In iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Safari gets solid improvements that will win you back from Chrome — especially if you value your privacy. But while safeguarding your privacy and security on the web fuels many of Safari’s great new features, there’s much more Safari goodness to anticipate.

Let’s take a look at the upcoming Mac and iOS versions of the Apple web browser.

Privacy, privacy, privacy

Safari ateps up the battle against tracking, and privacy violations. Safari steps up the battle against tracking and privacy violations.

In iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, Safari further protects your privacy. First is something called Enhanced Tracking Prevention. Every computer — including yours — gives all kinds of information to every website you visit. It tells the site which browser you’re using, for example, so that it can serve the right page (eg. mobile versus desktop). But it also includes information about the fonts installed on your computer, the browser plugins you’re using, your screen resolution, your system language, and so on. Taken together, this almost-unique mix makes a fingerprint that is used to track you across the web.

Until now, there was nothing you could do to stop this, other than using a tool like TOR. But in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave, the browser serves up simplified versions of these snippets of information, rendering fingerprinting all but useless as a tool to track you.

Further, Safari will also strip the tracking code out of Twitter, Facebook, and other widgets — like blog comments — that load into web pages. This can already be done by third-party tools, but building it in, and (presumably) switching it on by default, will protect everyone with a Mac, iPhone, or iPad.

Safari is faster in iOS 12 and macOS Mojave

iOS 12 will speed up everything, including Safari. iOS 12 will speed up everything, including Safari.

One of iOS 12’s big features is speed. “Things you do all the time, like launching Camera and typing with the keyboard, happen faster than ever,” says Apple. Even in the very first beta of iOS 12, this is true. The whole thing feels snappier, Safari included. Subjectively (I’m running the beta on an iPad Pro

Tab favicons

google chrome favicons
Chrome has managed to display favicons since, like, forever.
Photo: Charlie Sorrel/Cult of Mac

In both iOS 12, and in macOS Mojave, Safari will finally display tab favicons. Who cares? Well, being able to identify the site you want from a whole mess of tabs is a lot easier if you can spot that site’s colorful logo as an icon, instead of having to read few letters of truncated text when trying to identify it. Other browsers have had tab favicons since like forever, but now Apple has eliminated maybe the final reason anyone has to use Google Chrome.

Improved Reader View

This one wasn’t mentioned by Apple yet, but Safari’s Reader View gets a cleanup. There are no new options, but regular users will notice that Reader View is now far better at taking a web page and cleaning it up. For those who don’t use it, Reader View strips everything from a page apart from the images and the text, then it formats them so that they look like a beautiful magazine. In iOS 12 and Mojave, it is now even better at fixing up pages. Image captions, tables, and other tricky elements are better preserved, and — thanks to iOS 12’s speed improvements — switching to it is pretty much instantaneous. Check it out.

Security code AutoFill

This improvement also applies to other apps, but Safari is the place you usually log in to services and sites, so the new Security-Code AutoFill feature will have its biggest impact here. You know when you log into, say, Twitter, and it sends you a code via SMS that you have to copy and paste into the browser? Now, in iOS 12, these messages will be recognized when they are received, and the code will be copied, and added to the AutoFill suggestions that appear above the keyboard.

Just tap to insert. No app switching, no copying and pasting. It’s a tiny addition that will make a big everyday difference.

macOS Mojave Dark Mode

Safari Dark Mode in macOS Mojave

MacOS Mojave’s Dark Mode probably got a bigger round of applause than anything else mentioned at the Apple WWDC 2018 keynote, probably because the place was packed with nerds who sit in front of their Macs all day long. Dark Mode doesn’t just change the menubar and a few UI elements, either. It’s a proper system-wide interface switch.

In general, everything that is currently white or pale gray on your Mac will turn black or dark gray. Window edges, toolbars, lists, menus, and backgrounds all change. Apple’s own apps have all been updated to look great in dark mode, and third-party apps have to do the same to be compatible.



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