Favicons (short for favorite icon) are the little website icons that appear in most browsers's URL bars, tabs and bookmark lists. Not only do they make a bland colorless row of tabs more aesthetically pleasing, they make the tabs visually distinguishable and thus much easier to quickly identify the tab you're looking for when many are open. They first appeared in 1999 with the debut of Internet Explorer 5 and quickly became standardized and supported by most other browsers. Inexplicably, Safari does not currently support them in either macOS or iOS, making it nearly impossible to identify the tab you want at a glance. Compare with and without favicons:
While it may seem trivial to some, others like Daring Fireball's John Gruber go as far to say "Safari’s lack of favicons in tabs, combined with its corresponding crumminess when displaying a dozen or more tabs in a window, is the single biggest reason why so many Mac users use Chrome."
However you may feel about the issue, it all changes with macOS Mojave and iOS 12 - the long awaited favicon support finally arrives to Safari. They are off by default so you'll have enable them. Here's how to turn on favicons in iOS 12 on your iPhone or iPad:
- Open Settings -> Safari.
- Scroll down to "Show Icons in Tabs" and toggle it on. Voilà, you now have favicons.