Six Settings To Enhance Your Safari Experience On OS X

Although many Mac users now prefer using third-party options such as Chrome and Firefox over Safari, Apple’s Safari browser for OS X offers a well-integrated and easy option for viewing web content on a Mac. To further enhance your experience using Safari, we’ve compiled a list of a few tweaks that should help you out.

The most important factor of a web browser is what you will see when you open up a new tab/window, and the settings required to tweak this appearance are located in the “General” section of the Safari preferences. Over here, you can choose to open new windows and tabs with an empty page, Safari’s Top Sites view, the same page that was loaded on the last active tab or window or a custom home page you specify in the Homepage field. In addition to this wide-range of features, you can choose to load an organized folder of tabs when you open up a new windows, which can be set up in Safari’s bookmarks organization interface.

Six-Tips-Safari-Home-Page

If you use the Top Sites feature, you can also set the number of previews to show in the same preferences pane. By default it shows 12, but you can select either six or 24, depending on your needs.

Older versions of Safari had a famous option to block pop-up windows in the program menu. Apple has removed this option from the menu, but the feature is still available. All you need to do to now is to check the appropriate box in the Security pane of Safari’s preferences. With it enabled, web site will be prevented from launching new browser windows/tabs, which will stop spam sites opening too many windows and cluttering your display.

Six-Tips-Safari-Block-Pop-Ups

Web sites that you often visit store site-specific settings in cookies and caches. Most sites mention this on the top of their web pages to make the user aware of the fact that settings are being stored in your cookies/caches which will help your browsing experience. If this data is corrupted, then sites may not load properly, or they may show odd behaviour like not accepting log-in credentials. Often when websites have such problems, you can try clearing cookies and other site-specific data. But if this also does not work, the ultimate fix is to use the Reset Safari option, which will clear data from all of your websites, and thus will not be preferable. Instead, go to the Privacy section of Safari’s preferences and click “Details,” under the option to remove all Web site data. In the panel that appears, you can search for a site you’ve visited to remove data for that site only.

Six-Tips-Safari-Settings

Similar to the management of site-specific data, the plug-ins that Web sites uses to display content (such as Java) can be managed on a per-site basis. While Safari has an option in its Security Preferences to allow or block plug-ins, next to this option is a “Manage Website Settings” button that will allows you to specify not only how Safari handles each plug-in globally, but also how Safari will do so for specific Web sites.

Six-Tips-Safari-Settings-2

To do this, after clicking the button, you can select a plug-in and choose the restriction level to use for other Web sites. This will bring up the global settings for the plug-in, as well as individual options for sites listed.

Six-Tips-Safari-Develop-Menu

As mentioned in the various tips above, while troubleshooting Web sites in Safari, it usually helps to clear your browser’s cache, or disable caches altogether. In this way, the site’s content is directly loaded from remote servers instead of from a local temporary store file. This option to disable caches is not available in Safari by default, but it is supported if you enable the Develop menu. This menu can be activated by checking the corresponding box at the bottom of the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences. In this menu, you will not only have various options for managing Safari’s cache, but also ones to enable WebGL, change user agent identifiers, and use developer tools such as JavaScript debugging panels, and HTML source code viewers and editors etc.

The last option that we have for you today is to be able to tab through all items on a page with which you can interact. By default, on most browsers, the Tab key will shift focus through various text fields and buttons. If you press the “Option” key together with “Tab”, Safari will highlight links and other objects, and pressing Enter will activate that link. While this is the default setup, you can reverse this behaviour in the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences by enabling “Press Tab to highlight each item on a webpage.”

Have any more useful tips? We’d love to hear them in the comments below.