Safari 17 beta is here (and it lets you enable hidden features too)

Stage Manager running Safari on a MacBook Air
(Image credit: iMore/Joe Wituschek)

A new version of Safari is almost here, and it’s set to be a big one. First announced at WWDC 2023, it brings a bunch of new features for those running macOS Sonoma, but it’s also bringing different features for those running macOS Monterey and Ventura, too. And with a beta build now available, you can try it for yourself.

For those unaware, Safari for iOS 17, iPadOS 17, and macOS Sonoma introduces profiles, so you can separate work and personal bookmarks at different times of the day, alongside being able to secure a private window behind Touch ID and Face ID.

This version of Safari is also available to older macOS versions, so you can try out these features without updating to the public beta of macOS Sonoma. To do so, simply sign up to the Apple Beta Software site and try it out right now. 

While we don’t recommend using beta software for your everyday devices, Safari 17 can be downloaded as a separate browser, so you can relatively safely use it alongside the latest stable build, too.

Sweet seventeen

Experimental Features will be a big draw here, as you can easily switch on some features in a redesigned menu that makes it easier to try individual additions to the browser. Google Chrome has had a similar method for years, where you can type in chrome://flags in the address bar, and you can simply scroll down the list and enable features in development.

Safari is unique in the fact that it has its own section on Apple’s Developer site where a Preview of the web browser is maintained all year round. No other app from Apple does this, but it makes sense, as Webkit, the engine that powers Safari, is used in other web browsers, so any improvements need to be made available for other third-party developers.

But using a preview that’s separate from the public betas of iOS 17 is a unique offering, and it makes us wonder whether other apps could benefit from this regular cadence of updates and documentation. Perhaps Mail could benefit from this by being opened up by Apple, without having to showcase new features at WWDC every year, so users and developers could see how the app could improve and become a great rival to other Mail apps like Spark and Outlook.

Are you using Safari 17 already? Let us know how you’re getting on over at the iMore Forums.

Daryl Baxter
Features Editor

Daryl is iMore's Features Editor, overseeing long-form and in-depth articles and op-eds. Daryl loves using his experience as both a journalist and Apple fan to tell stories about Apple's products and its community, from the apps we use everyday to the products that have been long forgotten in the Cupertino archives.

Previously Software & Downloads Writer at TechRadar, and Deputy Editor at StealthOptional, he's also written a book, 'The Making of Tomb Raider', which tells the story of the beginnings of Lara Croft and the series' early development. He's also written for many other publications including WIRED, MacFormat, Bloody Disgusting, VGC, GamesRadar, Nintendo Life, VRV Blog, The Loop Magazine, SUPER JUMP, Gizmodo, Film Stories, TopTenReviews, Miketendo64 and Daily Star.