Apple’s own web browser may have fluctuated in popularity over the years but recent iterations have seen it become much more stable, swift and flexible in a bid to keep up with the innovation seen in competing browsers like Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox. The result is a default web browser which is powerful and deeply embedded within OS X itself.
However, depending on your browsing habits and needs, you may wish to do a little tweaking in order to get the most out of Safari. Read on below to see how to do just that.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the most obvious tweaks you can make to Safari, the Extensions Gallery. While unveiled with much fanfare by Apple, the Extension Gallery has failed to gain the sheer volume of extensions which can be found on Chrome or Firefox, for example. Still, what it lacks in numbers, it more than makes up for in quality, as is highlighted by these three choices of extension:
As one might imagine from its name, the AdBlock extension prevents advertisements from cluttering up your web page. While Safari users have always had this option with third-party apps, AdBlock is the most stable, secure and slick implementation of advertisement blocking software on Safari to date. Just remember to add your favourite websites to the whitelist so they still get supported by their advertisers.
Click To Flash prevents any Adobe Flash from being loaded within Safari as default, instead offering a grey box to click on if desired. This may sound a little tiresome but once one has set a whitelist to allow exceptions for those rare occasions when Flash is actually desirable, it makes web browsing much quicker and more stable. An additional benefit of ClickToFlash is that it’ll make use of HMTL5 when possible, meaning that websites like Youtube can actually be used without the need for Flash at all.
3. Facebook Cleaner
If like me, you find Facebook annoying but necessary, Facebook Cleaner may well be useful. The extension prevents those prompts to “like this” which turn up on many websites and also cleans up your actual Facebook page when logged in, by blocking most of the more annoying features of the site.
I love Safari’s minimalist stylings, but the toolbar which Apple see fit to ship the browser with is a little too minimalist for my own tastes and I like to see a Home button, in addition to a New Tab button. If you’d like to add these buttons or just tweak the current layout, simply right-click on the toolbar and select “Customize Toolbar”.
This done, you should be presented with the above screen, from which new icons can be dragged and dropped onto the toolbar.
The Top Sites feature in Safari can be very useful as it already is, but perhaps even more so if you take the time to set it up to your favorite websites. To do this, click on the small “Edit” button in the bottom left hand corner. It’s a somewhat laborious process to get everything just right, but once you have done so I believe it’s worthwhile and saves significant time.
Set Up Preferences
Opening up the Preferences window within Safari will show options for fixing many people’s pet peeves with Safari. One can prevent the app from opening downloaded files which Safari deems as “Safe” automatically and also stop that most contentious of features implemented in the latest version of Safari; auto-correction.
Besides the tips and tweaks mentioned above, making use of Safari’s additional features can be what sets it apart from other web browsers. It may not do as much as some competing browsers, but what Safari does do, it does very well indeed. Reading List can completely replace the need for a “temp” folder to come back to read articles later, while fullscreen browsing is finally brought to Apple’s browser for those users who are currently running OS X Lion.
Have you got any other tips for making the most of Safari? If so, please let us know about them in the comments.