How to: Create and Use Multiple Browser Windows in S60 Web

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Having multiple 'tabs' open in a browser is something we take for granted on a desktop computer. And it's not unknown on other handhelds. But Nokia has traditionally tried to discourage people from using multiple browser windows on S60 phones. Is this justified and what's the easiest way to create and use extra windows in Web? 

I can see Nokia's point. I really can. Up until the advent of the Nokia E90, all S60 phones were hampered, perhaps arguably crippled, by only 20MB or so of free RAM. Enough for normal phone operation and some other moderately powerful applications, but not enough to handle multiple rendered desktop-grade web pages. The easiest and simplest solution seemed to be not to give users a way to open more than one window. In fact, the way many web sites tend to open up external links in a new window means that, at some stage, almost everybody has seen that multiple browser windows are possible. Right up until the point where RAM ran out and a memory error popped up, anyway.

So yes, Nokia was possibly trying to be helpful in a general way, at least in terms of average High Street phone users. But you and I want more. Armed with an E90, or slightly more recent handsets like the N95 8GB, N82, E71, E66, 6220 Classic, to name but a few Nokia models, plus several of the recent Samsung S60 phones, we've got 80MB or so of free RAM and this has ceased to be a problem. So the main reason why we can't have multiple browser windows open is now just the menu structure of Web itself - i.e. there's no 'Open new window' function.

However, it's worth documenting a simple workaround that you can put in place in Web on your phone in order to have an extra window whenever you like, for flicking backwards and forwards between two or more stories, perhaps.


  1. Although we can't add anything to Web's menus, we can add bookmarks. And a simple bookmark is all we need. Go to '' and you should see this screen:
  2. Use 'Options|Save as bookmark' and call the bookmark something sensible, like 'Open new window'.
  3. Use 'Options|Bookmarks' to find the new bookmark and, optionally, use 'Options|Bookmark manager|Move' to move it to a prominent position, e.g. at the top of your bookmarks list.
  4. Now, whenever you want a new window, just select this bookmark and then click the link. The screen won't appear to have changed, but a little '2' will have appeared at the bottom, to indicate that you've now got two windows open.
  5. Press the '5' key (a shortcut for 'Options|Window|Switch window') and then use left/right on the d-pad to switch between two (at first) identical windows, pressing in the d-pad to pick the one you want to work in. 
  6. You can now go 'Back' in your original window, if necessary, to get to the page you were on before deciding to open another window. And you can use the new window to bring up something totally unrelated, using the '5' shortcut when you want to switch between the windows. It's perfectly possible to have 3 or more windows open at the same time, although even with 80MB free RAM you may run out of RAM at some point if you open some particularly image-heavy web pages.
  7. To close a window, when on the 'Switch window' selection screen, use 'Options|Close'. There's even a 'Close all except current' option, if you decide that the window you're in is now the only one you need, etc. 

When you exit Web all its windows will be closed tidily, by the way. Hopefully you're now more confident at power-surfing and multitasking in your RAM-rich smartphone. Using multiple windows is much, much harder on devices with limited RAM (e.g. the original N95 or any other device older or cheaper) - you will run out of memory at some point and I take no responsibility for any device crashes you experience!

Steve Litchfield, All About Symbian, 8 October 2008