As with any software development, browsers also follow a life cycle for introducing new features. Edge and Chrome browsers offer beta, developer and canary channels for previewing or testing features before they are available for public use. In addition, you can use flags to test experimental features on the stable version. Though Safari browser does not offer different channels, you can enable experimental features on the stable version from the settings page both on Mac and iPhone/iPad.
Why You Need Experimental Features in Safari?
Safari is a platform dependent browser that works only on Apple devices. Due to this fact, common features that work on Chromium based browsers may not work on Safari unless Apple enable support for them. For example, Chrome by default uses QUIC protocol with HTTP/3 support. This HTTP/3 feature is an experimental feature as of Safari 16 in iOS/macOS. If your organization has an infrastructure to use QUIC protocol, then you should enable that HTTP/3 experimental feature in Safari. Otherwise, functionalities related to QUIC will not work on Safari while they work fine on Chrome.
Enable Experimental Features in Safari Mac
To use experimental features, you should first enable “Develop” menu.
- Open Safari and go to “Safari > Settings…” menu.
- Go to “Advanced” section and enable “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option.
- Now, you will see the new “Develop” menu added in the top menu bar.
- Open any website and go to “Develop > Experimental Features” section.
- You will see a huge list of features and some of them are enabled by default.
- As mentioned above, for HTTP/3, find that item in the list and click on it to enable.
- If you enabled or disabled too many items in the list, scroll down to the bottom of the list and select “Reset All to Defaults” option. This will reset the experimental features section to its initial settings.
Enable Experimental Features in Safari iPhone
You can also enable or disable experimental features in Safari iPhone or iPad app.
- Open “Settings” app and scroll down to find “Safari” option.
- Tap on it to open Safari settings page.
- Scroll down to the bottom and tap on “Advanced” option.
- On the next page, tap on “Experimental Features” showing as a last option.
- You will see a huge list, turn the switch on or off the enable or disable the required features.
- Like macOS, scroll to bottom of the list and tap “Reset All to Defaults” to reset experimental features list to its original state.
How to Know the List of Experimental Features?
Apple uses WebKit browser engine and release new WebKit experimental features frequently. You can get the latest updates from the Apple’s official WebKit blog. For example, Safari version 16 includes important features like Web Push to use push notifications, Passkeys, Apple Pay support, lazy loading of images and support for installing Web Inspector Extensions.
There are many experimental features enabled by default both in Mac and iPhone. Do not change the default settings unless you know what you are doing. Otherwise, it may break some websites or does not allow the browser to work properly. Good thing is that you can easily reset experimental features list to original settings and bring the site or browser to working condition.