Safari is a default browser on Mac built for better battery performance. Apple claims you can browse 2 hours longer and watch Netflix videos 4 hours longer compared with Google Chrome or Firefox. But for a normal user – especially those migrated from Chrome or using Chrome in parallel – Safari is still not a user-friendly browser unless you have appropriate settings to use it more productively. In this article we explore 10 Safari tips to improve your productivity and user experience.
1. Pinning Tabs
Pinning tabs on the browser allows adding a site’s icon on the left side of the tabs. This tabs will be active in the background even you have closed the particular tab and helps to reopen the page quickly. This is very useful feature to quickly go to the needed page when viewing many sites on a single browser window.
When you are on a page, go to “Window > Pin Tab” to add the icon of the site to the left side of the browser tabs. Right click on the pinned tabs and choose close or unpin option any time to remove the pinned site.
2. Reader View – Block Ads
Reader view is the wonderful option allows you to view the page content without distracting ads and sidebar content. When a website supports a reader view, Safari will display a wrench icon (4 lines) left to the site address on the address bar. Click on it to view the plain content of a webpage without any advertisements. Reader view is also available under “View > Show Reader” and you use “View > Hide Reader” to see the default web page again.
When the reader view is on, you can see an icon to increase or reduce the font size at the right of the address bar. By clicking the font sizing icon you can also change the background color of the page and font family to make it comfortable for reading.
3. Viewing Full URL
Safari by default shows the domain name in the address bar without the complete URL including the page name. This may look fine when you view random sites, but cause difficulties for users wanting to explore more categories on a particular site by looking into the URL. Also developers creating websites need to know the complete URL instead of the domain name.
You can enable viewing full site address in Safari under preferences. Go to “Safari > Preferences” or press “Command + Comma (⌘+,)” to open preferences and navigate to “Advanced” tab. Enable the smart search field option “Show full website address”.
4. Viewing Web Page Source
Viewing the source of a webpage not only helps to understand the design concepts of the page but also helps to learn CSS / HTML quickly. Especially for web developers, inspecting an element on a page will save lot of time. By default Safari browser does not show the developer options like Google Chrome or Firefox. Fortunately, you can enable it under the “Advanced” tab of the preferences.
Once enabled, Safari will show “Develop” menu. Now right clicking on the page will show “Show Page Source” and “Inspect Element” options. You can use these tools to view the source code of a webpage.
5. Using Safari Extensions
Though it is easy to get browser extensions for Chrome and Firefox, there are also useful extensions available for Safari. Open Safari browser and navigate to Apple’s Safari Extensions page. There are hundreds of extensions like Ad blocker, translators, screen capture tools, etc. Click on the “Install Now” button to add the extension to Safari.
6. Tab Navigation Using Command + Number
When you opened lot of tabs, it is easy to go to the particular tab using “⌘+ number”. For example, use “⌘+1” to go to the first tab and “⌘+5” to go to fifth tab on the browser. This is a default setting in Safari and you can enable it under preferences in case if it is not working for you.
7. Disable Website Tracking
Websites track user’s activity for various needs, with the interest based advertising technologies, websites like Google uses the tracked data to show relevant ads on the sites you visit. For example, if you have viewed a page related “web hosting” you may notice any further pages you open will have web hosting related ads. Safari allows to disable this website tracking by sending additional header on the request.
In order to request websites not to track your activities, enable the option “ Ask websites not to track me” against “Website tracking” under “Privacy” tab of Safari preferences.
8. Clear History and Caches
Over the period of time there will be lots of unnecessary data accumulated as history and cache. This will slow down the performance of the Safari when viewing the web pages. You can clear the history under the menu “History > Clear History…”.
When you have enabled the developer menu (as explained in section 4 above) you can also delete cache under “Develop > Empty Caches”. For a developer, it is very useful to set “Disable Caches” to view the modifications instantly on the browser without problems.
9. Show All Tabs Icon
There is icon called “Show all tabs” available at top right corner of Safari browsera. This icon helps to view all open tabs in a single browser window classified under domains. You can easily close or choose the required tab when you have many open tabs.
10. Using iCloud with Safari
If you are using multiple Apple devices like Mac, iPhone and iPad, use iCloud sharing to store bookmarks, reading list and passwords across all your devices.
Bonus Tips – Share Icon
It is very easy to share article what you are seeing on the Safari browser. Just click on the “Share” icon to share the article on external social sharing sites like Facebook and Twitter or add the page to reading list and bookmarks.