Apple brings back the old tab interface in Safari on the Mac and iPad with updates.
With the betas of macOS Monterey and iPadOS 15, Apple experimented with a variety of interface tweaks related to tabs in Safari. These tweaks were fresh, so it was nice to see Apple experiment, but overall they were steps backward and made Safari more difficult to use in my opinion.
By the time Safari 15 shipped, however, Apple had pulled back on the more radical changes from the betas, offering the new Compact Tab Bar layout and colorized tab bar as options. But it was still not a step forward. Even with the more traditional Separate Tab Bar layout, tabs appeared as buttons above your favorites, a switch from earlier versions of Safari.
The good news is Apple went full circle and with Safari 15.1 in macOS and iPadOS 15.1, Apple has reverted the Separate Tab Bar layout even further, making the tabs look like, well, tabs, moving them below the favorites, and eliminating the colorized tab bar (it remains an option in iOS 15.1). The Compact Tab Bar option remains available for those who prefer it, but if you’ve been feeling the sand shifting under your feet, it’s not your imagination—tabs really did change in Safari 15.1.