A lot of Mac enthusiasts prefer using Safari over Chrome, thanks to its low battery consumption. With macOS High Sierra, Safari is better than ever before, but as with all browsers there are quirks that need fixing.
Fortunately enough, most of the browser’s annoying quirks can be fixed by making a quick visit to Safari’s settings. Others need a little more work, but we’ll cover those step by step.
Ready to upgrade your Safari browsing experience on your Mac? Let’s begin with fixing Safari’s default preferences first.
1. Enable Link Preview in the Status Bar
When browsing through websites, you come across all sorts of hyperlinks. Some links take you exactly where you wanted, while other links can redirect you to phishing websites that could steal your personal information. Therefore, it’s a good idea to preview links before actually going to the website.
Safari doesn’t show link previews by default, but you can enable it with just a couple of clicks. Click on View in the menu-bar and select Show status bar.
Once enabled, you should see link previews at the bottom-left of the screen.
2. Show the Entire URL in the Address Bar
By default, Safari shows only the main domain name in the address bar. It probably makes Safari look a little more minimalistic, but it hides useful information including your exact location on a website.
To revert to the good old behavior, open Safari > Preferences. Switch to the Advanced tab. Check the Show full website address box. Safari should display the full URL now, just like any other browser out there.
3. Use Reader View Automatically for All Websites
Whenever you come across a cluttered webpage in Safari, you can simply click on the Reader view icon to declutter the webpage and view it in an easy-to-read format. What if you’re spoiled with the simplicity of Reader view and want to use it everywhere, across all the websites automatically?
Well, that’s possible. Open Safari > Preferences. Switch to the Websites tab. Select General from the left-hand pane. Here, you can configure the currently open websites to use Reader view automatically. For all other websites, select On from the drop-down menu beside When visiting other websites.
Once enabled, all the supported websites will load in Reader view automatically.
4. Stop Plugins to Save Power
Browser plugins such as Flash and Java provide a rich multimedia experience, but at the cost of security, battery power, and, browser stability. Fortunately, with Safari, you can use plugins only when you need them.
To do so, open Safari > Preferences. Switch to the Advanced tab. Check the Stop plugins to save power box.
5. Block All Auto-Playing Videos
Don’t you hate it when you’re browsing a website and a video starts playing automatically without your consent? You fumble around open tabs to find the particular website and close it down. You could mute that tab, but the video still keeps playing, thus eating away your precious data.
Safari lets you block all auto-playing videos. To do so, open Safari > Preferences. Switch to the Websites tab. Click Auto-Play. Here, you can configure websites to either Stop videos with sound or Never auto-play videos.
6. Disable Website Push Notifications Altogether
Sometimes, browser notifications can be useful. For instance, when you’ve Gmail opened, it can send you a push notification to alert you of any new emails you might have. But some publishers and advertisers abuse this feature to deliver advertisements. If you feel bombarded with unnecessary notifications from websites, Safari provides an easy way to get rid of them.
Open Safari > Preferences. Switch to the Websites tab. Click Notifications. Here, you can check out all the websites that have asked for permission to show alerts in the Notification Center.
You can choose to Allow or Deny permission for these existing websites. If you’d like to disallow all websites from sending you push notifications, uncheck the Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications box.
7. Picture-in-Picture for YouTube, Netflix, and More
Safari on macOS Sierra and newer versions lets you pop put videos and watch them while you multi-task. The only problem with it is that it doesn’t work with all online video services. You can get PiP working on YouTube easily, but others like Netflix and Hulu require a little work.
PiPifier is a native Safari extension that lets you use PiP mode on almost any HTML5 video. Once you download it from the App Store, open Safari > Preferences > Extensions. Find and check PiPifier button. If you cannot find it, you need to allow unsigned extensions in Safari.
To do so, open Safari > Preferences > Advanced. Check Show develop menu in menu bar. You should find a new Develop item in the menu-bar. Click Develop > Allow Unsigned extensions. Head back to the Extensions tab and you should now be able to find the PiPifier button.
Once enabled, you should see a popout button in your toolbar. Whenever you’re playing any HTML5 video, just click on this button to play it in PiP mode. Make sure to play/pause a video once before you click on the pop-out button.
It seems to work like a charm with Netflix, but had occasional hiccups while using Hulu.
8. Enable Favicons in Tab Bar
Let’s get something straight: it’s far easier to identify tabs graphically by their favicons instead of just their page title, especially when you’ve lots of tabs open. For some weird reason, Safari doesn’t support it, making it difficult to navigate to the correct tab quickly.
This seemingly trivial problem has gotten so worse that developers have taken the matter into their own hands. Enter Faviconographer. This nifty third-party app displays favicons for all the open tabs. The developer says that the app uses a clever combination of the Accessibility API and AppleScript to identify and draw the favicons over the open tabs.
To get started, download and open it. Follow the on-screen instructions to grant Accessibility permissions. Once enabled, you should instantly see favicons across all the open Safari tabs. Given that it’s a hack, it comes with a long list of known issues. For instance, the favicons lag when you move or resize the window. It’s not perfect, but it gets the job done nonetheless.
9. Utilize Quick Website Search
Using this tip, you can search across different websites directly from Safari’s address bar. For instance, you can search Wikipedia directly by typing “Wikipedia.com xyz” in the address bar. Perhaps the best thing it that it supports almost any website you visit.
To check out a list of all the supported sites, open Safari > Preferences > Search. Click on Manage Websites. This helps you save a few clicks, and helps you navigate faster.
More Safari Tips to Improve Your Browsing Experience
- Safari keyboard shortcuts: It’s no secret that keyboard shortcuts can help you browse faster. Check out this master list of Safari keyboard shortcuts you can use to improve your workflow.
- Safari extensions: Safari extensions can greatly enhance existing functionality and help you add new features to jazz up your favorite browser. Check out our list of best Safari extensions for Mac users.
- Safari tips and tricks: Major features often hog the limelight, leaving little room for small, nifty features to be discovered. Here are some little-known but essential Safari tips you should check out.
Do you use Safari as your primary browser on your Mac? If you know of some other Safari settings tips that help you boost your browsing experience, let us know about it in the comments below.