The 20 best Safari extensions & plugins
Dozens of weird, innovative and useful extensions and plugins are available for Apple's Safari web browser. Here's our selection of 20 we like to use on a regular basis - they'll transform the way you use the web
F. B. Purity
Best Safari extensions & plugins
Best Safari extensions: Autopagerize
When you're running a search on Google, or shopping on eBay or Amazon, you generally get your search results served up one page at a time, and you have to keep clicking the 'Next' button to see each successive page of results.
Autopagerize can speed this up for you. As you scroll down through your search results this extension automatically loads the next page of results and presents the information as one long, continuous list.
That may not suit everyone, but I find it handy when I'm looking for obscure bits of information on the web.
Best Safari extensions: ClickToPlugin
ClickToPlugin is a sibling of ClickToFlash, which dealt with Adobe's infamous animation and video platform. Where ClickToFlash only blocked Flash content, however, ClickToPlugin blocks all website content that uses a plug-in.
Load a page with the extension installed and, in place of the content, you'll see a placeholder with the name of the plug-in in it. You now have a choice: if you're not interested in the content being blocked, you can just ignore it and carry on reading the page. If you want to see the video or whatever else is being hidden, just click the placeholder to load it.
You can configure ClickToFlash so that it doesn't block content on sites you whitelist, or so that it allows content which uses plug-ins you specify.
Best Safari extensions: Coda Notes
Recent versions of Mail for Mac OS X include a Markup option that lets you add notes and annotations to images that you include in your emails. Coda Notes provides similar features for Safari, with a little toolbar that allows you to add notes or use a pen to highlight parts of a web page. You can then hit the 'Send' button to email a screenshot of the annotated web page to friends or colleagues.
Coda Notes was last updated for Safari 7, but it's handy for any users still running Mavericks who can't use Markup in Mail yet.
here. Read next: Email tips for Mac OS X Yosemite
Best Safari extensions: Derpyme
Copying long web addresses can be a bit of a nuisance, especially if you want to share them with friends on sites such as Twitter or Facebook. This has given rise to a number of URL 'shortening' services - web sites that allow you to type in a long address and then give you an abbreviated alternative that is much easier to copy or type.
There are also several extensions that can shorten URLs for you, but derpyme is one of the quickest and easiest to use. Just go to the web page that you want and click the derpyme button to generate the shortened web address, then use Cmd-C to copy it.
Advanced tips for Yosemite Beginners' guide to Yosemite
Best Safari extensions: DuckDuckGo
Google is still king of the search engines, but its poor record on privacy means that many people are now starting to look at rival search engines such as DuckDuckGo.
Unlike Google or Bing, DuckDuckGo doesn't track you or keep any record of the searches you make. You can already set DuckDuckGo as your default search engine using the Preferences panel in Safari, but this official extension from DuckDuckGo adds a number of other features as well, including special '!bang' commands that allow you to perform a search on just one specific web site.
So, typing '!amazon stripey socks' would take you straight to Amazon and show search results only for stripey socks.
here. Read next: Tips for using Safari on the Mac
Best Safari extensions: F. B. Purity
Spend a lot of time on Facebook on your Mac? Then you'll know how little of the content on your feed and the page around it is of interest. F.B. Purity aims to filter out all the detritus, leaving you just with the posts that interest you.
Adverts, sponsored posts and animated GIFs are wiped out. As are trending topics and anything relating to games or apps. And auto-play videos disappear, too.
In addition, you can tweak F.B. Purity so its filters work better for you by, for example, switching off the blocking of certain types of content. You can also filter out specific topics like religion or politics.
Perhaps best of all, you can switch off the tiresome 'people you may know' feature which 'suggests' people to add as friends based on the fact that they're the friend of a friend of the uncle of someone you once met at a party.
Finally, you know those new 'reactions' emojis Facebook introduced recently? F.B. Purity allows you to customise them by adding the URL of a Custom Reactions Image Pack. You can find links to image packs, including some for Star Wars and Game of Thrones, here. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: Harakirimail
Harakirimail, named after the ritual suicide method favoured by Samurai warriors (you'll see why in a minute) allows you to create a disposable email address for all those occasions where you find yourself needing to enter an email address to try out or sign up for a service on the web but don't want to risk having your actual email address spammed.
It works like this: you create an email address with [email protected]' as the domain and then type it into the email address box of whatever service you're signing up for. You can then visit harakirimail.com, type in the email address and see any email that's been delivered to that inbox. After 24 hours, the email address and the contents of the inbox are deleted - or commit harakiri.
The Safari extension allows you to generate an email address with one click in the toolbar. There's also an iOS app that allows you to view the contents of an inbox.
The only downside to using Harakirimail is that the inbox is public - anyone can go to the website or iOS app, type in an @harakirimail.com email address and view the contents of the inbox. To do that, of course, they'd have to know your harakiri.com email address and if you choose one at random, that's very unlikely. Nevertheless, the developers recognise this isn't ideal and are working on a solution. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: HoverSee
HoverSee allows you to preview content on a website by hovering over it with your mouse pointer. It works with a range of images and links including thumbnails on Facebook, Google and various news sites.
That in itself is useful, but more helpful still is that there doesn't even need to be an image on the page for HoverSee to work. It also allows you to 'see behind' links to images on galleries like Flickr or Imgur, or direct links to images on other sites.
If there's a link to a video on YouTube or Vimeo on a page, you can hover over that and preview it too. And for links to web pages, hovering over those shows a preview of the page.
It's a simple extension but could be a handy timesaver. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: Incognito
Most of us know that if you spend time on Google researching pretty much anything that can be sold online, you'll be followed around the web for days afterwards by adverts for those very products. At best that's annoying, at worst it could alert an employer that you’ve been using your work computer for something you shouldn’t have, or reveal a surprise gift to a loved one who uses the same computer.
Incognito aims to stop that by preventing Google and Facebook (yes, Facebook does it too) from tracking you on the web.
There are only a handful of options in the extension. You can switch it on or off, and then choose which services (Google Analytics, Google Adsense, Facebook and Twitter) to prevent tracking you.
Once you've installed it, you should never have to worry about adverts for anything related to your online activity again. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: KeyStroke
Every get fed up pointing, clicking, and scrolling your way around the web? KeyStroke aims to provide a solution. It's an extension that provides keyboard shortcuts for common, and plenty of not so common, functions in a web browser.
Alongside the navigation shortcuts you'd expect are one for 'forward' which, when invoked, attempts to guess the address of the next page in a series and takes you there.
There's also one called Focus Field, which moves the focus to a recognisable text field. Another function, Wrap Text tries to break lines of text to eliminate horizontal scrolling and make text fit the width of the page. One of the cleverest features, however, is Link Text Links which identifies 'cold' links in a page - those which are typed as web addresses but not hyper-linked - into hyperlinks so you can click on them.
Best Safari extensions: NoMoreiTunes
Ah, iTunes. If ever a piece of Apple software has been more consistently criticised, I've yet to hear of it. To describe most users' relationship with it as love/hate would be generous: many of us would rather use Windows 24/7 for a year than go anywhere near Apple's music management tool.
If you want to search for an iOS app from your Mac, or find out if a song or album is available on the iTunes Store, searching in iTunes seems unavoidable. That's not the case.
With a little bit of Google hackery - typing 'site:itunes.apple.com' followed by the app or album you want - you can use Google to find what you need. Sadly, when you click on the link, it fires up iTunes to display the result. That's where NoMoreiTunes steps in. It blocks the code that creates that redirect and replaces it with code that offers you the option, in the form of a button, to display the result in iTunes. Meanwhile, the result is displayed in a browser window. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: PanicButton
PanicButton is a handy extension for those NSFW moments. If you don’t want anyone to see what you're looking at on the web, you can just hit the PanicButton icon in Safari’s address bar and all your current tabs will be hidden and replaced by a 'safe' web page of your choosing.
You can also set up a keyboard shortcut to activate PanicButton immediately, and for extra security you can even add a password that prevents anyone from navigating back to see what you were looking at. Unfortunately, it's not 100% safe, as it only works with tabs in the front-most window, rather than in every single window that you may have open.
Best Safari extensions: Resize Me
When I'm browsing the web I often end up with multiple windows scattered around the screen, and find that I spend quite a lot of time resizing windows to try and keep everything organised.
There are a few extensions that allow you to quickly resize your browser windows, but Resize Me is the one I like best. Once it's been installed Resize Me displays an extra toolbar with buttons that specify a number of different window sizes, and you can instantly resize the current window simply by clicking on the relevant button.
You can also hide the toolbar when required, and specify a custom size for Safari windows that suits your display or the way you prefer to work.
Best Safari extensions: SearchPreview
When you run a search on Google or one of its rival search engines, you'll generally see a few images at the top of the results list, followed by simple text descriptions for the rest of your results.
SearchPreview gives you a thumbnail preview of each web page along with the text description, which can help to speed up browsing if you're shopping for clothes or looking for other types of web sites that carry visual information. The extension works with Google, Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo, so all the main search engines are covered.
Best Safari extensions: Sessions
When I'm working on a project I often have several web pages open all at once, and which I may want to return to at a later date.
Safari does already have an option that lets you 'open all windows from last session', but this handy extension goes further than that by allowing you to save multiple browsing sessions that go back to different dates and times.
So if I'm writing a couple of articles about the Apple Watch or the Apple TV, I can save two completely different sets of browser windows and tabs and then use Sessions to recall them whenever I need to.
Best Safari extensions: Shut Up
The bottom of the internet - the comments section in blogs or online news and comment sites - can be a pretty dispiriting place sometimes. If, like many people you rarely comment and find yourselves shaking your head in disbelief at the comments others make, there's a solution - don't read them. That, however, is often easier said than done. Often, before you know it, you find your line of sight drifting downwards.
Shut Up aims to relieve you of the temptation to read comments by removing them altogether. Available as an extension for Safari or as an iOS app, it uses a CSS stylesheet (shutup.css) written by Panic Software's Steven Frank to hide comments from view. It also puts a button in Safari's toolbar so if you really do want to read comments on a site, you can press it and they'll be revealed. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: Streak
Streak is a customer relationship management (CRM) tool for Gmail. Once you've installed the extension, you can use it to manage projects, collaborate with colleagues, and generally manage your Gmail inbox so you can keep track of work much more easily. There's even a powerful mail merge tool incorporated.
But even if you don't need a CRM tool, it has a couple of useful features that make it worth installing. The first is a Snooze feature which allows you, at the click of a button, to remove an email from your inbox until a specified point in the future, whether that's a few hours or a few days ahead. When the allowed time arrives, you're sent a reminder to follow up the email. Alternatively, you can set the feature so that the reminder is only sent if no one replies to the original email.
Snoozed emails are stored in their own folder. By clicking on it, you can see all snoozed emails and either reply to them or edit there snooze settings.
The other useful feature is the ability to schedule emails you sent. Just compose the email as you normally would and press the clock button at the bottom of the new message window to choose a date and time for the email to be sent. The email is then saved and when the specified time arrives, it's sent to the recipient.
Best Safari extensions: WasteNoTime
This is one for those of us who find ourselves constantly distracted by social media and other websites when we should be doing something more productive. WasteNoTime can block any site you tell it to, preventing you from accessing it at all. But if that scorched earth approach is overkill for you, it can help in other ways.
For example, you can specify a certain amount of time you're allowed to spend on specific websites and when that time is up, WasteNoTime will block them. If you don't want to block sites but are keen to know how much time you spend on them, WasteNoTime can tell you that too. It logs how long you spend on every site you visit, then shows a graph of the ten sites on which you’ve spent the most time. Now there's no excuse for missing that deadline. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: Website Opener
If you're one of those people who opens the same websites every morning when you launch Safari (and indeed are one of those people who shuts down their Mac, or at least closes Safari, every time they finish working) you'll know how much of a pain it can be clicking one Favourite after another to launch the sites you want to visit. You could use Safari's Reopen all Windows from Last Session, but that presumes the sites you had open when you closed Safari are the same ones you want to visit when you launch it again.
If that's not the case, Website Opener has a solution. It puts a button in your toolbar which, when you click it launches each of your favourite sites in their own tab, ready for you to visit. The only setup necessary is to add the addresses of those sites to the extension's settings and you’re good to go. Now all you need is a button to close them all again in one go. Get it here.
Best Safari extensions: YouTube Lyrics
If you're like me and you spend a lot of time listening to music videos on
YouTube then you'll really like the YouTube Lyrics extension from Rob Wu.
Whenever you play a song on YouTube this extension displays a little button just below the video window. Click on the button and the extension will locate the song lyrics on the internet and display them in a window at the side of the screen.
It can search a number of different sites for the lyrics and, despite the name, the extension works on other web sites too, such as Spotify and Grooveshark.