Safari has never been the most popular browser, but for Apple computer users, it’s still a staple of the ecosystem. There is a diehard and loyal base that uses Safari as the default browser. That’s even more evident with the release of Safari 14 as part of macOS Big Sur. Putting an emphasis on privacy and speed, Safari 14 is moving into the modern age. Let’s take a look at all of the new features of Safari 14.
Privacy and Security
As privacy becomes more and more critical in our online world, Safari 14 adds a new toolbar button that can display web trackers. Over the last few years, Apple’s move as a leader in the privacy space has led to new features across almost all of their services and devices. In the case of Safari 14, Privacy Report is now available to help notify you when any website is using trackers. To view the privacy report of any website, click on the “shield icon,” which is just to the left of the address bar. A pop-up will appear, showing how many trackers on the page are being blocked.
However, things get even more interesting when you click on the information button at the top right of the popup. When you do that, you will see a full 30-day summary of how many trackers have been stopped in total. Do you want to see a list of which websites are the biggest culprits with trackers? On the bottom of the information or privacy report screen, you can rank sites from high to low.
One of the biggest downsides of Safari is looking at other browsers and longing for their extension libraries. Safari 14 brings good news. It introduces a new Web Extensions API that’s easier than ever for third-party extensions, like those written for Chrome, to be ported over to Safari. Of course, it’s still up to the developers to do so. However, a year ago extensions required a completely different set of tools which led to a significantly smaller selection of extensions. Now, a more traditional browser development process will hopefully lead to Chrome extension favorites being ported over to Safari.
Another opportunity to play something of a catch-up game with Chrome, Safari finally has built-in translations. Available in English, Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Brazilian Portuguese, and Russian, translations are as easy as a few clicks. Once you land on a page you want to translate, head to the “menu bar -> View -> Translation.” As the menu opens, select the language you want to translate to, and Safari handles the rest. If you want to add a language not on the list, head over to the “Language and Region section -> Preferred languages.”
Flash Is Gone
To be fair, this is less of a feature and more of a celebration. Safari 14 marks the first time that Safari does not have support for Adobe Flash. Once an Internet necessity for animations, applications and video, Flash is no longer a dominant force online. Safari 14 users won’t notice anything right away and that’s okay. The removal of Flash will allow for a snappier browser and significantly improved battery life while using Safari.
If you are someone who consistently has plenty of tabs opened, you’ve often found yourself hunting for the right tab. Safari 14 has something of a solution for that. If you want to see what’s on a page in a tab, you can hover over the tab, and Safari will show you a preview of the page. It takes a second or two but works incredibly well. Gone are the days that you jump around from tab to tab to find what you are looking for. Found on browsers like Brave, this is a very simple but incredibly overlooked feature that can definitely change how you use Safari.
Updated Start Page
We’ve already taken a look at this page, but it’s a marked shift from previous iterations of Safari. With everything from changing the start page background to choosing what sections appear, this is the first time Apple is really letting users customize the start page. You can add the favorites you want at the top of the page, see your privacy report each time you open a new tab, and see what tabs are open on your iOS devices. It’s a huge update. While many Safari users will change their start page and ignore these updates, it doesn’t change the fact that this feature deserves plenty of praise.
Safari is never going to be the world’s most popular browser. That said, its following is loyal, and Apple is committed to making it better, faster and more secure with every software update. Do also check out some of the best extensions for Safari or some alternatives if you are not a Safari fan.