While I occasionally use Firefox, and I think it’s great, Safari is my web browser of choice. Like most OS X applications, Safari has many features that are not obvious. Here are my top six:
1. Browse Safe. It is highly recommended that Safari users disable the option of “Open safe files” after downloading.” That’s because, in theory, you could download a malware program that might run if it opens automatically. While this is far-fetched in reality, it’s still wise to disable the feature. It’s easy to do. Launch Safari. Browse to Preferences > General. Un-check the box that says “Open safe files after downloading.”
Safari is a safe web browser. It uses strong 128-bit encryption when accessing secure sites. It’s also easy to block annoying pop-up windows; to do this, launch Safari, click on the word Safari in the upper-left hand corner of your screen, and choose “Block pop-up windows.”
It’s also very easy to hide your web browsing history when using Safari. This is useful while Christmas shopping online, or, say, cheating on your spouse.
Just select “Private Browsing” under the word Safari in the upper-left hand corner of your screen. No information about where you visit on the Web, personal information you enter or pages you visit are saved or cached. Apple says “It’s as if you were never there.”
2. Tabbed browsing. New users might not know about this feature, because it’s not enabled by default. Tabs allow you to open multiple web pages in a single browser window – very convenient. To enable tabs, launch Safari, then browse Preferences >
Tabs . Enable Tabbed Browsing. To open a link in a new tab, click “Command – T .”
Note that the command key is the key to left of the spacebar on most keyboards. Apple keyboards have an Apple icon printed on the Command key.
3. Bookmark Management. I love bookmarks – in fact, I’m probably too reliant on them. Some of the important websites I connect to have long, bizarre URLS, which I don’t have memorized. Luckily, Apple makes it easy for me to export my bookmarks so I can easily back them up. Launch Safari, and browse to File > Export Bookmarks. Put this file on a flash key, external hard drive, or email them to yourself. You can also share your bookmarks by emailing them to other people.
To add a bookmark, click the ”+” symbol at the top of Safari – or, simply click “command – D.”
To organize bookmarks, click on the icon that looks like an open book at the top left side of Safari, or browse to Bookmarks > . Show All Bookmarks. Here you can rename bookmarks, create new bookmark folders (such Red Sox Links, Work Links, Mac Links, etc.) and delete bookmarks. You can also review your RSS feeds here. Which brings me too…
4. RSS Feeds. RSS is a way that websites summarize their content for fast browsing. With RSS, you get a list of headlines with a line or two about each article. You can quickly see if content on a website has been updated, before reading the entire page. If you go to a web page in Safari and a blue box reading “RSS” appears in the upper right corner of the address bar, the site has an RSS feed.
Click on the blue RSS button to see the RSS summary. To subscribe to a website’s RSS feed, add the RSS page as a bookmark. The bookmark will tell you when content on that page is updated by showing the number of new items. Click on that RSS button, and you will get to preview all the new written content on that page – without actually reloading it.
Small Dog Electronics specials page has an RSS feed. If you subscribe to it, you’ll be able to keep track of our promotions – hint, hint.
5. Keyboard Short Cuts. Like most applications built into Tiger, Safari has lots of keyboard short cuts. Here are a few:
– Option – mouse-click on a link to download the linked page to your desktop.
– Ctrl-mouseclick (on laptops and Macs with a single button mouse) or right click (on Macs with a right-click mouse) on a link on a webpage, to get a drop down menu with options to open links in new windows, open links in new tabs (if tabs are enabled), download the linked file to your desktop, and also to copy the link.
– Command-I to email contents of a web page by OS X Mail
– Command-shift-D: to check spelling in a web-form.
6. Kid-Proof the Internet. Ok, so that’s not really one of my top five favorite tips. However, many people ask about this so I’ve included it. The following comes straight from Apple:
“Start your kids’ Web exploration off on the right foot with Safari Parental Controls. Specify exactly which websites your children access by bookmarking only those sites on the Safari Bookmarks Bar. With Safari Parental Controls enabled, your kids browse only the sites on the Bookmarks Bar. New web addresses typed into the address field or non-approved sites linked from approved sites will not load on Safari. Instead, an error message appears, giving your child the option to request approval on blocked pages.”
Here is a great link that describes exactly how to do this:
Note than most kids over 13 will likely be able to figure out how to get around parental controls in Safari.