Safari has, over the past few years, played second fiddle to the likes of Chrome. Much like its Microsoft companion, Internet Explorer (or Edge, as it’s now called), Safari was often treated as a backup browser, with Chrome being the main browser and the one that most users tended to lean toward and install as soon as possible. However, with the Safari update included with Big Sur, Chrome’s days on the Mac may well be numbered.
The customisations fall under the new Menu Button, located in the bottom-right of the Safari window (the three horizontal lines). From here you’re able to include the contents of the Safari start page based on which boxes you tick and underneath that you can opt for a customised backdrop wallpaper to personalise your Safari start page.
The Privacy Report function informs you of the number of web trackers that have been blocked from profiling you while you browse the Internet. It details the number of trackers blocked and what the trackers are that have been blocked; so you can see which are simple Google Analytics trackers or which could be more sinister in design.
Alongside the Privacy Report, you can also view a site-by-site quick report by clicking on the shield icon next to the web address bar. This snapshot of every cross-site tracker that Safari is successfully blocking is incredibly handy and gives you peace of mind in case you suspect there’s anything untoward or different about a particular website you’re visiting.
The Tabs in Safari have been redesigned to be more visible and you can view more tabs at once. Another excellent addition is, by hovering over any of the tabs, you can get instant preview of the site. This makes it much easier to find the site you want when you have several open at once.
In addition to the aesthetic updates, Apple has given Safari a performance boost in terms of both browsing speed and device battery life. In short, the new Safari is now 50% or more faster on average at loading frequently visited sites than Chrome. Plus, battery life is estimated to last up to three hours longer when streaming videos, compared to Chrome and Firefox.
One of the first changes you’ll come across is Safari’s new start page. This alone is chock-full of updates and interesting features; with options to include favourite sites, frequently visited sites, Siri suggestions, a reading list, iCloud tabs and even a new Privacy Report.