Track favourite sites with Shared Links in Safari

Just a row of monitors with different icons on each one

Do you use Shared Links in Safari on your Apple Mac? Why not? Is it because you aren’t sure what they are or how useful they can be? Fear not, here’s how to use them to track websites and see what’s new.

Shared Links is a feature that has been in Safari for several versions now, but many people do not make the most of this useful tool.

It can save you having to visit websites in order to see what is new and you can instantly see what articles or news stories are on your favourite websites and whether they are worth reading, all without having to actually go to the site in your browser.

One of the features of Shared Links is RSS feed display. It isn’t clear what the letters RSS stand for and some people say that it is Rich Site Summary and others claim it is Really Simple Syndication. It doesn’t really matter. What RSS is, is a list of the most recently posted articles, news stories and updates on a website.

RSS is a sort of ‘What’s new?’ list for a website and it contains brief descriptions of the latest articles and a link to the web pages they are featured on. This makes RSS feeds very useful for keeping up to date with breaking news stories, or for checking whether your faourite websites site have posted anything new without actually having to go there.

Many websites have RSS feeds and they can be added to Safari’s shared links feature on the Apple Mac. Here's how to do it.

1 Go to a website

Start Safari and go to your favourite website. Suppose this one, RAW Mac, is a favourite that you regularly visit (one can only hope), and you want to keep an eye on what’s new.

Favourite website

2 Find the RSS feed

There is a standard icon that almost every website uses to indicate an RSS feed and it is orange and looks a bit like a Wi-Fi symbol. RSS feed links may or may not have a text description next to them. Look for the orange icon and look for a text link. It could be at the top of the website's home page, the bottom, or in a sidebar.

Not every site has an RSS feed icon or link, but a large number do and it is a common feature. There is an RSS button at the bottom of the home page on this website for example.

RSS feed icon

3 Add the feed

Click the RSS feed button or text link on a web page and this is what happens in Safari. You are asked if you want to add the website to Shared Links. Click the Add button.

Add RSS feed in Safari

4 Show the Sidebar

At any time and when browsing any website, or even with no website in the browser window, go to the View menu and select Show Shared Links Sidebar.

View Shared Links Sidebar in Safari

5 View the articles

The sidebar opens and the Shared Links tab, the third one, is selected. Scroll down the sidebar and there is a list of the latest articles on your favourite website. You can see from the brief extract whether the articles are of interest to you without having to visit the website.

Click a link in the sidebar and the article is displayed in full in the main part of the browser window. You can now read the article.

RSS feeds in Safari's sidebar

6 Manage RSS feeds

If you find that an RSS feed is no longer of interest to you, it can easily be removed from the sidebar. Click the Subscriptions button at the bottom of the sidebar and click the cross next to the website under Subscribed Feeds.

Manage RSS feeds in Safari

This is a great way to monitor your favourite websites and to see whether there is anything new or interesting that you might have missed.

Add some more of your favourite websites to the Safari sidebar and check the Shared Links display every day to see what is new. This way you only visit the pages with interesting articles and news stories, and you don’t need to browse the whole site looking for things.



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