.

      Or maybe you’re not on a blank new Safari start page, as it does not appear on websites.

      • Mick says:

        If it doesn’t appear on website pages, what good is it? 99.9 percent of users have a homepage set as safari default open page… a whole lotta nothing here…

    • Mick McClain says:

      To see the Start page (as opposed to the start page you’ve selected in preferences) you need to click Bookmarks in the drop down menu first then select “Show Start Page” The options box will then appear in the lower right corner. But so what? Nothing you cant do elsewhere… extra steps to get to the same thing… nothing burger…

  3. Bill Turini says:

    Perhaps it’s just me, but when I open a new tab, or start Safari clean, I get the homepage I have set. I do not see the options button on any page I open.

    • Mick McClain says:

      To see the Start page (as opposed to the start page you’ve selected in preferences) you need to click Bookmarks in the drop down menu first then select “Show Start Page” The options box will then appear in the lower right corner. But so what? Nothing you cant do elsewhere… extra steps to get to the same thing… nothing burger…

  4. Clive says:

    For some reason, any background image I try to use is severely pixellated and unrecognisable in Safari on my 2012 15″ MacBook Pro. I even did a clean install of Catalina and the problem is still there. The problem isn’t there in Safari Technology Preview on the same Mac and Safari is fine on a 13″ MacBook Pro of the same vintage. Hopefully Catalina will receive the next version of Safari in the autumn and the problem might be cured. Until then, I’m stuck with a boring grey background to my Safari start page!

  5. James says:

    ” if you want to remove any of the Frequently Visited websites from showing up on the home screen, right-click on it and choose “Delete”.”

    Yes, OK. But having done that by mistake how do you re-instate that website so it shows on the Home Screen again?

  6. Brian says:

    “Whether you’re using Safari 14+ that’s pre-installed on macOS Big Sur or you’re running a standalone version of Safari 14 on an older version of macOS like Catalina or Mojave, the above steps are going to be identical. As long as you have a modern Safari version you’ll have these options available.”

    I’m on OS10.14, safari Version 14.0.3 (14610.4.3.1.7)

    this “click on the customize button…etc” doesn’t exist.

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