One of the best features of Safari is the ease with which you can introduce extra features and functions using extensions.
These are tiny add-ons that Safari incorporates into the browser to provide extra facilities. There are dozens and they have a wide range of uses. For example, some are designed to increase your security by warning you when websites contain malware; others add extra search facilities or enhance search results to make finding things on the internet easier.
There are some that enhance existing browser functions, such as better tab handling or improved status messages. With such a wide range of extensions to choose from, it can be difficult to know which to install. Here are our favourites.
1. Web of trust
WOT is a brilliant extension that helps you to stay safe on the web. Search results at Google, Bing and Yahoo! have green, orange and red icons that indicate safe, care needed and unsafe websites. Mouse over them to see a popup rating box including child friendliness.
See all your phone and tablet notifications on your Mac, enter messages and links and send them to one or all of your devices. You can even send text messages through your phone and push messages to friends. It adds missing functionality for people with Android phones.
There is next to nothing in this extension; it does one thing and that is reopen recently closed tabs. Press the Command+Z keyboard shortcut and Safari reopens the last tab. Retab extends this and enables you to reopen the last 20 closed tabs. It is simple, but useful.
4. Status bar lite
The limited screen space on a MacBook means you have to make the most of every pixel. Go to the View menu and hide the status bar to see more of the webpage. This extension shows URLs under the mouse as an overlay in the bottom left corner.
5. Safari Restore
Tabs have completely revolutionised web browsing and many people have half a dozen or more open at once. Safari Restore saves all your tabs when you quit and reopens them next time so you can carry on browsing. Click the toolbar button to configure it.
DuckDuckGo can be set as the default search engine in Safari preferences, but this extension adds more features. Click the toolbar button to see a search box and to view and select common !bangs (site-specific searches). The last search is remembered.
7. Coda Notes
Click the Coda Notes button and an edit bar appears at the top of the browser. This has tools that enable you to draw on the webpage in various colours, add text, highlight sections, and pin notes to the page. Click Send notes to email it to a contact, for example.
SearchPreview (not to be confused with Search Preview), is a great extension that works with popular search engines like Google and Bing. It displays a thumbnail image of the website next to the search results, which is useful when deciding which link to click.
9. Image Block
Some webpages are jammed to the rafters with images, which not only causes the page to load more slowly but are distracting. Image Block adds a button to the toolbar that toggles images on and off. Browse the web with images off and click it when you need to see them.
10. Auto Refresh
Other webpages are frequently updated, such as with news stories, products and prices, stock market information, messages on social networks and so on. Auto Refresh lets you set a timer and automatically refresh the page every time it counts down to zero.