Safari secrets revealed on the Apple Mac for better browsing

Discover some of the lesser known features of Safari on the Apple Mac and where to get Safari Technology Preview. It's like a Safari beta

You might think you know everything about Safari, Apple’s web browser on the Mac, but there is more to it than meets the eye and here are some features you probably have not yet discovered.

1 Zoom in and out

Some websites assume you have eyes like a hawk and can read text in 6pt at arm’s length, or that you love reading light gray text on a white background. Some sites are a struggle to read and it is annoying.

The solution is to zoom in. Did you know that you can use two finger spread and pinch gestures on the trackpad to zoom in and out of web pages? It can make them easier to read.

2 Increase the text size

If you zoom in, the images are zoomed too and become much larger. Usually it is just the text that is too small and the images are fine. Can you zoom just the text? Yes you can!

Click Safari’s View menu, hold down the Option key and Zoom In and Zoom Out magically change to Make Text Bigger and Make Text Smaller.

Make text bigger or smaller on web pages in Safari on the Apple Mac

Only the size of the text changes. You might think that this would ruin the page layout, but websites these days use responsive designs that cope with different screen sizes and resolutions on different devices. They often cope quite well with making the text size bigger and it is so much more readable.

A few websites use overly large text sizes and spacing, and it can be useful to make it smaller.

3 Close all the other tabs

If you have a lot of tabs open in Safari, but you want to focus on the current tab, you could close each one, but there is a quicker and simpler method. Hold down the Option key and click File, Close Other Tabs. The current tab stays open, but the others close.

Close other tabs in Safari on the Apple Mac

There’s a keyboard shortcut: Option+Command+W

4 Reload a web page

If a web page does not completely load, perhaps due to an internet glitch, or if you want to refresh the page to see if there is anything new, like a breaking news story, there is a Reload button at the right side of the address box.

Reload Page is also on the View menu, but it if hold down the Option key it becomes Reload Page From Origin. What’s this? Web browsers cache the contents of web pages and clicking the Reload button or menu might simply reload it from the cache.

Reload Page From Origin ignores everything in Safari’s cache and all the page content is downloaded from the website again.

5 Clear web browsing history

Sometimes you want to cover your web browsing tracks, or maybe you want to stop Safari making URL suggestions based on your browsing history. It can be cleared.

Click Clear History on the History menu to clear everything. Unfortunately, this clears everything and websites may have stored useful information on the Mac, such as cookies with login information for websites, site preferences, shopping carts and so on.

Clear web browsing history in Safari on the Apple Mac

To clear just your web browsing history and leave website data and cookies alone, hold down the Option key and click History, Clear History And Keep Website Data.

6 Use Responsive Design Mode

If you have a website then a major concern is how well it works on mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad. You don’t need to own an iOS device to see how your website looks because Safari can emulate them.

Go to Safari, Preferences and select the Advanced tab. Down at the bottom, tick the checkbox Show develop menu in menu bar.

Now go to the new Develop menu and select Enter Responsive Design Mode. At the top of the page are iPhones, iPads, iPad Pros and several screen sizes. Click each one to see the website as it would appear on them.

7 Get the Safari beta

Would you like to get a preview of the next version of Safari before everyone else? Of course you would and you can download and install the beta. Apple calls it Safari Technology Preview rather than beta, but that’s basically what it is. 

Go to Safari Technology Preview and click the link or button to download it. On the next page, click the download link.

Safari Technology Preview website

Regular Safari has a blue icon, but Safari Technology Preview has a purple icon. It does not overwrite Safari. It installs as a separate app and it must be run from the Applications folder. It can be added to the Dock of course, and if you open Preferences there is an option to make it the default browser.

Safari Technology Preview icons on the Apple Mac

There isn’t much to see at the moment and a lot of the new features are below the surface. The Safari release notes describe all the changes and it is pretty dull reading.

However, there is one visible change and in Responsive Design Mode the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus has been replaced with the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.





very interesting!

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