I found Safari Browser to be a nightmare in its cross platform days. It says a lot for its progress that has become my preferred browser. The modern version is fast, efficient with resources, and proactive about tracking protection. Recent announcements also suggest that protection will continue to improve. Using 1Blocker for iOS and macOS , I can manage my browsing experience across Mac and iOS without weighing the app down with extensions. Add to that recent additions such as iOS type privacy settings, and the already excellent continuity features like handoff, and reading list. Put simply, using Safari is easy. It might not be as extensible as Chrome or Firefox, but like those browsers, Safari has a number of hidden features.
Enabling Safari Hidden Features
The other hidden menu is the lessor known Debug menu, which requires some basic terminal foo to reveal. The intrepid and curious will have a range of new preferences to tweak
- Open Terminal: If you’re a mouse jockey click on the Go menu in Finder, and select Utilities. If you’re a keyboard warrior hit ⌘ + Space and start typing Terminal.
- Once you have the Terminal open either type, or copy and past the following command:
defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1
- Press return, then restart Safari. Presto, you have a new menu.
Safari Hidden Features to Enable
Until recently, this was the only way you could disable autoplay video on annoying sites. Thankfully, Safari will now allow you to set site specific preferences , content blocking, and so on. It doesn’t always work the way it should in my experience, but setting a global flag in the debug menu takes care of it. Under Media Flags, enable ‘Video Needs User Action’, or ‘Audio Needs User Action’, depending on your needs. You can also disable inline video altogether.
Other handy features include the ability to disable some of Safari’s energy management. If you have attention madness like I do, you might find your open tabs getting out of control. Rather than creating epic memory leaks, Safari will suspend background tabs that aren’t being used. The browser is smart about how it does this, but it doesn’t suit everybody. For some users, having to reload a suspended tab can be a real nuisance. For instance, if you do a lot of research you might want to keep all your tabs live. If this is you, the option to disable background tab suspension is under miscellaneous flags.
There are a lot more flags, some more useful than others. To state the obvious, you can break stuff by playing with them, but that’s half the fun.