Safari, the standard web browser that’s included with Mac OS X is fast, stable and has some great features. But there are some ways of improving it to make you’re browsing experience even faster, more secure and pleasurable. Here’s a walkthrough of my favorite extensions for Safari.
Let’s face it, most of the time when Safari crashes, it’s actually the Adobe Flash plug-in that brings the application down. Just ask Apple, they get the crash logs. Apple has tried to remedy this with later 64-bit versions of Safari, so when the Flash plug-in hangs, it doesn’t bring down Safari, it just refuses to load the page. Thanks to the iPhone and iPad (and people getting annoyed of the use of Flash on web pages), Flash is getting out of fashion in a hurry and many of its uses are being replaced with HTML5. But until every flash ad or page disappears completely, we have to live with it. Or do we? There’s a great extension for Safari called ClickToFlash. Instead of loading the Flash plug-in for the page that contain Flash, it just puts up a grey square with the word “Flash” in it. If you want to see the Flash content, just click on it. Now that specific Flash content is loaded. This will speed up page loading and rendering a lot when viewing pages full of Flash ads. It also reduces CPU use (the Adobe Flash plug-in is a resource hog). The battery life will increase if your on a laptop, and also let you surf without an annoying fan running all the time. And it also cuts down on the annoyance factor of busy pages full of ads. You can add sites that are allowed to display Flash content in the settings for the extension. Another nice benefit? No more Safari crashes.
This is an alternative to ClickToFlash that stops the loading of any content that requires a plug-in on a page. It can also replace media player plug-ins with Safaris native HTML5 player instead.
If you don’t want to see ads on the web pages you surf to, there’s a solution. The AdBlock plug-in removes all ads all together and is very good at it. You can disable the ad removal for specific sites in the settings. It’s a fantastic plug-in. Sometimes it’s actually nice to see ads, especially on sites about an interesting topic where the ads may be of interest. You can whitelist sites so that the ads are shown.
The standard video player on sites like YouTube and Vimeo are Flash based. As you have seen above, the less use of Flash, the better. There is support for HTML5 players on almost every video site today, and are used when devices (or computers) doesn’t have support for Flash. This extension replaces the Flash Video player with a HTML5 based player instead. This player uses less CPU and gets all the benefits of bypassing Flash and also removes the in-video ads as well. You can set your preferred resolution when playing back video in the extensions settings.
Here’s some of the features:
- A custom designed HTML5 player to replace the usable, but very limited built-in player.
Support for Vimeo and Facebook video.
- The ability to switch video resolutions within the player, without having to access Safari’s preferences.
Support for downloading videos from YouTube and Facebook.
- A fully functional volume control, rather than just a mute button.
- Support for displaying the video’s title, author, and source, in a video overlay, along with a link back to the video’s page on YouTube, Vimeo, etc.
If there is a problem with displaying the video, there’s a button so you can switch to the original video player if you like.
This is an extension that tracks the trackers. When you go to a web site, most of your online habits are tracked by a lot of companies that then use or sell that information. With this extension you can see who’s tracking you, get information on that company and their policies. But the great thing is that you can block them from snooping on you. I’ve disabled all the trackers except Google Analytics, because it’s nice for those who run the web site to get some statistics. I’ve been using it for over a year and the only site I had problem with was my bank. But you can put sites on an exclusion list which solved that problem.
After installing all these Safari extensions, your browsing should now be both faster and makes Safari almost crash proof. Not bad for a couple of minutes of work.