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Safari is probably the best browser for Mac users. It’s highly optimized, energy efficient, plays nicely with other Apple computers and mobile devices. But because of its smaller user base, it doesn’t have the lion’s share of extensions.
Despite this there are some very useful extensions that add all sorts of additional customization options and functionality to Apple’s browser. Here are our favorites, but don’t forget to let us know what we missed in the comments at the end of the article.
A Quick Word About Extensions
Keep one thing in mind before you install an extension for Safari: the more extensions you have installed, the bigger the drain on your system. Safari is built as a fast and lightweight browser. By adding more features and options, performance can suffer.
So, it’s worth thinking twice about how useful an extension is to you before you install it. If you find yourself not using an extension that often, disable it from Safari > Preferences > Extensions by un-checking the relevant box. If you want to remove an extension completely, click the Uninstall button or delete the relevant application associated with the extension.
Remember: Extensions can read, modify, and transmit content from all webpages. That includes potentially sensitive information, so think twice before blindly trusting every browser add-on you come across.
Sick of not having enough control over browser tabs? Tab Options is the extension for you. It allows you to enable additional options for tabs, and even assign hotkeys to perform certain tab-related actions. Of note is the ability to specify which tab is focused when closing another tab.
If lack of tab customization is holding you back from using Safari full-time, Tab Options is the answer.
See also: Link Thing from the same developer, which contains many similar options and link-specific tweaks too.
Search more efficiently with the Safari Keyword Search plugin. This handy extension enables you to search specific websites by prefixing a short phrase or letter before your query. As an example, “e iphone” would search eBay, “a PS4” would search Amazon, and “imdb Xtro” would search IMDb.
Best of all is the ability to add your own search engines. I added one for MakeUseOf so I can now search the site simply by typing the letter “m” followed by my query. The plugin overrides your default search engine, so make sure you set that up correctly after installing.
A simple bookmarks manager for those of you who use Pocket, Delicious, Kippt, and Google Bookmarks. The extension places a button in your toolbar, which allows you to access links you’ve saved for later in a few clicks. You can also add new bookmarks to these services directly from Safari.
See also: Cloudmarks is another similar extension from the same developer which supports Pinboard, Delicious, and Kippt.
Love macOS Sierra’s new picture-in-picture mode? PiPifier is a Safari extension which enables the feature for any HTML5 video. Download it from the App Store, install, and you’ll find a toolbar button appear alongside your address bar. You’ll also find a new picture-in-picture button directly on the video controls.
I had a little trouble getting this working to start with, but a Safari restart cleared up many of the problems. It works well for YouTube and Vimeo, but I can’t get it working for streaming service Twitch (possibly because Twitch relies on Flash for adverts). There are a few paid variations of this extension, but this is the only one you need.
If you hate web plugins, crush them with ClickToPlugin. The app is now on its last version thanks to some changes Apple has made to the way extensions are implemented. That means it’s probably on its way out, but it works well enough for now.
The extension basically disables plugins until you click on them. I found that recently some websites (like YouTube) were defaulting to Flash versions because of this plugin, presumably because Flash is the fallback option when HTML5 fails. It’s customizable so you might want to give it a shot if you’re sick of auto-playing videos and noisy adverts.
Formerly known as HoverZoom, this extension takes the effort out of clicking links in favor of just hovering your mouse over them instead. It’s arguably most useful for images, allowing you to just hold your mouse over an image link to load a large preview without leaving the page.
It also works for videos and has experimental support for webpage previews too. Don’t forget that Safari has a three-finger tap gesture that also performs a similar task.
Tampermonkey is a popular userscript manager available for all major browsers. It adds support for custom scripts that change the way you see and interact with the web. First you need to install the extension, then simply grab some scripts from a repository.
Scripts are often used to remove objects from web pages, change CSS and alter appearance, insert links and shortcuts. Some examples include cleaning up Facebook (below) and adding torrent download links to IMDb pages. Be careful as some scripts are designed to hijack your accounts.
There’s a version of this extension available for all major browsers, including Firefox, Chrome, Edge, and Opera. It’s designed to clean up Facebook as the name suggests. Hide things like suggested posts, related posts, sponsored posts, game suggestions, trending topics, and more.
The tweak also disables autoplay videos, and you can even customize the Facebook experience with your own CSS if you want. Just remember that if Facebook makes any major changes and things aren’t quite working as they should, you should first disable an extension like this to see if things get better.
Note: You’ll need Tampermonkey (above) to use F.B. Purity on Safari.
As you can probably guess, Translate is an app for translating webpages on the fly. It adds a single toolbar button to Safari which reloads the current page within a Google Translate wrapper. The extension automatically detects which language the page is currently in.
Unlike Chrome, Safari doesn’t have native translation built into it. This extension helps close the gap.
Find every RSS feed on a website simply by clicking the Syndicate toolbar button. The extension isn’t a fully-fledged RSS reader, and instead allows you to copy the feed or add it to Safari’s Shared Links feature.
You can access Safari’s feeds by clicking the Sidebar button followed by the @ symbol.
Hate it when iTunes suddenly launches because you clicked on an App Store link? Install NoMoreiTunes and never deal with it again! Whether you’re looking for iOS or Mac apps, NoMoreiTunes ensures you’ll remain in the web preview.
Better still you can cut Apple’s store out of the equation entirely using an App Store search engine designed specifically for web-friendliness.
One of my only major complaints about Safari is the lack of multiple user sessions as found in Chrome. It’s hard to keep things separate, whether it’s work, personal writing, or those disordered time-wasting browsing sessions. An extension called Sessions doesn’t fix the problem entirely, but it makes organizing your tabs a little easier.
Hit the Sessions button in the toolbar to save whole sets of tabs as separate sessions, and restore others at any time. Simple. Unfortunately, Sessions is on its last version. It still works now but a future Safari update is bound to break it at some point.
If you’re a serial procrastinator and lack self-control, it might help you to know where your time is going. WasteNoTime monitors how long you spend on specific websites, and helps you better manage your productive time by creating a block list.
The idea here is that you’ll stop spending all day on Facebook and get some work done, but you’ll need to supply enough willpower not just turn the extension off too.
You should know by now to never read online comment sections (except those on MakeUseOf, of course). If this sound advice isn’t enough and you find yourself sucked in by toxic baiting, logical fallacies, and adverts for dating websites then Shut Up is what you need.
This extension hides comments by default for most major websites, and allows you to enable them simply by clicking the Shut Up button in your toolbar. The extension works by stripping out relevant CSS, and even remembers your choice for each website you visit.
Many web services have their own browser extensions, and these aren’t just limited to the likes of Chrome and Firefox. If you use any of the following, you may be able to make life easier with the aid of additional functionality right in your browser.
- Evernote Web Clipper — Save whole webpages to Evernote in a few clicks, or clip just the text and images you need.
- OneNote Web Clipper — Like the Evernote clipper, but for Microsoft’s competitive OneNote service.
- Pin It Button for Pinterest — Love to pin? Install this browser extension and pin pages and images with ease.
- Save to Pocket — Send links to pocket for later reading with this handy extension.
- Instapaper — As above, but for Instapaper.
- eBay — Keep track of your watch list, bids, and items for sale and get important alerts right in Safari.
- 1Password — Add support for one of the best password managers to your browser.
- LastPass — Access passwords and other credentials stored in your LastPass account.
- Dashlane — As above, for Dashlane.
- Boards for Trello — Manage work or play with the help of Trello? Get one-click access to boards with this extension.
- Buffer — Add items to your pending queue in a flash with this extension for Buffer.
- Reddit Enhancement Suite — An unofficial extension for Reddit that adds interface tweaks, improves comments, and more.
What Did We Miss?
This is a comprehensive list of Safari extensions, but we’re bound to have missed something. Leave a comment below with your favorite Safari extensions, and we might even add it to the list.
What Safari extensions can’t you live without?
Image Credit: tomertu via Shutterstock.com