I like safari to open links in new tabs in general. I.e. when I do a search, I want results I click to open in new tabs in the same window. This allows to have multiple windows with multiple tabs and have them grouped by topic.

when I click on a link i an email, safari (on OS X) somehow (randomly?) chooses an open window and opens the link as a new tab in it. sometime it picks even a minimised window, although there are others visible on the same space.

to be clear: I want the new window when the action is triggered from external application (e.g. Mail, etc.). Within Safari I'd like to stick with the default behaviour.

I tried the Safari Settings -> Tabs -> Open new pages in tabs instead of windows setting (all of them), but this does not give the expected result. it is general for all. Also google did not know a satisfying answer, so I am asking here.

Any help is appreciated.

  • I want the same. Alas, Safari and Firefox think it's a good idea to hijack existing windows for creating unrelated new tabs. Until now... But one day they will understand. :-) Commented Dec 23, 2014 at 14:49
  • This is how it works on iOS. Strangely it works differently (and clearly wrong) on macOS. See similar questions here and here.
    – orome
    Commented Nov 2, 2021 at 15:05

3 Answers 3


I've experienced the same thing, new windows instead of tabs opening when control clicking, and it has seemed totally random to me, too.

The Safari Extension 'Link Thing' (maybe 'LinkThing' -?) will, by default, open all links in a new tab without your having to hit control unless the page (e.g. DuckDuckGo) disables and overrides the user's browser preferences.


The following OSA script opens the URL given as parameter in a new window.

function Safari {
    # Will open a New Safari window with argument 1.
    osascript <<EOD
    tell application "Safari" to make new document with properties {URL:"$1"}

Put the code into the file .profile in your home directory and run it with . ~/.profile.

I’ve found this solution in another thread here on Stack Exchange.


You can write a helper app, which you register it as the default web "browser" of your macOS. This helper app then redirects the URL to Safari programmatically, to open the URL in a new Safari window. AppleScript can be ran inside the helper app to do that.

A proof of concept is found here: https://github.com/dsakurai/new-safari-window

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