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How to Disable Tab Thumbnails in Safari for Mac



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In Safari 14.0 and later on the Mac, the Tab Preview feature lets you take a look at the web page by moving your cursor over the tab. If you find this annoying, you can turn it off with Terminal. Here’s how.

Apple has added the Tab Preview feature to the macOS Big Sur update, but it is also available for macOS Catalina users who have updated to the latest version of Safari.

An example of Tab Preview in Safari on Mac
Tab preview in Safari on macOS Big Sur.

Usually Apple adds a toggle in the Preferences to turn off the newly added features, but this option is not available for Tab Preview. But don’t worry – all it takes is a single command in Terminal to disable the feature.

Before we get started, you need to provide full disk access to Terminal. To do this, click on the Apple icon in the top left corner of the screen and choose ‘System Preferences’.

Open System Preferences from Apple Menu on Mac

Click on ‘Security & Privacy’.

Go to Security & Privacy in System Preferences

You must unlock this preference pane to make changes, so click the lock icon in the lower left corner.

Click Lock to make changes to the security section

When the security popup appears, use Touch ID or enter your password. (If your account is not set to ‘administrator’, you will need to enter credentials for an administrator account to make changes.)

Enter the password and click Unlock

With preferences unlocked, click the “Privacy” tab, then select “Full Disk Access” from the sidebar. Place a check mark next to “Terminal” in the list.

Enable full disk access for Terminal app

Close System Preferences.

Now that Terminal has full disk access, it’s time to open the Terminal app itself. You can do this by using Spotlight Search, browsing Applications> Utilities, or using Launchpad.

RELATED: How to open the terminal on a Mac

When the Terminal window opens, click it once, paste the following command and hit the Return key:

defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugDisableTabHoverPreview 1

Terminal command to disable Tap Previews in Safari

After that, select Terminal> Exit Terminal from the menu bar (or hit Command + Q) to safely exit the Terminal app.

For the change to take effect, you must restart Safari. When you go back to the app and hover the mouse pointer over one of the tabs, the preview thumbnail is not displayed.

Once this process is complete, you can optionally disable Full Disk Access for the Terminal app. It’s not required, but it will make your system more secure if you don’t use Terminal very often. To do this, open Settings and navigate to Security & Privacy> Privacy> Full Disk Access and uncheck “Terminal” in the list.

Re-enable preview thumbnails from Safari tab

If you change your mind and want to bring back Safari’s tab preview thumbnails, reopen Terminal and paste the following line, then press Return:

defaults write com.apple.Safari DebugDisableTabHoverPreview 0

Restart Safari and you will see the tab thumbnails again when you move your cursor over each tab. Have fun browsing!

RELATED: The Complete Guide to Mastering Tabs in Safari




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