ⓘ Safari (web browser)
Safari is a graphical web browser developed by Apple, based on the WebKit engine. First released on desktop in 2003 with Mac OS X Panther, a mobile version has been bundled with iOS devices since the iPhones introduction in 2007. Safari is the default browser on Apple devices. A Windows version was available from 2007 to 2012.
1. History and development
Until 1997, Apple’s Macintosh computers shipped with the Netscape Navigator and Cyberdog web browsers only. Internet Explorer for Mac was later included as the default web browser for Mac OS 8.1 and later, as part of a five-year agreement between Apple and Microsoft. During that time, Microsoft released three major versions of Internet Explorer for Mac that were bundled with Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9, though Apple continued to include Netscape Navigator as an alternative. Microsoft ultimately released a Mac OS X edition of Internet Explorer for Mac, which was included as the default browser in all Mac OS X releases from Mac OS X DP4 up to and including Mac OS X v10.2.
1.1. History and development Safari 2
In April 2005, Dave Hyatt, one of the Safari developers at Apple, documented his study by fixing specific bugs in Safari, thereby enabling it to pass the Acid2 test developed by the Web Standards Project. On April 27, 2005, he announced that his development version of Safari now passed the test, making it the first web browser to do so.
Safari 2.0 was released on April 29, 2005, as the only web browser included with Mac OS X 10.4. This version was touted by Apple as possessing a 1.8x speed boost over version 1.2.4, but did not yet include the Acid2 bug fixes. The necessary changes were initially unavailable to end-users unless they downloaded and compiled the WebKit source code themselves or ran one of the nightly automated builds available at OpenDarwin.org. Apple eventually released version 2.0.2 of Safari, which included the modifications required to pass Acid2, on October 31, 2005.
The final stable version of Safari 2, Safari 2.0.4, was released on January 10, 2006 for Mac OS X. It was only available as part of Mac OS X Update 10.4.4. This version addressed layout and CPU usage issues, among other improvements. Safari 2.0.4 was the last version to be released exclusively on Mac OS X.
1.2. History and development Safari 3
On January 9, 2007, at Macworld SF, Jobs announced the iPhone. The device’s operating system later called iPhone OS and subsequently renamed to iOS used a mobile version of the Safari browser and was able to display full, desktop-class websites.
On June 11, 2007, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs announced Safari 3 for Mac OS X 10.5, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. During the announcement, he ran a benchmark based on the iBench browser test suite comparing the most popular Windows browsers, hence claiming that Safari was the fastest browser. Later third-party tests of HTTP load times would support Apples claim that Safari 3 was indeed the fastest browser on the Windows platform in terms of initial data loading over the Internet, though it was found to be only negligibly faster than Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox when loading static content from local cache.
The initial Safari 3 beta version for Windows, released on the same day as its announcement at WWDC 2007, had several known bugs and a zero day exploit that allowed remote execution. The addressed bugs were then corrected by Apple three days later on June 14, 2007, in version 3.0.1 for Windows. On June 22, 2007, Apple released Safari 3.0.2 to address some bugs, performance issues and other security issues. Safari 3.0.2 for Windows handles some fonts that are missing in the browser but already installed on Windows computers, such as Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and others.
The iPhone was formally released on June 29, 2007. It included a version of Safari based on the same WebKit rendering engine as the desktop version, but with a modified feature set better suited for a mobile device. The version number of Safari as reported in its user agent string is 3.0, in line with the contemporary desktop versions of Safari.
The first stable, non-beta release of Safari for Windows, Safari 3.1, was offered as a free download on March 18, 2008. In June 2008, Apple released version 3.1.2, addressing a security vulnerability in the Windows version where visiting a malicious web site could force a download of executable files and execute them on the users desktop.
Safari 3.2, released on November 13, 2008, introduced anti-phishing features using Google Safe Browsing and Extended Validation Certificate support. The final version of Safari 3 is 3.2.3, released on May 12, 2009.
1.3. History and development Safari 4
Safari was one of the twelve browsers offered to EU users of Microsoft Windows in 2010. It was one of the five browsers displayed on the first page of browser choices along with Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer and Opera.
1.4. History and development Safari 4 features
Beginning with Safari 4, the address bar has been completely revamped:
- The reload/stop button is now superimposed on the right end of the address bar.
- The blue inline progress bar is replaced with a spinning bezel and a loading indicator attached to it.
- The button to add a bookmark is now attached to the address bar by default.
Safari on Mac OS X and Windows was made to look more similar to Safari on iPhone than previous versions.
Safari 4 also includes the following new features:
- Support for CSS image retouching effects
- Cover Flow browsing for History and Bookmarks
- Speculative loading, where Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information that are required to view a web page ahead of time
- Support for CSS Canvas
- Native Windows look on Windows with standard Windows font rendering and optional Apple font rendering
- Top Sites, which displays up to 24 thumbnails of a users most frequently visited pages on startup
- Support for HTML5
- Completely passes the Acid3 standards test
1.5. History and development Safari 5
Apple also released Safari 4.1 concurrently with Safari 5, exclusively for Mac OS X Tiger. The update included the majority of the features and security enhancements found in Safari 5. It did not, however, include Safari Reader or Safari Extensions. Together with Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, Apple released Safari 5.1 for both Windows and Mac on July 20, 2011, with the new function Reading List and a faster browsing experience. Apple simultaneously released Safari 5.0.6 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, excluding Leopard users from the new functions in Safari 5.1.
Safari 5.1.7 has become the last version of Safari developed for Windows.
1.6. History and development Safari 5 features
Safari 5 includes the following new features:
- DNS prefetching, where Safari finds links and looks up addresses on the web page ahead of time.
- Improved support for HTML5, including full screen video, closed caption, geolocation, EventSource, and a now obsolete early variant of the WebSocket protocol.
- Safari Reader, which removes formatting and ads from webpages.
- Full-text search through the browser history
- Improved Web Inspector.
- Smarter address field, where the address bar autocomplete will match against titles of web page in history or bookmarks.
- Improved graphics hardware acceleration on Windows.
- Bing search.
- Extensions, which are add-ons that customize the web browsing experience.
1.7. History and development Safari 6
Safari 6.0 was previously known as Safari 5.2 until Apple announced the change at WWDC 2012. The stable release of Safari 6 coincided with the release of OS X Mountain Lion on July 25, 2012, and is integrated into the OS. As Apple integrated it with Mountain Lion, it is no longer available for download from the Apple website or other sources. Apple released Safari 6 via Software Update for users of OS X Lion. It has not been released for OS X versions prior to Lion for Windows. Regarding the unavailability of Safari 6 on Windows, Apple has stated "Safari 6 is available for Mountain Lion and Lion. Safari 5 continues to be available for Windows." Microsoft removed Safari from its BrowserChoice page.
On June 11, 2012, Apple released a developer preview of Safari 6.0 with a feature called iCloud Tabs, which allows users to sync their open tabs with any iOS or other OS X device running the latest software. Safari 6 also included new privacy features, including an "Ask websites not to track me" preference, and the ability for websites to send OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion users notifications, although it removed RSS support. Safari 6 has the Share Sheets capability in OS X Mountain Lion. The Share Sheet options are: Add to Reading List, Add Bookmark, Email this Page, Message, Twitter and Facebook. Users can now see tabs with full page previews available.
1.8. History and development Safari 6 features
Safari 6 introduced the following features, many of which are only available on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion:
- Tab view Mountain Lion only, which enables movement between tabs using multi-touch gestures.
- Support for -webkit-calc
- Built-in sharing Mountain Lion only to email, Messages, Twitter and Facebook.
- Improved performance
- iCloud tabs Mountain Lion only synchronizes recent websites across OS X and iOS devices.
- Unified smart search field, which combines the web address and search fields, similar to Chromes Omnibox and Firefoxs Awesome Bar.
Additionally various features were removed, including, but not limited to, Activity Window, separate Download Window, direct support for RSS feeds in the URL field and bookmarks. The separate search field is also no longer available as a toolbar configuration option.
1.9. History and development Safari 7
1.10. History and development Safari 8
Safari 8 was announced at WWDC 2014 and released with OS X Yosemite. It included WebGL support, stronger privacy features, increased speed and efficiency, enhanced iCloud integration, and updated design.
1.11. History and development Safari 8 features
Safari 8 introduced the following features, available on OS X Yosemite:
- WebGL support
- Support for Promises from ECMAScript 6
- Encrypted Media Extensions
- Support for SPDY
- CSS Shapes and Compositing
- IndexedDB support
- APNG support
1.12. History and development Safari 9
Safari 9 was announced at WWDC 2015 and released with OS X El Capitan. It included muting tabs and pinned tabs.
- Promise Support
1.13. History and development Safari 10
Safari 10 was released alongside macOS Sierra 10.12 for OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan. It does not include all of the new features available in macOS Sierra, like Apple Pay on the web and picture-in-picture support for videos, but the update includes the following new functions:
- Web Inspector Timelines Tab
- New Bookmarks sidebar, including double-click to focus in on a folder
- Debugging using Web Inspector
- Safari Extensions such as 1Password, Save to Pocket, and DuckDuckGo
- Allow reopening of recently closed tabs through the History menu, holding the "+" button in the tab bar, and using Shift-Command-T
- Improved AutoFill from Contacts card
- Reader improvements, including in-line sub-headlines, bylines, and publish dates
- Legacy plug-ins are turned off by default in favor of HTML5 versions of websites
- Site-specific zoom: Safari remembers and re-applies your zoom level to websites
- Improved ranking of Frequently Visited Sites
- Redesigned Bookmarks and History views
- When a link opens in a new tab, it is now possible to hit the back button or swipe to close it and go back to the original tab
Safari 10 also includes a number of security updates, including fixes for six WebKit vulnerabilities and issues related to Reader and Tabs. First version of safari 10 was released in September 20, 2016 and last version 10.1.2 was released on July 19, 2017.
1.14. History and development Safari 11
Safari 11 was released as a part of macOS High Sierra but was also made available for OS X El Capitan and macOS Sierra on September 19, 2017. Safari 11 included several new features such as Intelligent Tracking Prevention which aims to prevent cross-site tracking by placing limitations on cookies and other website data.
1.15. History and development Safari 12
Safari 12 was released in the lead up to macOS Mojave but was also made available for macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra on September 17, 2018. Safari 12 includes several new features such as Icons in tabs, Automatic Strong Passwords, and Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0. An updated Safari version 12.0.1 was released on October 30, 2018 as part of MacOS Mojave 10.14.1 release, and Safari 12.0.2 was released on December 5, 2018, alongside macOS 10.14.2.
Support for developer-signed classic Safari Extensions has been dropped. This version will also be the last one that supports the official Extensions Gallery, and Apple encourages extension authors to switch to Safari App Extensions. This move triggered negative feedback in the community.
1.16. History and development Safari 13
Safari 13 was announced alongside macOS Catalina at WWDC 2019 on June 3, 2019. Safari 13 includes several new features such as prompting users to change weak passwords, FIDO2 USB security key authentication support, Sign in with Apple support, Apple Pay on the Web support, and increased speed and security. Safari 13 was released on September 20, 2019 on macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra.
1.17. History and development Safari Technology Preview
Safari Technology Preview was first released alongside OS X El Capitan 10.11.4. Safari Technology Preview releases include the latest version of WebKit, incorporating Web technologies to be incorporated in future stable releases of Safari, so that developers and users can install the Technology Preview release on a Mac, test those features, and provide feedback.
2. Other features
Until Safari 6.0, it included a built-in web feed aggregator that supported the RSS and Atom standards. Current features include Private Browsing a mode in which no record of information about the users web activity is retained by the browser, an "Ask websites not to track me" privacy setting, the ability to archive web content in WebArchive format, the ability to email complete web pages directly from a browser menu, the ability to search bookmarks, and the ability to share tabs between all Mac and iOS devices running appropriate versions of software via an iCloud account.
2.1. Other features iOS-specific features
iOS-specific features for Safari enable:
- Support for HTML5 new input types.
- MDI-style browsing.
- Bookmarking links to particular pages as "Web Clip" icons on the Home screen.
- Pressing on an image for 3 seconds to save it to the photo album.
- Opening specially designed pages in full-screen mode.
2.2. Other features iOS 4.3
2.3. Other features New in iOS 5
- Reading List, a bookmarking feature that allows tagging of certain sites for reading later, which syncs across all Safari browsers mobile and desktop via Apples iCloud service.
- Private browsing, like in most desktop browsers a feature that does not save the users cookies and history, or allow anything to be written into local storage or webSql databases.
- Reader, a reading feature that can format text and images from a web page into a more readable format, similar to a PDF document, while stripping out web advertising and superfluous information.
- True tabbed browsing, similar to the desktop experience, only for iPads.
2.4. Other features New in iOS 6
- Offline Reading Lists allow users to read pages stored previously without remaining connected to the internet.
- iCloud Tabs, linking the desktop and iOS versions of Safari.
- Full-screen landscape view for iPhone and iPod touch users hides most of the Safari controls except back and forward buttons and the status bar when in landscape mode.
2.5. Other features New in iOS 7
- Tab limit increased from 9 to 36
- Do Not Track
- New Tab view iPhone and iPod touch only
- Parental controls
- Shared Links
- New icon
- Password Generator: When creating a new account, Safari can suggest the user a long, more secure, hard to guess password and Safari will also automatically remember the password.
- 64-bit build on supported devices using the A7 processor.
- Sync Bookmarks with Google Chrome and Firefox on Windows.
- Unified smart search field
- iCloud Keychain: iCloud can remember passwords, account names and credit card numbers. Safari can also autofill them as well. Requires devices that run iOS 7.0.3 and later and OS X Mavericks or later.
2.6. Other features New in iOS 8
- Option to Request the desktop site while entering in a web address.
- RSS feeds in Shared Links.
- The Tab view from iPhone is now available on iPads.
- Improved, iPad-like interface available on select iPhones in landscape view.
- Bookmark icon updated.
- New Sidebar that slides out to reveal bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links on iPads and select iPhones in landscape view.
- DuckDuckGo support.
- Hold the "+" new tab button in tab view to list recently closed tabs is now available on iPhone.
- Spotlight Search is now available from Safaris address bar.
- A search function to search through all open tabs has been added in Tab view on iPad and select iPhones.
- Private browsing per tab.
- APNG support.
- Can delete individual items from History.
- WebGL support.
- Option to" Scan Credit Card” when filling out credit card info on a web form.
- Swipe to close iCloud tabs from other devices.
- Address bar now hides when scrolling down on iPads.
- Two-finger pinch to reveal Tab view on iPads and select iPhones.
- Option to add website to Favorites while entering in a web address.
- Safari now blocks ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction.
2.7. Other features New in iOS 9
- The option to add content blocking extensions is available to block specific web content.
- Improved reader view, allowing the user to choose from different fonts and themes as well as hiding the controls
- Safari view controller can be used to display web content from within an app, sharing cookies and other website data with Safari.
2.8. Other features New in iOS 10
- View two pages at once using Split View in Safari on iPad
- Apple Pay in Safari
2.9. Other features New in iOS 11
- Modified scrolling speed and momentum
- More rounded search bar
- Redesigned video player
2.10. Other features New in iOS 12
- Auto-fill of 2FA code sent by email
- Support for stronger password suggestion
- Support for auto-fill from third-party provider
- Third-party can suggest strong password
2.11. Other features WebKit2
WebKit2 has a multiprocess API for WebKit, where the web-content is handled by a separate process than the application using WebKit. Apple announced WebKit2 in April 2010. Safari for OS X switched to the new API with version 5.1. Safari for iOS switched to WebKit2 with iOS 8.
3.1. Security Plugins
Apple maintains a plugin blacklist that it can remotely update to prevent potentially dangerous or vulnerable plug-ins from running on Safari. Initially, Apple had blocked versions of Flash and Java, but since Safari 12 support for NPAPI plugins except for Flash have been completely dropped.
3.2. Security License
The license has common terms against reverse engineering, copying and sub-licensing, except parts that are open source, and it disclaims warranties and liability.
Apple tracks use of the browser. Windows users may not opt out of tracking, since their license omits the opening If clause. Other users may opt out, and all users can opt out of location tracking by not using location services. "If you choose to allow diagnostic and usage collection, you agree that Apple and its subsidiaries and agents may collect. usage and related information. to provide. services to you if any related to the Apple Software. in a form that does not personally identify you. Apple may also provide any such partner or third party developer with a subset of diagnostic information that is relevant to that partner’s or developer’s software. Apple and its partners, licensees, third party developers and website may transmit, collect, maintain, process and use your location data. and location search queries. in a form that does not personally identify you. You may withdraw this consent at any time."
Apple thinks "personal" does not cover "unique device identifiers" such as serial number, cookie number, or IP address, so they use these where allowed by law. "We may collect, use, transfer, and disclose non-personal information for any purpose. The following are some examples of non-personal information that we collect. unique device identifier. We treat information collected by cookies and other technologies as non‑personal information. However, to the extent that Internet Protocol IP addresses or similar identifiers are considered personal information by local law, we also treat these identifiers as personal information."
In September 2017 Apple announced that it will use artificial intelligence AI to reduce the ability of advertisers to track Safari users as they browse the web. Cookies used for tracking will be allowed for 24 hours, then disabled, unless AI judges the user wants the cookie. Major advertising groups objected, saying it will reduce the free services supported by advertising, while other experts praised the change.
3.3. Security Browser exploits
An overview and detailed information about Safari exploits is listed by CVE Details.
In the PWN2OWN contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, an exploit of Safari caused Mac OS X to be the first OS to fall in a hacking competition. Participants competed to find a way to read the contents of a file located on the users desktop in one of three operating systems: Mac OS X Leopard, Windows Vista SP1, and Ubuntu 7.10. On the second day of the contest, when users were allowed to physically interact with the computers the prior day permitted only network attacks, Charlie Miller compromised Mac OS X through an unpatched vulnerability of the PCRE library used by Safari. Miller was aware of the flaw before the conference and worked to exploit it unannounced, as is the common approach in these contests. The exploited vulnerability and other flaws were patched in Safari 3.1.1.
In the 2009 PWN2OWN contest, Charlie Miller performed another exploit of Safari to hack into a Mac. Miller again acknowledged that he knew about the security flaw before the competition and had done considerable research and preparation work on the exploit. Apple released a patch for this exploit and others on May 12, 2009 with Safari 3.2.3.
4. System requirements
Safari 6.0 requires a Mac running Mac OS X v10.7.4 or later. Safari 5.1.7 requires a Mac running Mac OS X v10.6.8 or any PC running Windows XP Service Pack 2 or later, Windows Vista, or Windows 7. Safari 5.0.6 requires a Mac running on Mac OS X 10.5.8.
The version of Safari included in Mac OS X v10.6 and later versions is compiled for 64-bit architecture. Apple claims that running Safari in 64-bit mode will increase rendering speeds by up to 50%.
On 64-bit devices, iOS and its stock apps are 64-bit builds including Safari.
5.1. Criticism Distribution through Apple Software Update
An earlier version of Apple Software Update selected Safari for installation from a list of Apple programs to download by default, even when an existing installation of Safari was not detected on a users machine. John Lilly, former CEO of Mozilla, stated that Apples use of its updating software to promote its other products was "a bad practice and should stop." He argued that the practice "borders on malware distribution practices" and "undermines the trust that were all trying to build with users." Apple spokesman Bill Evans sidestepped Lillys statement, saying that Apple was only "using Software Update to make it easy and convenient for both Mac and Windows users to get the latest Safari update from Apple." Apple also released a new version of Apple Software Update that puts new software in its own section, though still selected for installation by default. By late 2008, Apple Software Update no longer selected new installation items in the new software section by default.
5.2. Criticism Security updates for Snow Leopard and Windows platforms
Software security firm Sophos detailed how Snow Leopard and Windows users were not supported by the Safari 6 release at the time, while there were over 121 vulnerabilities left unpatched on those platforms. Since then, Snow Leopard has had only three minor version releases the most recent in September 2013, and Windows has had none. While no official word has been released by Apple, the indication is that these are the final versions available for these operating systems, and both retain significant security issues.
5.3. Criticism Failure to adopt modern standards
While Safari pioneered several now standard HTML5 features such as the Canvas API in its early years, it has come under attack for failing to keep pace with some modern web technologies. In the past, Apple did not allow third party web browsers under iOS, but since the 2015 opening of iOS to 3rd party web browsers, there are plenty of web browsers available for iOS, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge. However, due to Apple developers policies, browsers like Firefox for iOS needed to change its internal browser engine from Gecko to WebKit. There are ongoing lawsuits in France related with Apple policies for developers.
5.4. Criticism Intentionally limiting ad blockers and tracking protection
Beginning in 2018, Apple made technical changes to Safaris content blocking functionality which prompted backlash from users and developers of ad blocking extensions, who said the changes made it impossible to offer a similar level of user protection found in other browsers. Internally, the update limited the number of blocking rules which could be applied by third-party extensions, preventing the full implementation of community-developed blocklists. In response, several developers of popular ad and tracking blockers announced their products were being discontinued, as they were now incompatible with Safaris newly-limited content blocking features. As a matter of policy, Apple requires the use of WebKit, Safaris underlying rendering engine, in all browsers developed for its iOS platform, preventing users from installing any competing product which offers full ad blocking functionality. Beginning with Safari 13, popular extensions such as UBlock Origin will no longer work.
6. Safari Developer Program
The Safari Developer Program was a free program for writers of extensions and HTML5 websites. It allowed members to develop extensions for Apples Safari web browser. Since WWDC 2015 it is part of the unified Apple Developer Program, which costs $99 a year.