Safari on Mac

Safari is Apple's web browser — your portal to the internet. You can visit websites, bookmark favorite pages, and more.

Here's what you need to know to get started!

How to visit a website

Safari's main use is to give you a portal to the internet, i.e. millions of websites. If you know the web address or "URL" of the website you'd like to visit, you can enter it manually.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Click the address bar at the top of the window.
  3. Enter the address of the website you'd like to visit, like www.imore.com.
  4. Press return on your keyboard.

    Click the address bar, type the website's URL, press enter on your keyboard

How to search with the address bar

The address bar is where you can type websites by URL, like www.imore.com. But it's not just for web addresses; you can use it to search Google too!

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Click the address bar at the top of the window.

    Launch Safari, click the address bar

  3. Enter your search query, like "funny cat videos".
  4. Hit return on your keyboard.

    Enter your search query, hit return on your keyboard

Safari will navigate to Google, where you'll see a list of results for your search.

How to bookmark a website

If you really like what you're reading online or if you want quick access to your favorite sites, you can bookmark them so that you can go back later with just a click!

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Go to the web page you'd like to bookmark.
  3. Press Command-D on your keyboard.
  4. Enter a title for the bookmark, or you can leave it as is if you want. You can also enter a description if you'd like.
  5. Click Add or hit return on your keyboard.

    Enter a title for the bookmark, click Add

  6. Click View in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
  7. Click Show Favorites Bar.

    Click Show Favorites Bar

Now the bookmarked pages you add to Favorites will appear below the address bar, so you can get to each of them with just a click. Also, whenever you click in the address bar, your Favorites will appear as suggested sites.

How to view all of your bookmarks

If you don't like having your favorites under the address bar or if you like having your bookmarks in separate folders, you can view all of your bookmarks at once.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Click the Show sidebar button next to the address bar.
  3. Click the bookmarks tab if it's not there already. It looks like a book.

    Click the Show sidebar button, click the bookmarks tab

How to remove bookmarks

If you don't need a page bookmarked anymore because you don't need it or it no longer exists, you can just remove it from your bookmarks.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Click Bookmarks in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
  3. Click Edit Bookmarks.

    Click Bookmarks, click Edit Bookmarks

  4. Click the arrow next to Favorites, since that's where your bookmarks go by default.
  5. Right-click or control-click the bookmark you'd like to delete.
  6. Click Delete.

    Click the arrow next to Favorites, right click the bookmark, click Delete

How to add a web page to your reading list

Adding pages to your reading list allows you to save that site and read it later. The best part is that you can even view your reading list without an internet connection.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or the Finder.
  2. Go to the website you'd like to add to your reading list.
  3. Press shift-command-D on your keyboard.

That's all you have to do to add a web page to your reading list! You'll see a little icon jump over to the sidebar or the sidebar button.

How to view your reading list

If you're saving pages to your reading list, you'll obviously want to look at them again! Here's how!

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click the Show sidebar button next to the address bar.
  3. Click the reading list tab. It looks like a pair of glasses.
  4. Click the item you'd like to look at.

    Click the Show sidebar button, click the reading list tab, click the item you'd like to look at

How to remove items from your reading list

Once you're finished with a reading list item, you can remove it so that you don't have to sift through web pages you've already looked at.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click the Show sidebar button next to the address bar.
  3. Click the reading list tab. It looks like a pair of glasses.

    Click the Show sidebar button, click the reading list tab, click the item you'd like to look at

  4. Right-click or control-click the item you'd like to remove.
  5. Click Remove Item.

    Right-click the item you want to remove, click Remove Item

How to enable Private Browsing

Private Browsing lets you browse the internet without saving the websites you've been to, your search history, or your AutoFill information. It's perfect for when you're shopping for Christmas presents on a shared computer or looking at… well, you know.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click File in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
  3. Click New Private Window. You can alternatively press shift-command-N on your keyboard.

    Click File, click New Private Window

Now, none of the websites you visit or any of your AutoFill information will be stored, so no one can track where you've been by your history.

How to add extensions to Safari

Browser extensions are plug-ins that add new functions to Safari. They can do things like block ads, integrate with apps, and more. There are a host of free extensions that help you with productivity, keep you current on news, provide security, entertainment, and more!

Note: While extensions are free, the apps or services that provide them might not be.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click Safari in the menu bar at the top left of your screen.
  3. Click Safari Extensions.

You'll be redirected to the Mac App Store's Safari Extensions page where you can download and install the extensions the same way you would download and install any other app in the Mac App Store. After the installation is complete, open the app to add it to your Safari toolbar.

How to pin tabs

Sort of like adding sites to your Favorites, you can pin tabs, so that the sites you visit most often can be accessed with just a click.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click View in the menu bar at the top left of your screen.
  3. Click Show Tab Bar.
  4. Go to the website you'd like to pin.
  5. Click and hold the tab and drag it all the way to the left.

    Click View click Show Tab Bar, go to the website, click and drag the tab to the left

The tab will now appear as a little site logo or the first letter of the title of the site on the left side of the tab bar.

To get rid of your pinned tabs, just drag them to the right.

How to set the homepage

By default, Safari will open to apple.com when you first launch it. If you'd like to make a different website your homepage, you absolutely can.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Click Safari in the menu bar on the top left of your screen.
  3. Click the General tab.
  4. Enter a website next to Homepage. Alternatively, you can click Set to Current Page if you want the page you're on to be your homepage.

    Click Safari, click Preferences, enter a website next to Homepage or click Set to Current Page

  5. Click the dropdown menu next to New windows open with.
  6. Click Homepage if you'd like new windows to open on your homepage.
  7. Click the dropdown menu next to New tabs open with.
  8. Click Homepage if you'd like new tabs to open to your homepage.

    Click the dropdown next to New windows open with and New tabs open with, click Homepage

How to share websites

If you've come across a web page that you'd really like friends or family to see, you can share it in a number of ways.

  1. Launch Safari from the Dock or Finder.
  2. Go to the website you'd like to share.
  3. Click the Share Sheet button on the top right of the Safari window.
  4. Click a sharing method. You can share via email, Notes, Reminders, Messages, AirDrop, and supported third-party apps.

    Go to the website you want to share, click the Share Sheet button, click a sharing method

How to use Reader View

Reader View allows you to pull up a web page in a more stripped down script so you can read the words and see the images without a bunch of fancy animations or movement programmed into the page. Not all web pages will support the use of Reader View, but plenty will; here's how it works.

  1. Navigate to a web page.
  2. Click the Reader View button. It's the lines to the left side of the address bar.

How to change the background color in Reader View.

  1. Navigate to a web page.
  2. Click the Reader View button. It's the lines to the left side of the address bar.

  3. Click on the Reader Options button. It's the two As on the right side of the address bar.

  4. Click on the background color you want to use.

How to change the font in Reader View.

  1. Navigate to a web page.
  2. Click the Reader View button. It's the lines to the left side of the address bar.

  3. Click on the Reader Options button. It's the two As on the right side of the address bar.

  4. Click on the font you want to use.

How to change the font size in Reader View.

  1. Navigate to a web page.
  2. Click the Reader View button. It's the lines to the left side of the address bar.

  3. Click on the Reader Options button. It's the two As on the right side of the address bar.

  4. Click on the A to make the text bigger or smaller. The smaller "A" will decrease the text size, while the bigger "A" will increase the size.

How to customize Favorites in Safari

Favorites, as the name suggests, are the websites you enjoy the most. By adding them to your Favorites list, they become easily accessible across all of your Apple devices.

To add a website to your Safari Favorites list:

  1. In Safari, go to the website you'd like to add as a Favorite.
  2. Move the pointer over the Smart Search field.
  3. Select Favorites.

To delete a website from your Safari Favorites list:

  1. Click Bookmarks in the Safari Toolbar.
  2. Select Show Favorites.

    safari favorites

  3. Right-click on the website you'd like to remove.
  4. Click Delete to remove the website from your list of favorites.

    safari remove favorites

To organize your Safari Favorites:

  1. Click Bookmarks in the Safari Toolbar.
  2. Select Show Favorites.
  3. Drag your Favorite to a new location on the list.

    Safari move favorites

How to organize Frequently Visited in Safari

Safari automatically adds websites to your Frequently Visited list in macOS Catalina. You can remove sites from this list at any time.

To access your Frequently Visited sites:

  1. Click Bookmarks in the Safari Toolbar.
  2. Select Show Favorites.
  3. Also, click Show Frequently Visited in Favorites in the same location.

    safari frequently visited

To delete a Frequently Visited site:

  1. Go the Favorites page in Safari.
  2. Under Frequently Visited, right-click on the website you'd like to remove.
  3. Click Delete.

delete frequently visited site

How to access Siri Suggestions in Safari in macOS Catalina

Apple occasionally offers updates to iOS, watchOS, tvOS, and macOS as closed developer previews or public betas for iPhone, iPad, Apple TV and Mac (sadly, no public beta for the Apple Watch). While the betas contain new features, they also contain pre-release bugs that can prevent the normal use of your iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, Apple TV, or Mac, and are not intended for everyday use on a primary device. That's why we strongly recommend staying away from developer previews unless you need them for software development, and using the public betas with caution. If you depend on your devices, wait for the final release.

In the upcoming macOS Catalina update, Apple's adding Siri Suggestions to the Safari start page. To access:

  1. Click Bookmarks in the Safari Toolbar.
  2. Select Show Favorites.
  3. Tap on a link under Siri Suggestions.

    safari siri recommendations

There's all you need to get started surfing the web using Safari!

Advanced Safari customizations on Mac

This is just the beginning of your web browsing experience on Mac. Here are a few more guides you should check out.

Great add-ons for Mac

Your Mac could be even more useful with one of our favorite accessories.

Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphones ($280 at Amazon)

These over-ear headphones provide a great sound alternative to AirPods while being just about as easy to use. Like the AirPods, connect easily to your Apple devices thanks to the built-in W1 chip, which allows the pairing to sync across devices logged into iCloud.

Bose Companion 20 ($250 at Amazon)

These beautiful speakers offer a balanced sound in a stylish package. With no knobs on the front, the volume is controlled through a small pod attached to the right speaker, which also holds the ports for your headphones or other audio devices.

Questions?

Questions about using Safari? Let us know in the comments below!

Updated June 2019: Updated for macOS Catalina.

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