The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Safari on Mac
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Customize Safari. From adding favicons to your tabs to changing how Reader Mode looks, Apple’s web browser is way more flexible than you think.

If you’re used to Firefox Firefox Freedom! Four Things Chrome Doesn’t Let Users Do Firefox Freedom! Four Things Chrome Doesn’t Let Users Do Think Chrome can do everything? Think again. Here are four things Firefox users can do easily that Chrome users basically can't. Read More , or even Chrome, you might find Safari pretty inflexible. With the right tools and knowledge, however, you can customize it in a surprising number of ways.

If you’ve recently switched to Safari Faster, Sleeker, Better: How To Switch From Chrome/Firefox To Safari Faster, Sleeker, Better: How To Switch From Chrome/Firefox To Safari Thinking about using Safari on your Mac, but worried you might lose features and bookmarks? Here's a quick guide to comfortably moving to Apple's web browser, without missing out. Read More , here are the best tools and settings for customizing your new favourite browser. Everything in this article works with Safari 8 in Yosemite, as of this writing – your mileage may vary.

SafariStand: Add Missing Features To Safari

If you really want to customize Safari, this app is where you should look first. From seeing favicons on your tabs/sidebar to adding a quick search to the context menu, Safari Stand offers a surprising number of tweaks. It’s been around a long time: we actually reviewed it way back in 2008 SafariStand - A Cool Safari Plugin You Should Install SafariStand - A Cool Safari Plugin You Should Install Read More . Features have come and gone since then, but it’s still one of the best customization tools out there for Safari.

Get everything installed and you’ll find a new item in Safari’s menubar: Stand.


Head to the settings to really get started customizing things.


The highlights:

  • Switch between tabs using the scroll wheel, the way it works in other browsers.
  • Customize how big tabs and the address bar get.
  • Add favicons to your tabs, and the bookmarks sidebar (pictured above).

You can also customize what shows up in the Context Menu, seen when you right-click highlighted text or anything else on a web page. Here are those settings:


A few things you can do here:

  • Search for highlighted text, using any search engine.
  • Copy the title of a link along with the URL.
  • Quickly run a Google Image search for any image.
  • Remove anything from the context menu, such as the useless “Add To Dashboard” option.

SafariStand offers a few more features, such as a fast history/bookmark search and a sidebar showing your tabs. Note that SafariStand isn’t a browser extension: it’s a patch. You need EasySIMBL, a Mac plugin system Customize Almost Anything On Your Mac With EasySIMBL Customize Almost Anything On Your Mac With EasySIMBL From hiding the menubar when certain applications are open to embedding Instagram images within the official Twitter app, you can do things with EasySIMBL you probably didn't know were possible. Read More to install SafariStand.

Extensions Let You Add Even More Options

SafariStand does a lot, but you might not have found the options you’re looking for. Happily there are plenty of extensions out there that let you tweak all kinds of things about Safari.

We showed you the best Safari extensions for productivity 10 Must-Have Safari Web Extensions To Increase Your Productivity 10 Must-Have Safari Web Extensions To Increase Your Productivity Safari is sleek, powerful, intuitive and well-connected -- but it can also simplify your life. Here's how you can turn Safari into a productivity powerhouse. Read More ; here are the best ones for customizing Safari.

  • Ultimate Status Bar: Add a Chrome-style status bar to Safari, so you can quickly check where any URL points.

The Ultimate Guide to Customizing Safari on Mac safari statusbar


  • TabOptions: Get more control over how tabs behave in Safari.
  • Actually, you should probably check out almost everything Canisbos offers.
  • HelveticaTheWorld: Change the default font on every site to Helvetica. It’s stupid, but I thought I’d mention it because there are plenty more minor tweaks like this over at the official Safari extensions page. Explore!

Customizations Built Into Safari

It’s worth noting that you can customize quite a bit about Safari without software or extensions. Here are a few highlights.

  • Edit the toolbar: Right-click the toolbar, then click “Customize Toolbar”. You can now drag and drop icons however you like.


  • Change the URL display: By default Safari’s addressbar doesn’t show the full URL, but you can change this. In Safari’s preferences, click “Advanced” then toggle “Show full website address”.
  • Search engines: While you’re in the preferences, you should check the search settings. You can pick between Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo – and also decide whether you want to see Spotlight suggestions.


  • Notifications: If some sites are showing notifications constantly, and you wish they wouldn’t, disable them in the Notifications screen of the preferences.
  • Developer Menu: In “Advanced” you can toggle the Developer menu, which lets you switch your user agent and do a lot more.


What Did We Miss?

I tried to find as many Safari customizations as possible, but I’m sure I missed a few things. For example: Glims for Safari adds all kinds of features, but is yet to work with Yosemite or Safari 8 as of this writing.

I want to know what else I missed. How do you customize Safari? Let me know in the comments below – I’m looking forward to the conversation.

Explore more about: Browser Extensions, Safari Browser.

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  1. Blake
    September 2, 2017 at 4:06 am

    How can I get Safari to show text labels on the toolbar? I'm using MacOS Sierra and Safari version 10.1.2

  2. Anonymous
    July 30, 2015 at 7:21 pm

    The number one recommendation (Safari Stand) is not compatiable with the latest version of Safari or latest Mac OS. Hopefully this will change soon but it's not an option for now.

    • Justin Pot
      July 30, 2015 at 7:56 pm

      It was working when I wrote this, but updates do break it from time to time. Sorry about that, hopefully it's working again soon.

  3. Bruno Pavão
    February 27, 2015 at 5:17 am

    When I use chrome and open a new tab, the navigation bar gets selected and I can just start typing without having to click it (Command+T and type). Safari, however, does not; I have to reach for the mouse and click the nav bar to start typing. That means lifting my hand, and as pointless and futile this may seem, it's quite annoying. Is there a way to change that?

    • Justin Pot
      February 27, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      For me, when I hit CMD+T, the address bar is selected and I start typing. I understand your frustration, because if this wasn't true for me I wouldn't use Safari.

      But I don't know how to respond to you, because so far as I know this is just the default setting. So weird...

  4. Mark
    February 25, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    It is similar to Top Sites in Safari, however rather than the browser deciding what sites to include, you can create your own page (or multiple pages) of sites. I know you can "pin" things in Top Sites, but it still doesn't compare to the functionality of Speed Dial. I have five separate, categorized pages that I use in Speed Dial and it is incredibly useful.

  5. Mark
    February 25, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    The one and only reason I haven't been able to fully switch to Safari is the lack of any alternative to Speed Dial. The "Top Sites" feature is not an acceptable alternative and I have not been able to find anything for Safari that has the functionality of the Firefox extension. If you guys are aware of anything I'd love to hear it!

    • Justin Pot
      February 25, 2015 at 5:38 pm

      I've never really used Speed Dial for Firefox, what does it do that Safari can't?

  6. oli
    February 25, 2015 at 1:34 pm


    • Justin Pot
      February 26, 2015 at 2:39 pm

      Yep, it's easy to find. uBlock too.