15 Essential Safari Tips and Tricks for Mac Users

As a browser, Safari doesn’t get enough credit. On the surface, it seems underpowered. It wasn’t until my third attempt that I embraced Safari as the default browser. And it wasn’t the speed or the battery life gains that persuaded me — it was the general niceness of it all. The simple user interface, the smooth transitions.

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But there was also something else. It wasn’t until I understood Safari in its entirety before I could wave goodbye to Chrome. And this is where Safari’s simple interface becomes a double-edged sword.

But that’s why we’re here today. To look beyond the obvious and unearth the usefulness lying beneath the simplicity.

1. Picture-in-Picture for Every Site

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Picture-in-Picture is one of the best new things How to Pop Out and View YouTube Videos on macOS Sierra macOS Sierra has a new feature that lets you pop out and view YouTube videos in "picture-in-picture" mode on your desktop using the Safari browser. Read More in Safari. Being able to watch a YouTube video that’s floating over everything else, is really useful. It works on a lot of popular video streaming sites. On sites like Vimeo, you’ll find the Picture-in-Picture button in the bottom toolbar.

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But on YouTube you need to right-click twice on the video to reveal the contextual menu. From here click on Enter Picture-in-Picture. The video will pop right out. You can then drag it on any corner of the screen.

2. Customize the Toolbar

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I’ve embraced Safari’s minimalist approach completely. So I don’t like it when an extension adds an ugly icon to the toolbar. Thankfully you can customize the toolbar to remove such icons, and also remove default buttons like downloads and tab switcher.

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Right-click on the toolbar and select Customize Toolbar. Then drag things in or out as you please.

3. Search Between Tabs

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It’s no secret that we open a lot of tabs when browsing. Safari helps manage this tab overload by neatly stacking related tabs in the tab switcher page. When you’re on this page, press the Ctrl + F shortcut and you’ll be able to quickly search between all your tabs.

4. Turn Off Notification Popups

As a news junkie, I like visiting blogs a lot. What I don’t like of late is how every single one of these news site wants me to subscribe to new posts by enabling push notifications. Rather than denying the request every single time, let’s just disable this feature altogether.

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From the Settings page in Safari, click on Notifications. On the bottom, uncheck the option that says Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications.

5. Pin Tabs

An instant cure to “where’s the damn tab” is to just pin it. Then it stays docked in the left edge of the tab row (across multiple windows) and you can get to it just by using the Command + 1 or Command + 2 shortcut, depending on its place.

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To pin a tab, just right-click on the tab and select Pin tab.

6. Mute Tabs

Sadly, autoplay videos are rampant on the web. You’re never quite too sure where exactly that audio is coming from. Safari now tags a tab that’s playing audio with a little speaker icon.

What’s better is that no matter where the audio is playing, you’ll see a speaker icon in the URL bar as well. And clicking it will show an option to mute all tabs at once.

7. Enable URL Previews in Status Bar

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I’m the kind of person who likes to see a link to the page before opening it. Seeing the URL of a link in the status bar while hovering over it was really useful. Safari, being its simple self, disabled this feature by default a while back. Thankfully, if you click on View from the menu bar and select Show Status Bar, you’ll get the feature back.

8. Customize the Favorites Screen

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The Favourites screen is what shows up when you open a new tab and when you click the URL bar. This then is your welcome mat for the web. You should customize the screen to add shortcuts to your most frequently used websites.

Visit a site and then click the Plus “+” button at the right of the URL bar. From the drop-down select Favorites. From the Favorites screen, you can drag icons to rearrange them.

9. Save Pages as PDFs

Exporting a web page as a PDF doesn’t require a special extension. Visit the page and from the File menu, select Export as PDF. Choose where you want to save the page, and hit Save to export.

10. Share Pages Using AirDrop

AirDrop is a great way to share not just files but also web pages between all your Apple devices. Say you’re on a page you want to open on your iPad instead. Click on the Share button and select AirDrop. Then select your device.

11. Enable Handoff to Make Browsing Better

Handoff and Continuity are two really cool technologies What Does Continuity Mean for Yosemite & iOS 8? OS X 10.10, better know as Yosemite, is a major Mac update that offers numerous features never seen before in an operating system. One of the most important is Continuity. Read More that let you seamlessly switch between macOS and iOS. Say you have a page open in Safari on your iPhone you want to open on your Mac.

If the feature is enabled, you’ll see a Safari shortcut at the left edge of the Dock, clicking it will open the page in Safari. No need to copy and paste links or use a third party tool.

12. Reader View

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Click the Reader Mode button that’s at the left edge of the URL bar after loading an article to enable Reader view. All the web page’s formatting, ads and distractions vanish in favor of a minimal, beautiful, easy to read layout. You can then change the fonts or the text size.

13. Use iCloud Tabs

iCloud Tabs is a genius feature that lets you access and control tabs that are open in Safari on your other Apple devices. After you click on the tab switcher, look at the bottom to see your other devices and the tabs that are open there.

From here you can either close the tabs on those devices or open a tab from another device right on your Mac. Neat, right?

14. Quickly Search Within Different Sites

Using the Safari Keyword Search extension you can quickly search sites like Wikipedia, Amazon, YouTube and more just by using a keyword.

So you can search in YouTube by writing yt and then the search term. For example yt nerdwriter loads up the YouTube search page for the relevant videos. You’ll find a list of all keywords at the download page for the extension.

15. Block Unwanted Scripts With Ghostery

Safari is a simple and fast browser and you don’t really have to worry about Flash. But if you’re the kind of person who wants to take control of their privacy 5 Privacy Protecting Apps You Need to Use Right Now Privacy is an area of increasing concern in the internet age. You have to do whatever you can to stay secure. These five tool help to keep you secure and safe online. Read More and stop cookies from following you around everywhere, or you want to disable tracking scripts for sites you visit, just install Ghostery.

Ghostery gives you information about which scripts are running and lets you disable them one by one.

Make Safari Better With Extensions

One of many reasons why I love Safari is because it’s so simple. But sometimes you just need a bit more firepower. And in times like these extensions come in handy.

While Safari’s extensions support Use These Safari Extensions to Speed Up Your Tasks We all want to spend less time and effort on actions that should be quick and easy, and Safari has a few terrific extensions that can help. Read More is nowhere near is expansive as Chrome’s, you’ll still find the important extensions for popular services like Evernote and Pocket 8 Great Safari Extensions for Bookmark and Tab Management Whether you need assistance managing tons of bookmarks or regularly work with many open tabs at once, these tools can lighten your load. Read More without any issues. Also, learning the keyboard shortcuts always helps Safari for Mac Keyboard Shortcuts Read More .

How do you use Safari? How do you have it set up? Share with us in the comments below.

Explore more about: Browser Extensions, Mac Tricks, Safari Browser.

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  1. Ken Kline
    December 13, 2017 at 11:45 am

    Now that I have switched to Mavericks, the Safari 9.1.3 that comes with it is very fast perhaps the fastest of all the main browsers, unlike the previous versions. In fact I have to use Safari to access all the website functionality of my ISP, Bell Sympatico, in Canada because Safari is the only browser they support. Along with Google Chrome, this combo serves all my internet requirements.

  2. SkankinPenguin
    January 25, 2017 at 4:15 pm

    Since you didn't mention it: You can export Reader View as pdf too. Very handy for articles like this one. ;)

    • Khamosh Pathak
      January 25, 2017 at 5:13 pm

      Oh, I just tried it. That's awesome. Thanks for sharing!

  3. franz
    January 24, 2017 at 4:28 pm

    Sounds silly but I've been on the internet since the start and am used to having favicon without a title in my bookmark bar. Safari doesn't let you do that.

    • Keith
      January 24, 2017 at 5:33 pm

      Sarari doesn't, but SafariStand does. First you have to install mySIMBL (https://github.com/w0lfschild/mySIMBL). Then install SafariStand for Safari 10 from https://github.com/anakinsk/SafariStand and set it up. Use this particular fork, not the original SafariStand from Hetima, unless you're using an older version of Safari. Because Apple keeps changing Safari, it keeps breaking SafariStand, and Hetima no longer maintains the original, but the fork by Anakinsk still works, including favicons.

      • Khamosh Pathak
        January 25, 2017 at 5:18 pm

        I didn't know about mySIMBL. The plug-in system to enhance stock apps and features sounds interesting. Do you think they're stable enough to use on one's main machine?

    • Khamosh Pathak
      January 24, 2017 at 5:40 pm

      Yeah, one of the side effects of Safari's UI being so minimal and simple. They don't allow for a favicon at all, like Chrome does. So they'd have to put in some kind of text there.

      Have you tried putting in initials or shortcodes for sites? FB for Facebook and so on? It's not the same as looking at a visual icon but it is something. Personally I have the Favorites bar turned off because I wasn't finding it that useful.