How to move multiple Safari tabs at once in macOS

Spoiler: you can’t! But there’s a workaround.

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When tabbed browsers first appeared, I was dubious. I liked my various windows that I could arrange! Over time, browers improved tab management and tools, and I adapted. I often have multiple windows open, each with a particular task or project, with many tabs in each.

But what do you do when you have a bunch of tabs in one window and want to move them to another window? Safari lets you drag tabs one at a time: hold down on the tab and drag and a tiny window appears that you drag into another open window (either onto a tab or into the tab bar). Or you can release it and it becomes a freestanding window of its own.

mac911 add bookmarks for tabs IDG

You can add all the tabs in a window to a bookmarks folder.

If you want to move multiple tabs, you’re stuck. Chrome offers this feature--hold down the Shift key and select tabs--but Safari does not. There’s a workaround that involves bookmarks and a little fuss, but if you’re moving more than three or four tabs, it’s worth the effort.

  1. Bring the window in Safari to the front that contains tabs you want to move.
  2. Select Bookmarks > Add Tabs for These X Bookmarks.
  3. In the dialog that appears, name the folder that will contain these bookmarks and click Add.
  4. Open a new window by selecting File > New Window.
  5. Choose Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks.
  6. In the folder with full of books for those tabs, remove the bookmarks for items you don’t want to appear in the new window.
  7. Right-click on the bookmarks folder and select Open in New Tabs.
  8. Return to the window you started with and click the x close button on each tab you don’t want.

(You can also in step 6 split the bookmarks into two folders, open each folder in a separate window via step 7, and then close your original window.)

This seems like a kludge, and it is. But clicking the close box a number of times is substantially faster than what feels like using a tweezer to pick up tabs and move them individually.

(Thanks to Macworld reader Richard for an improvement on the original steps!) 

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