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How to Customize a Start Page in macOS Big Sur’s Safari

With macOS Big Sur’s Safari, you can customize the new start page to make it your own. You can set a background image and select which sections are displayed on the start page — including Favorites, Siri Suggestions, Reading List, iCloud Tabs, and even a Privacy Report.

Here’s how to change your Start Page in Safari

  1. Launch Safari and go to “Preferences > General”
  2. For “Safari opens with:” click “A new window.”
  3. For both “New windows open with:” and “New tabs open with:” select “Start Page”
General preferences in safari

Now, open a new window. You should see items such as:

  • Favorites – the place where all your favorite bookmarks are stored. You can tap a website’s icon to open it.
  • Frequently Visited – a list of websites that you frequently access;
  • Privacy Report – a new feature in Safari on Big Sur that shows which websites tried to track you.
  • Reading List – a list of the webpages you’ve added for later reading.
  • Siri Suggestions – Apple’s “personal digital assistant” recommends a website based on your browsing history.
  • iCloud Tabs – only displays if Safari is synced with iCloud across devices. If the feature isn’t enabled, go to “Apple menu > System Preferences > Apple ID.” Then enable iCloud Drive.
  • Background Image – It doesn’t affect your browsing experience. But with a custom wallpaper on the Safari start page, you can set the welcome page per your taste.

Customize what you see:

You can decide which of these items you want to see on your start page.

  • Click on the menu icon (three slider lines) at the bottom right of the start page.
  • Uncheck the items you don’t want to appear on the start page. 
Customise start page in safari favorites

To set a background image:

  • Click on the menu/three slider icon and make sure Background Image is enabled.
  • Click the “+” to add your own images.
  • To view your image options, click on an image, then scroll right or left to see the ones you’ve added or the default ones that Apple has made available.

To remove a website from your Favorites list:

  • Control-click on its icon on the start page.
  • Select Delete.
Removing favorites from safari start page

Dennis Sellers
the authorDennis Sellers
Contributing Author
Dennis has over 40 years of journalism experience and has written hundreds of articles. For the past 20-plus years, he's been an online journalist, covering mainly Apple Inc. He's written for MacCentral, MacWorld, MacMinute, Macsimum News, Apple Daily Report, and is now contributing editor at Apple World Today.
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4 Comments

  • This article also applies to Safari Version 14.0.1 with macOS Catalina Version 10.15.7, although the icons look slightly different.

  • Thanks, didn’t know this feature existed. I can do it on Mojave and Safari 14.0, so I think it is a function of Safari and not Big Sur.

  • Hmm. When I click on options following “Safari opens with:” I find only two. (1) “All windows from last session” and (2) “All non-private windows from last session.” On my iMac 2020, I am running Big Sur, MacOS 11.0.1. Safari is “Version 14.0.1 (16610.2.11.51.8)” According to my access to App Store there are no updates pending. What am I missing?

    • That is unusual, Hazen. I just rechecked it and here’s what I see for options: A new window; A new private window; All windows from last session; and All non-private windows from last session.