Extensions continue to play a key part in adding third-party functionality to Safari. They’re often great ways to boost productivity, security, and privacy to a rather barebones browsing experience. But with the hundreds of Safari extensions available across different devices, it can feel overwhelming. Here’s a list of my top picks.
PiPifier – Picture-in-Picture for any video
PiPifier is a native Safari extension that lets you view any HTML5 video as a PiP (Picture-in-Picture). With the extension installed, you must pull up a video (YouTube, Twitch, Netflix, etc.), and click the Pipifier icon on the toolbar.
Overall, PiPifier brings a familiar experience we’re used to on iPhone and iPad, as a pretty smooth workaround for PiP videos. I’ve yet to run into a video that wasn’t compatible, though sometimes it can take a few minutes for the button to light up (become available) on larger files, such as movies.
Compatibility: Mac (macOS 10.12 or later)
StopTheMadness – Take back your web browser
StopTheMadness is likely the most capable and quirky extension on this list. Notability, it overrides websites’ attempts to lock out browser features such as ⌘-key keyboard shortcuts, drag and drop, AutoFill of usernames, passwords, and emails, selecting the text, and the list goes on.
It also removes tracking tags such as utm_source from URLs and prevents clickjacking in Gmail, Facebook, and others.
One of my favorite features is its ability to stop URL shorteners. StopTheMadness checks the links you click in Safari for well-known link shorteners like bit.ly and tinyurl.com, and loads the unshortened destination instead of the shortened URL. This occurs without the extension using cookies or site data; therefore, your click can’t be tracked.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac (macOS 10.12 or later)
DuckDuckGo – Real-time website privacy grades
It’s no secret that Apple continues to beef up its privacy and tracking game. So much so that one might ask if extensions like DuckDuckGo are still needed. The company continues to be one of the leading players in the realm of private browsing, and its Safari extension is a cherry on top.
Not only does DuckDuckGo’s extension provide another layer of privacy protection when browsing, but also packs a unique feature called Privacy Grade. A real-time indicator that appears in the Safari toolbar and gives you insights into the privacy practices of websites you visit. I personally love having this privacy grade available at a glance for the sake of transparency.
Compatibility: Mac (macOS 11 or later)
Grammarly – I can’t imagine life before
With a rapidly growing user base of over 30 million daily active users, this extension needs no introduction. Grammarly is one of those applications that you install and can’t imagine life without.
When installed, virtually anywhere you write text in Safari, you’ll see the Grammarly icon in the bottom or upper right, giving you real-time feedback. Helping with spelling, grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, tone, and clarity, it’s a win for anyone with a keyboard.
Compatibility: Mac (macOS 10.12.4 or later)
1Password – Cheap and great for OTPs too!
1Password is also one that you may be familiar with. It’s arguably the best password manager around, with a handy Safari extension to quickly access existing passwords in your vault or even create new ones on the fly. You can also store software licenses and other vital info as well.
As a cybersecurity major, I can say 1Password’s security is good – really good. Of course, the most secure way to store passwords is nowhere at all, but end-to-end 256-bit AES encryption, AES-GCM-256 authenticated encryption, and PBKDF2 for password hashing are everything I could ask for in a password manager.
Price: 14-day free trial, $2.99/monthly
Compatibility: Mac (macOS 10.12.6 or later)
Keyword Search – Search sites with just a keyword
Keyword Search is a game-changing time saver. The Safari extension allows you to set up direct searches with any search engine by using a phrase as simple as typing “a.”
I set up the letter “a” in the demo below to direct me to AirPods on Amazon. It’s as easy as opening the Keyword Search extension in Safari, entering a destination URL and a hot phrase. Others I have are “news,” directing me to CNN through DuckDuckGo, and “space,” taking me to 9to5Mac’s sister site, Space Explored.
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac (macOS 11.0 or later)
Momentum – Focus and inspiration start pages
Momentum replaces the boring grey start pages that Safari gives you, with an inspiring dashboard featuring weather updates, motivational quotes, to-do lists, and beautiful wallpaper. I’ve been using Momentum for the past few months, and it can be a great feel-good mood and productivity booster in those early mornings.
Some key features include:
- Ability to set daily a goal/focus/intention
- Quick weather and forecast info
- Motivational quotes
- Setting your uptime and downtime with Balance mode
- Creating and managing tasks with a built-in to-do list
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod touch, iPad, and Mac (macOS 10.12 or later)
The Wayback Machine is a non-profit initiative that has set out to archive the Internet. Visitors can type in a URL, select a date range, and then begin surfing on an archived version of that site from virtually any point in time.
The Safari extension allows you to do everything the main site does without leaving your current window. You can also screenshot, archive, and directly share pages with it.
Wayback Machine is ultimately just a fun way to kill time by going back and seeing how a website has changed over the years.
Compatibility: Mac (macOS 10.14 or later)
These are just some of the best Safari extensions out there so far this year, but I couldn’t conclude the list without a few honorable mentions, such as AdBlocker Pro, Tweaks for Twitter, and Step Two.
Do you have a favorite extension, not on this list? Let us know in the comments.
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