Sailfish Browser is based on the well-known Gecko engine from Mozilla. For Sailfish release 4.0.1, Sailfish Browser was upgraded to support Gecko ESR60. This work continues. Sailfish release 4.4.0 is expected to come with Gecko ESR78.
In addition to the engine, the user interface of the Browser has been improved in the recent Sailfish 3 and Sailfish 4 releases, bringing all the typical functions of mobile phone browsers to Sailfish.
1. Several ways to open web pages
Tap the Browser launcher icon on the application grid. It is usually located on the top row.
On the first launch of the Browser after installing Sailfish, the Browser will open up to the two views below. First, you will need to give the required permissions for the app to work (all of them). Next, the view on the right appears. We call it the Start view. It has the cursor ready in the address box (if not, tap there) and the keypad visible, so you can easily start typing the web address. Alternatively, it is possible to tap one of the bookmark icons in the middle.
Permissions needed. Start view.
The next time you open the Browser, it will display the website visited the previous time, the home page you have set or the "Start view" (on the right above) - depending on the value of settings "Home page", "Close all tabs on exit" and if the previously visited page has not been cleared yet. The table below shows how it goes on Sailfish OS release 4.4.0 (there may be changes later).
|Close all tabs
has the previously visited page
|Home page||Browser opens up to this view|
|OFF (default)||YES||"Start view"||Previously visited page|
|OFF (default)||YES||Home URL set by you||Previously visited page|
|OFF (default)||NO (history or tab cleared)||"Start view"||Start view
(type URL or tap bookmark)
|OFF (default)||NO (history or tab cleared)||Home URL set by you||Home URL set by you|
|ON||<irrelevant>||"Start view"||Start view
(type URL or tap bookmark)
|ON||<irrelevant>||Home URL set by you||Home URL set by you|
1.1. Typing a web address (URL)
When you open the Browser, it will display (by default) the website visited the previous time (an example below on the left) or alternatively the Start view (below on the right).
If you tap the black toolbar on the picture below left, you will get to the picture on the right where the current web address (URL) is shown highlighted. This allows you to start typing directly - the first character typed will replace the whole highlighted URL.
The Start view usually has the cursor placed in the web address box ready for you, so that you can start typing directly. If the cursor is not there, simply touch the box to move it there.
Type in the web address you want (in the example below it is "visithelsinki.fi") and tap the "Enter" key (at the bottom right corner). Note that the web address does not need to be complete (e.g. "https://www.visithelsinki.fi") as the integrated search engine (Bing, Google, Yahoo, etc.) can help in finding the address, or if it cannot, print out a list of potential addresses.
1.2. Searching with a keyword
Instead of writing the exact address of a web page, one can also write some free keywords and let the search engine (see chapter "Web browser settings" later in this article), e.g. Google, find and present some matching web pages for you. While writing, the browser shows potential matching results from your previous searches.
Once the search engine has presented the results, tap the one you want to open.
1.3. Open a bookmarked page
A handy way of opening frequently needed web pages is to use bookmarks. Your bookmarks appear as thumbnails under the row for writing the web address. In the left-most picture below, there are 6 bookmarks.
Simply, tap a bookmark to open the related web page.
The bookmarks have a context menu (tap-and-hold one of them) which helps you in managing your bookmarks - see the picture below in the middle. In particular, note the option "Add to app grid" which allows you to make some of your most-used web pages appear as icons in the app grid view - only one tap is required to browse to those pages!
1.4. Open a browsing history item
Yet another quick way to open frequently used web pages is to open them at the browsing history.
The history resides in the lower part of the complete toolbar.
2. Toolbar and toolset
The toolbar of the Sailfish Browser is located at the bottom of the screen. It is not visible all the time, to save display space, but you can always bring it back by swiping the display downwards.
The default toolbar is a one-liner (see below), showing the total number of open tabs, the back arrow, the current website with the security icon and the button to access the whole toolset.
Tap the "hamburger" button at the right end of the toolbar to open the complete toolset. You may need to push the tools window upwards to expose the last few items in the bar. The picture below shows the whole toolset.
Most of the tools are shown with meaningful names next to them. The lowest row has some tools without names. They are (from the left):
- total number of open tabs
- browse to the previous page
- close the current tab
- browse to the next page
- share a link to the current page
- add a bookmark for the current page
- refresh the page
Sailfish Browser allows multiple tabs. The number of the currently open tabs appears on the tab icon
(a small square at the left end of the toolbar). The example picture below shows three tabs.
3.1. Tabs view
You can invoke the display of all of your tabs by touching the tab icon (see the picture below, on the left).
The tabs appear as rectangles in the middle of the display (see the picture below, on the right). This view works as a switcher, too, so you can easily jump to another tab by touching it.
Note the two small icons at the display top - they indicate the number of normal tabs and private tabs open currently. In this example, there are three normal tabs and one private. These icons work also as a switcher between normal browsing and private browsing.
3.2. Opening a new tab
Opening a web page to a new tab (instead of replacing a web page on the current tab) goes by touching the + button in the middle of the tabs toolbar, at the bottom of the display (see the picture above, on the right).
Alternatively, you can tap at the "hamburger" button at the right end of the tabs toolbar and select "New tab" in the popup menu then (see below).
3.3. Private browsing
Opening a private tab can be done via the same popup menu as shown in the picture of above (chapter 3.2). Another way to do it is to first tap the icon of private browsing at the top of the display (the white icon with #1 on it in the picture above).
Private tabs are always shown on a background of diagonal black and grey stripes. The same background is used at the toolbar of private browsing web pages.
3.4. Closing tabs
All open tabs can be closed at the popup menu shown in the picture of chapter 3.2.
Another way is to let it happen automatically when closing the Browser app - there is the setting "Close all tabs on exit" in the Browser settings.
Closing the current tab is done by invoking the toolset and by tapping the close button at the toolbar. It is the white square with the 'x' on it in the picture below.
4. Searching on a web page
It is possible to search for words on the web page (tab) currently on the display. Use the "Search on page" tool at the fully open toolset. Type the keyword and tap Enter. See an example below.
5. The active cover of the browser
Like other apps, the Browser has an application cover (minimized view of an app at Home Screen). The cover reflects the web page just appearing in the Browser. There is the plus button on the cover, making it easy to add a new tab and start typing a new URL.
6. Web browser settings, privacy and browsing history
The settings of the Sailfish web browser are located in the menu Settings > Apps > Browser. Another way to access the settings is to open the toolbar fully and select the last item in the list, "Settings".
Read more on the browser settings here.