New Safari Web Browser Features Coming in macOS High Sierra

During last week's keynote at the Worldwide Developers Conference, Apple announced a number of additional features coming to Safari web browser as part of its new macOS High Sierra operating system, due to release in the fall.

Apple claims that in its current form Safari is the fastest web browser in macOS when compared with Chrome and Firefox, but it is promising even more speed and better power efficiency in High Sierra.

One of the most welcome new features that was announced at WWDC is Autoplay blocking. This prevents websites from playing video the moment you visit a page, which should make browsing a lot less infuriating. As of the High Sierra developer beta, the feature is enabled by default for all sites, but can be specified on a per site basis by the user.


Another new Safari feature that Apple is introducing is called Intelligent Tracking Prevention. (This appears in iOS 11 under the Safari setting "Try to Prevent Cross-Site Tracking".) Safari was one of the first browsers to include mechanisms that try to prevent cross-site tracking – blocking of third-party cookies is a default Safari behavior – but elaborate API methods have been employed to overtake those efforts in the intervening years.

Apple's own testing has found that popular websites can harbor more than 70 cross-site tracking and third-party cookie trackers that all silently collect data on users while making the browsing experience increasingly sluggish.


To solve this, Apple's new feature uses local machine learning to identify cookie types and partition them or purge the cross-site scripting data of suspect ad trackers, without affecting the functioning of helpful cookies like those containing localized data or login details, for example. The feature should increase user privacy as well as boost overall browsing speed.

Elsewhere in Safari, users will be able to specify a number of other web page settings on a per-site basis. For example, it will be possible to set a zoom level for a particular web page, as well as enable/disable notifications and content blockers, and set camera/microphone and location service privileges for a site so that they remain active the next time you visit.


In addition, Apple has added a new Reader Mode option that lets users automatically enter the stripped down easy-reading mode whenever they visit a website, enabling them to enjoy content without ads, navigation and other distractions as a default setting.

The new Safari will be available in the Public Beta of macOS High Sierra, which is expected to drop later this month. Eager users can also get a taste of the new features in the latest release of the Safari Technology Preview.

Tag: Safari

Top Rated Comments

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44 months ago
It can NEVER be fast enough, but faster is better. The auto-play feature is great--I hate when I'm reading news and some annoying ad or news video starts babbling and screaming up screen somewhere.
Score: 12 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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44 months ago
This is the feature I've been waiting the most!
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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44 months ago
Apple did a very good job with this interface in Preferences. Everything is there, it is clean, concise, easy to use. Arguably one of the all-time best improvements to Safari.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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44 months ago
Sad that something like this is needed......
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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44 months ago
This will continue to be a battle -- the advertisers will not take this sitting down. MarketingLand published "How Apple’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention works & why Google/Facebook could benefit most ('http://marketingland.com/apple-safari-intelligent-ad-tracking-what-we-know-216865')" two days after the keynote. As noted in this WebKit blog article "Intelligent Tracking Prevention ('https://webkit.org/blog/7675/intelligent-tracking-prevention/')", there is a 24-hour window where cookies will be more widely available. The marketeers will exploit this window -- count on it.

Apple: please give users the option of shutting down this window. Consider making it the default behavior. :)

MarketingLand also notes an article by a blog article by privacy expert Alexander Hanff "Apple Safari's Intelligent Tracking Prevention can not prevent tracking ('http://www.privacy-news.net/news_article/5936b50c178a907559b1e5f3')." Apple's changes will clearly help, but we may need to have legislation to stop certain server-side tracking.

I switched from Chrome to Safari about 6 months ago. It took time to adapt, but I'm glad I did it. I also use DuckDuckGo ('https://duckduckgo.com') as my default search engine. Every little bit helps.

While Intelligent Tracking Protection is a nice idea I wonder how well it works in practice? I suspect it won't take long for advertisers to find ways to circumvent it...

Follow the links above to see what the industry is saying about it. I'm certain the marketeers have "developer" accounts and have already started poking and prodding the macOS and iOS betas.
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
44 months ago
While Intelligent Tracking Protection is a nice idea I wonder how well it works in practice? I suspect it won't take long for advertisers to find ways to circumvent it...
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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