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How to add and enable extensions in Safari for iPhone and iPad

Ipad Mini 6 Review Safari
Ipad Mini 6 Review Safari (Image credit: Adam Oram / iMore)

If you use Safari on your Mac, then you may be familiar with extensions. These are basically add-ons for Safari that you can customize the browser with, and they enhance your overall user experience. Since Safari itself is pretty barebones to start with, having extensions can greatly improve the usability of Apple's native browser.

With iOS 15 and iPadOS 15, Apple added extensions for mobile Safari, bringing it more in line with the desktop version. But how do you go about adding and enabling them? Don't worry, we'll show you the ropes.

How to add an extension to Safari on iPhone and iPad

Before you can start using Safari extensions, you'll need apps that support the feature first. You also want to make sure that you are running iOS 15 or iPadOS 15 on your best iPhone and favorite iPad, respectively. Since this is a brand new feature, you need to be running the latest software for it to work. It won't be available with iOS/iPadOS 14 and earlier.

You can add an extension to Safari by downloading apps with Safari extensions just like any other app or game on the App Store. You can simply search for "Safari extensions" on the App Store search page, or check a simple list that Apple has with some extension apps (opens in new tab).

For a full collection of all supported apps on the App Store, you can get to it from the Settings app.

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Safari.
  3. Tap Extensions.

Add an extension to Safari on iPhone by showing: Launch Settings, tap Safari, tap Extensions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Scroll down and tap More Extensions. This takes you to the App Store with all apps that support extensions.
  2. Tap Get (Free) or $X.XX on the apps with Safari extensions that you want to use.

Add an extension to Safari on iPhone by showing: Tap More Extensions, tap Get or Price of an app with extension to download or purchase like any other app (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Download or purchase the app like you would with any other app or game.

How to enable an extension in Safari on iPhone and iPad

Once you have your apps with Safari extensions, you need to make sure that they are enabled before they can start working. There are two ways to go about this: from Settings, or directly in Safari.

To do this from Settings:

  1. Launch Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Scroll down and tap Safari.
  3. Tap Extensions.

Add an extension to Safari on iPhone by showing: Launch Settings, tap Safari, tap Extensions (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Under the Allow These Extensions area, tap on the extension you want to enable.
  2. Turn the toggle to ON (green) if you want to enable the extension.

Enable an extension in Safari on iPhone from Settings by showing: Tap the extension you want, tap the toggle to ON (green) (Image credit: iMore)
  1. Repeat steps 1-5 for all extensions you want to enable.

To do this from Safari:

  1. Launch Safari on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the Reader/Extensions button in the toolbar. It looks like "AA" with a puzzle piece next to it.

Enable an extension in Safari on iPhone by showing: Launch Safari, tap the toolbar button in the address bar (Image credit: iMore)
  1. In the menu that pops up, tap Manage Extensions.
  2. Turn the toggle to ON (green) for any extension you want to use.
  3. Optionally, to disable an extension, just make sure the toggle is OFF (gray).

Enable an extension in Safari on iPhone by showing: Tap Manage Extensions in the pop up menu, tap the toggle to ON (green) for the ones you want to enable. Optionally, tap the toggle to OFF (gray) if (Image credit: iMore)

Make your life better with Safari extensions

As you can see, Safari extensions can really improve your mobile web experience. Extensions are used to block annoying ads and trackers, enable dark mode on any webpage, give you Picture-in-Picture for videos, help you save money, and more. And there are so many on the App Store! If you want some personal recommendations, check out what we think are the best Safari extensions for iPhone and iPad.

Christine Chan
Senior Editor

Christine Romero-Chan has been writing about technology, specifically Apple, for over a decade at a variety of websites. She is currently the iMore lead on all things iPhone, and has been using Apple’s smartphone since the original iPhone back in 2007. While her main speciality is the iPhone, she also covers Apple Watch, iPad, and Mac when needed.

When she isn’t writing about Apple, Christine can often be found at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, as she is a passholder and obsessed with all things Disney, especially Star Wars. Christine also enjoys coffee, food, photography, mechanical keyboards, and spending as much time with her new daughter as possible.