Tag Archives: Safari

Add Favicons to Your macOS Safari Tabs

Tech Tips – Have you noticed that your Safari tabs do not show the favicons for the sites you visit? You can fix that very easily.

If you are asking what a favicon is this is how Wikipedia defines them:

A favicon /ˈfæv.ɪˌkɒn/ (short for favorite icon), also known as a shortcut icon, website icon, tab icon, URL icon, or bookmark icon, is a file containing one or more small icons, associated with a particular website or web page.

Safari recently began (I am using Safari 12.0.3 running on macOS 10.13.6) to natively support favicons. Favicon display must be enabled before you will see them in your browser tabs. To enable them on your Mac do:

  1. Open the Safari App
  2. screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.20.16 pm
    Click on Safari in the top left corner, then select Preferences from the drop-down menu
  3. Select ‘Tabs’
  4. screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.22.16 pm
    Click on the Check Box next to “Show website icons in tabs”
  5. Close the Preference window

You are all set now. Favicons will show up in the browser tab for each site you visit that has favicons implemented.

screen shot 2019-01-25 at 7.27.12 pm

So now when I open tabs in Safari with pages from the Wikipedia, Apple, and Stuff You Missed in History Class sites respectively, you see the little icons in the tabs. Having favicons enabled isn’t a big deal, but it does let you identify at a glance the source of each tab.


See my other Mac and macOS articles


 

Mac Keyboard Shortcuts – Scrolling down with the Spacebar

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Tech Tip – I was unaware that this shortcut existed until I read “There’s a keyboard shortcut that will transform how you browse the web hiding in plain sight” today. Needless to say, this is a Keyboard Shortcut I will use dozens of time each day from now on!

I just tested this on my Mac with both Safari and Google Chrome. It works as advertised on both, scrolling down the viewed page one screen at a time each time the spacebar is pressed.

This doesn’t sound like much, but if you are reading through multiple web pages each day using this keyboard shortcut can save you time. As I have said before, each time you shave seconds from your daily work process, you make yourself that much more productive.


See my other Mac and Keyboard Shortcut articles


 

Product Review – Grammarly Extension for Safari

Product Review – I read about Grammarly in a recent “Working Smarter for Mac Users” newsletter. This is written and distributed by Bob “Dr Mac” Levitus from The Mac Observer. As you might expect from the product name, Grammarly is an extension for Safari on your Mac. As described on the extension website:

Grammarly – Will help you communicate more effectively. As you type, Grammarly flags mistakes and helps you make sure your messages, documents, and social media posts are clear, mistake-free, and impactful.

The free version does a nice job. Below are three examples of what it will catch. Text that it has a recommendation for is underlined in red. Move your cursor over the underlined word or phrase and the pop-up will appear. You can then click on the ‘green’ recommendation (if you agree with it) in the pop-up box and it will be implemented in the text you are writing:

  • misspelling
    Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.05.28 PM
  • unnecessary comma
    Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.05.39 PM
  • wrong word
    Screen Shot 2018-03-14 at 1.05.47 PM

 

While I have not tried the Premium paid version, the level of writing I do just doesn’t, in my mind, justify the cost of the paid service. I will continue to use the Safari extension as I do like how it reports recommended changes.

 

My recommendation: Install the free version and pass on the paid Premium version

 

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Easy to install
  • Base service is free
  • Works with any writing you do within a Safari window

 

Cons

  • You do have to create an account
  • You must be connected to the internet for Grammarly to work
  • Paid (Premium) version is expensive ($29.95/month, $59.95 for 3 months, or $139.95 for a year)

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Keyboard Shortcuts – Bookmark Current Page

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One of the keyboard shortcuts that I use multiple times each day is to bookmark the currently viewed page while in Safari:
CMD + d.

As I read the various articles in my RSS Client, Vienna, I often want to add a bookmark of the page for later reference. Using the keyboard sequence of CMD + d is faster than clicking through the menu bar.

This isn’t a huge time savings, but again it is one of those quick keyboard sequences that will save you a few seconds each time you use it. Every little bit helps when you are trying to make your day more productive.


See my other Mac and Keyboard Shortcut articles


 

macOS Safari Tip – Disable Video Auto-Play

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Tech Tip – Opening a web site in Safari and then having a video on the page begin to play is annoying! Of course I can mute it by clicking the speaker symbol in the tab, but the video is still playing – consuming bandwidth and processor cycles, not to mention being a distraction.

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 4.19.20 PM

I came across a means of disabling video auto-play a week or so ago and tried it. It works perfectly! It does involved you dropping into the Terminal interface but the steps are not difficult. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Quit Safari if it is running
  2. Open Finder >> G0 >> Utilities >> Terminal
  3. paste/type this command into your Terminal window
    defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1
  4. Hit return and wait several seconds. You will see the command prompt when it has completed
  5. Quit the Terminal
  6. Launch Safari
  7. There will be a new menu item “Debug”
  8. Choose Debug >> Media Flags >> Disallow Inline Video

Now any video embedded in a web page will no longer automatically play once the page is loaded. They can be manually played if desired.

To make the “Debug” column disappear, repeat steps 1-5 above, but enter into your Terminal window:

defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 0

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Security Patches for Safari

Apple released a security update to Safari on March 17 which applied to versions of Safari running not only on Yosemite, but Mavericks and Mountain Lion as well. Apple did not release any details on the vulnerabilities being patched, other than to say that:

  • Multiple memory corruption issues existed in WebKit. These issues were addressed through improved memory handling.
  • A user interface inconsistency existed in Safari that allowed an attacker to misrepresent the URL. This issue was addressed through improved user interface consistency checks.

The memory corruption issues allowed a malicious web site to cause an unexpected application termination or the execution of malicious code, while the user interface inconsistencies opened a door to possible phishing attacks.

As always, the best practice is to keep up-to-date with security related patches.


See my other Security and OS X related articles


 

Security – FREAK

FREAK is a newly discovered security flaw affecting both the iOS and OS X versions of Safari, as well as other web browsers. This vulnerability enables an attacker to force the browser to use a weakened, 512-bit form of encryption. FREAK is an acronym standing for ‘Factoring RSA-EXPORT
Keys’. This flaw has been around for years and was just exposed by security researchers March 2, 2015. Specifically this vulnerability is with TLS/SSL (i.e. HTTPS) servers and clients.

This flaw left iOS and other devices vulnerable to attack when visiting what were thought to be secure web sites. The flaw actually was caused by a cold war US government policy that forbade export of strong encryption. The export restriction was lifted in the late 1990s, but the browser code was never updated.

Once an attacker breaches the browser, they can then steal passwords and other personal information. Using this man-in-the-middle mode of attack, they can also attack the site being visited by taking over elements on the site’s pages. The researchers estimate that more than 35% of HTTPS sites world wide are vulnerable.

Apple has indicated that a fix for Safari will be available in the next week or so.

UPDATED 4/22/15 – See Security Now episode #498 for a more detailed description of FREAK.

UPDATED 3/10/15 – Apple Security Update 2015-002 1.0 applied patches that close this vulnerability. The vulnerability was resolved by removing support for ephemeral RSA keys.


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The Evernote App

Updated 3/7/16

I have been an avid user of Evernote now for several years. What is Evernote?

Evernote is a way to collect and organize notes, ideas, web articles, handwritten notes, photos, and much more. Best of all it is cross platform – Mac OS X, iOS, Windows and Android. Evernote has a Free, as well as a Premium ($5/month) and Business ($10/month) plan. I have been using the Free plan thus far and I have been very satisfied with it.

Evernote allows you to set up Notebooks, then add notes to those notebooks. The Notes can be Notes created within Evernote, photos or clippings from web pages. I have the Evernote Web Clipper installed in Safari (it is also available for Firefox and Chrome). That gives me a button added to the Safari header which allows me to clip (anything from just the URL to the entire Web page) from web pages that I visit. This is a great way to collect information for later use. I save recipes, technical articles, and just sites that I am interested in.

I have a separate Notebook for each of the topic areas that I am writing about so that articles I find can be saved for later use. The great thing is that everything I save while I am on my Mac Mini is also available on my iPad and iPhone.

One of my Notebooks is just for Books and Reading. I have a Note there that lists all of the books that I own and that I have read. That makes it easier on the rare occasion that I go into a used book store. I can easily look up what I have and have not read by an author. I have also seen books at the brick and mortar stores that I am interested in, but want the eBook. So I just use the camera within the iOS Evernote App to take a picture of the book cover with my iPhone and save it to my Book Notebook. That way I have all the information I need for later to try and find the eBook.

All in all I find this to be one of the most essential apps whether for OS X or iOS.

I came across this article on how to use templates to make Evernote even more productive. If you use Evernote, these are good ideas.


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Mac OS X – Safari Sharing Options and Markup Missing

I, like many others, recently upgraded my Mac to OS X Yosemite. The upgrade seemed to have gone smoothly, until a few days ago when I tried to save a Web page to my “Reading List” in Safari. When I clicked on the Sharing icon, all I got was “No Services”.

I did a little research and found that this is a known problem with Yosemite. Fortunately, Apple already has a fix documented (see http://support.apple.com/en-us/HT6545). I opened a Terminal (Finder >> Go >> Utilities >> Terminal) and ran the command described in the fix. A minute or so later I had my Sharing option list back. The command to run is:


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Tuneup Your OS X Mac – Part 3

In Part 2 of this series I identified some ways to reduce the space being used on your boot disk by removing files. Some of the largest disk usage comes from the standard Apple applications like iTunes, iPhoto and Safari.  The focus of this segment of the series will address Safari. 

Safari

Users often have problems with Safari bogging down and/or exhibiting the spinning beach ball. When this starts to be a problem, there are several things that you can do to speed Safari back up [1].

Close Tabs and Windows – If your Safari starts to slow down, the first thing to do is to close unnecessary tabs and windows. Every open tab/window takes ups system memory. You will notice that Safari becomes more responsive as you reduce the number of open tabs/windows. Not only will closing tabs/windows improve Safari’s performance, but it will improve the performance of other running apps by freeing system resources.

Relaunch Safari – The next thing to do is to quit the application and launch it again. Before doing that though, close all of the browser windows that you are no longer needing. Every browser window you have open takes up system memory. In particular having the Twitter or Facebook pages open ties up substantial system resources. It is best to close all but the browser windows that you currently need, bookmarking or adding to the reading list those pages you want to come back to later. This will give you a leaner application when it is restarted.

Top Sites
– Safari maintains a Top Sites feature.  To do this, Safari caches almost every site that you visit.  This can easily degrade Safari performance and take up disk space.  Unfortunately, simply emptying the cache will not clear these files.

You can “turn off” this feature by: Opening the Finder >> Option-click the Go menu >> choose the Library folder >> Caches >>com.apple.Safari>> Webpage Previews. Move all of the contents of that folder to the trash.  That will clear out the .png files for the recent pages.

To disable the Top Sites feature entirely once you have emptied the cache, select the Webpage Previews folder >> File >> Get Info. In the Get Info window, check the Locked checkbox.  This will prevent any further files being written to the folder.

When I checked this on my Mac Mini I had almost 400 files in the folder taking up nearly 200MB of disk space. I only switched to using Safari as the default browser this past spring so you can see how quickly this folder fills up. I have seen where other users found this to be in the multi GB range on their Macs.

Safari Extensions – We all often hear about extensions we want to try and add them to our browser. These can add functionality to the browser, but they do cost resources. How many extensions have you added to Safari?  To see, click on Safari >> Preferences >> then click on the Extensions tab. All of the Extensions you have installed will be listed. To improve Safari performance, Uninstall or disable those that you are not using.

To see what Extensions are available, click on Safari >> Safari Extensions. That will take you to the Apple Extensions site where you can look through the extensions that are available.

Restore Safari
– A simple and usually effective thing to do is to restore Safari to reset it. This will clear out Safari’s cache and all of the other stuff that has been accumulating. To do this open Safari >> Choose “Reset Safari” from the Safari menu >> Uncheck the ‘Remove saved names and passwords’ and ‘Remove other autofill form data’ boxes >> click on the Reset button.

Do you have Flash installed? – I do not install Flash as it simply has had too many security vulnerabilities in the past. When I need Flash to view a site, I use the Chrome browser which has a Flash reader built into it. However, if you do have Flash installed you need to make sure that it is up to date. This will mitigate any known security issues and out dated Flash is known to cause stability and speed problems [1]. You can get the latest Flash player directly from Adobe at http://get.adobe.com/flashplayer/.

In addition to the web cookies that most are familiar with, Flash has it’s own set of cookies. Safari’s built-in security features don’t block and can’t purge Flash Cookies. Accumulating Flash cookies can cause the browser to slow down. To delete your Flash cookies open the Finder >> Option-click the Go menu >> Your ~/Library will appear in the menu; choose it >> Trash all of the files in the folder at: /Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/#SharedObjects. – Then open the Finder again >> Option-click the Go menu >> Your ~/Library will appear in the menu; choose it >> Trash all of the files in the folder at: /Preferences/Macromedia/Flash Player/macromedia.com/support/flashplayer/sys. If you don’t want to receive Flash cookies in the future, do a Get Info on each of these folders and lock them (using the “Locked” checkbox, not the little lock icon in the Get Info window).

References

1 – Macintosh OS X
Routine Maintenance


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