Safari (web browser)

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Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseJanuary 7, 2003; 20 years ago (2003-01-07)
Stable release(s)
macOS16.5[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 18 May 2023
iOS16.5[1] Edit this on Wikidata / 18 May 2023
Written inC++, C, assembly language, Objective-C
Windows (2007–2012)[5]
TypeWeb browser
LicenseFreeware (pre-installed on Apple devices); some components (especially engine) GNU LGPL
Safari 15 on iPadOS 15

Safari is a web browser developed by Apple. It is built into Apple's operating systems, including macOS, iOS, and iPadOS, and uses Apple's open-source browser engine WebKit, which was derived from KHTML.

Safari was introduced in

security keys. Its interface was redesigned in Safari 15.


After its 1994 release Netscape Navigator rapidly became the dominant Mac browser, and eventually came bundled with Mac OS.[8] In 1996, Microsoft released Internet Explorer for Mac, and Apple released the Cyberdog internet suite, which included a web browser. In 1997, Apple shelved Cyberdog, and reached a five-year agreement with Microsoft to make IE the default browser on the Mac, starting with Mac OS 8.1. Netscape continued to be preinstalled on all Macintoshes.[8] Microsoft continued to update IE for Mac, which was ported to Mac OS X DP4 in May 2000.[9]

History and development

Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer for Mac were two predecessors of Safari.


During development, several codenames were used including "Freedom", "iBrowse" and "Alexander" (a reference to conqueror Alexander the Great, an homage to the Konqueror web browser).[10][11]

Safari 1

On January 7, 2003, at Macworld San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced Safari that was based on[12] WebKit, the company's internal fork of the KHTML browser engine.[13] Apple released the first beta version exclusively on Mac OS X the same day. Later that date, several official and unofficial beta versions followed until version 1.0 was released on June 23, 2003.[14][15] On Mac OS X v10.3, Safari was pre-installed as the system's default browser, rather than requiring a manual download, as was the case with the previous Mac OS X versions. Safari's predecessor, the Internet Explorer for Mac, was then included in 10.3 as an alternative.[16]

Safari 2

In April 2005, Engineer

OpenDarwin. Version 2.0.2, released on October 31, 2005, finally included the Acid2 bug fixes.[19]

In June 2005 in efforts of KHTML criticisms over the lack of access to change logs, Apple moved the development source code and bug tracking of

JavaScriptCore to OpenDarwin. They have also open-sourced WebKit. The source code is for non-renderer aspects of the browser such as its GUI elements and the remaining proprietary.[20] The final stable version of Safari 2 and the last version released exclusively with Mac OS X, Safari 2.0.4, was updated on January 10, 2006, for Mac OS X. It was only available within Mac OS X Update 10.4.4, and it delivered fixes to layout and CPU usage issues among other improvements.[21]

Safari 3

On January 9, 2007, at Macworld San Francisco, Jobs unveiled that Safari 3 was

Mozilla Firefox when it came to static content from the local cache.[26][27]

The initial Safari 3 beta version for Windows, released on the same day as its announcement at WWDC 2007, contained several bugs

zero day exploit that allowed remote code executions. The issues were then fixed by Apple three days later on June 14, 2007, in version 3.0.1.[29] On June 22, 2007, Apple released Safari 3.0.2 to address some bugs, performance problems, and other security issues. Safari 3.0.2 for Windows handled some fonts that were missing in the browser but already installed on Windows computers such as Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and others.[30] The iPhone was previously released on June 29, 2007, with 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.[31] The version number of Safari as reported in its user agent string is 3.0 was in line along with the contemporary desktop editions.[32]

The first stable, non-beta version of Safari for Windows, Safari 3.1,[33] was offered as a free download on March 18, 2008. In June 2008, Apple released version 3.1.2,[34][35] which addressed 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 user's desktop.[36] Safari 3.2, released on November 13, 2008, introduced anti-phishing features using Google Safe Browsing and Extended Validation Certificate support.[37] The final version of Safari 3 was version 3.2.3, which was released on May 12, 2009, with security improvements.[38]

Safari 4

Safari 4 interface on display.
Safari 4 (pictured) was the first version that had entirely passed the Acid3 rendering test.

Safari 4 was released on June 8, 2009.[39] It was the first version that had completely passed the Acid3 rendering test,[40] as well as the first version to support HTML5.[41] It incorporated WebKit JavaScript engine SquirrelFish that significantly enhanced the browser's script interpretation performances by 29.9x. SquirrelFish was later evolved to SquirrelFish Extreme, later also marketed as Nitro, which had 63.6x faster performances.[42] A public beta of Safari 4 was experimented in February 24, 2009.[43]

Safari 4 relied on Cover Flow to run the History and Bookmarks, and it featured Speculative Loading that automatically pre-loaded document information that is required to visit a particular website. The top sites can be displayed up to 24 thumbnails based on the frequently visited sites in a startup. The desktop version of Safari 4 included a redesign similar to that of the iPhone. The update also commissioned many developer tool improvements including Web Inspectors, CSS element viewings, JavaScript debuggers and profilers, offline tables, database management, SQL support and resource graphs. In additions to CSS retouching effects, CSS canvas, and HTML5 content. It replaced the initial Mac OS X-like interface with native Windows themes on Windows using native font renderings.[44][45]

Safari 4.0.1 was released for Mac on June 17, 2009, and fixed Faces bugs in

Flash player crashes, though other tabs or windows would not be affected.[47][48] Safari 4.0.4, the final version which was released on November 11, 2009, for both Mac and Windows, which further improved the JavaScript performances.[49]

Safari 5

Safari 5 interface on display.
Safari 5 (pictured) was the final supported version for Windows.

Safari 5 was released on June 7, 2010, and was the final version (version 5.1.7) for Windows.[50] It featured a less distractive reader view,[51] and had a 30x faster JavaScript performances. It incorporated numerous developer tool improvements including HTML5 interoperability, and the accessibility to secure extensions. The progress bar was re-added in this version as well. Safari 5.0.1 enabled the Extensions PrefPane by default, rather than requiring users to manually set it in the Debug menu.[52]

Apple exclusively released Safari 4.1 concurrently with Safari 5 for Mac OS X Tiger. It included many features that were found in Safari 5, though it excluded the Safari Reader and Safari Extensions.[53] Apple released Safari 5.1 for both Windows and Mac on July 20, 2011, for Mac OS X 10.7 Lion; it was faster than Safari 5.0, and included the new Reading List feature. The company simultaneously announced Safari 5.0.6 in late June 2010 for Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, though the new functions were excluded from Leopard users.

Several HTML5 features were provided in Safari 5. It added supports for full-screen video, closed caption, geolocation, EventSource, and a now obsolete early variant of the WebSocket protocol.[54] The fifth major version of Safari added supports for Full-text search, and a new search engine, Bing.[54] Safari 5 supported Reader, which displays web pages in a continuous view, without advertisements.[55] Safari 5 supported a smarter address field and DNS prefetching that automatically found links and looked up addresses on the web. New web pages loaded faster using Domain Name System (DNS) prefetching. The Windows version received an extra update on Graphic acceleration as well.[54] The blue inline progress bar was returned to the address bar; in addition to the spinning bezel and loading indicator introduced in Safari 4. Top Sites view now had a button to switch to Full History Search. Other features included Extension Builder for developers of Safari Extensions. Other changes included an improved inspector.[56] Safari 5 supports Extensions, add-ons that customize the web browsing experience. Extensions are built using web standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.[57]

Safari 6

Microsoft's browser-choice menu
Safari 6 ceased support for Windows users, and it was subsequently removed from Microsoft's browser-choice menu (pictured).

Safari 6.0 was previously referred to as Safari 5.2 until Apple changed the version number at

Software Update for users of OS X Lion. It was not released for OS X versions before Lion or for Windows.[59] The company later quietly removed references and links for the Windows version of Safari 5.[60] Microsoft had also removed Safari from its browser-choice page.[61]

On June 11, 2012, Apple released a developer preview of Safari 6.0 with a feature called iCloud Tabs, which syncs with open tabs on any iOS or other OS X device that ran the latest software. It updated 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, though it removed RSS support.[62] Safari 6 had the Share Sheets capability in OS X Mountain Lion. The Share Sheet options were: Add to Reading List, Add Bookmark, Email this Page, Message, Twitter, and Facebook. Tabs with full-page previews were added, too.[63] The sixth major version of Safari, it added options to allow pages to be shared with other users via email, Messages, Twitter, and Facebook, as well as making some minor performance improvements.[64] It added supports for -webkit-calc() in CSS. Additionally, various features were removed including Activity Window, a separate Download Window, direct support for RSS feeds in the URL field, and bookmarks. The separate search field and the address bar were also no longer available as a toolbar configuration option. Instead, it was replaced by the smart search field, a combination of the address bar and the search field.[64]

Safari 7

WWDC 2013

Safari 7 was announced at

WWDC 2013, [65] and it brought a number of JavaScript performance improvements. It made uses of Top Site and Sidebar, Shared Links, and Power Saver which paused unused plugins.[66] Safari 7 for OS X Mavericks and Safari 6.1 for Lion and Mountain Lion were all released along with OS X Mavericks in the special event on October 22, 2013.[67]

Safari 8

Safari 8 was announced at

Safari 9

Safari 9 was announced in

WWDC 2015 and was shipped with OS X El Capitan. New features included audio muting, more options for Safari Reader, and improved autofill. It was not fully available for the previous OS X Yosemite.[69]

Safari 10

Safari 10 interface on display
Safari 10 (pictured) allowed extension to be saved directly to Pocket and Dic Go.

Safari 10 was shipped with macOS Sierra and released for OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan on September 20, 2016.[70] It had a redesigned Bookmark and History views, and double-clicking will centralized focus on a particular folder. The update redirected Safari extensions to be saved directly to Pocket and Dic Go. Software improvements included Autofill quality from the Contrast card and Web Inspector Timelines Tab, in-line sub-headlines, bylines, and publish dates.[71][72][73] This version tracks and re-applies zoomed level to websites, and legacy plug-ins were disabled by default in favor of HTML5 versions of websites. Recently closed tabs can be reopened via the History menu, or by holding the "+" button in the tab bar, and using Shift-Command-T. 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. Debugging is now supported on the Web Inspector.[70] Safari 10 also includes several security updates, including fixes for six WebKit vulnerabilities and issues related to Reader and Tabs. The first version of Safari 10 was released on September 20, 2016, and the last version (10.1.2) was released on July 19, 2017.[74]

Safari 11

Safari 11 was released on September 19, 2017 for

cross-site tracking by placing limitations on cookies and other website data.[77] Intelligent Tracking Prevention allowed first-party cookies to continue track the browser history, though with time limits.[78] For example, first-party cookies from ad-tech companies such as Google/Alphabet Inc., were set to expire in 24-hours after the visit.[79][78]

Safari 12

Safari 12 with dark mode enabled
Safari 12 (pictured) in dark mode

Safari 12 was released for macOS Mojave on September 24, 2018. It was also available to macOS Sierra and macOS High Sierra on September 17, 2018. Safari 12 included several new features such as Icons in tabs, Automatic Strong Passwords, and Intelligent Tracking Prevention 2.0.[80] Safari version 12.0.1 was released on October 30, 2018, within macOS Mojave 10.14.1,[81] and Safari 12.0.2 was released on December 5, 2018, under macOS 10.14.2.[82] Support for developer-signed classic Safari Extensions has been dropped. This version would also be the last that supported the official Extensions Gallery. Apple also encouraged extension authors to switch to Safari App Extensions, which triggered negative feedback from the community.[83]

Safari 13

Safari 13 was announced at WWDC 2019 on June 3, 2019. Safari 13 included 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.[84] Safari 13 was released on September 20, 2019, on macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra, and later shipped with macOS Catalina.[85]

Safari 14

In June 2020 it was announced that macOS Big Sur will include Safari 14.[86] According to Apple, Safari 14 is more than 50% faster than Google Chrome.[87] Safari 14 introduced new privacy features, including Privacy Report, which shows blocked content and privacy information on web pages. Users will also receive a monthly report on trackers that Safari has blocked. Extensions can also be enabled or disabled on a site-by-site basis.[88] Safari 14 introduced partial[89] support for the WebExtension API used in Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and Opera, making it easier for developers to port their extensions from those web browsers to Safari.[90] Support for Adobe Flash Player will also be dropped from Safari, 3 months ahead of its end-of-life.[91] A built-in translation service allows translation of a page to another language. Safari 14 was released as a standalone update to macOS Catalina and Mojave users on September 16, 2020.[92] It added Ecosia as a supported search engine.[93]

Safari 15

Safari 15 was released for macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina on September 20, 2021, and later shipped with macOS Monterey.[94][95] It featured a redesigned interface and tab groups that blended better into the background. There were also a new home page and extension supports on the iOS and iPadOS editions. Starting this update, Safari versions would support iOS and iPadOS, ending the iOS version of separate updates.[96]

Safari 16

Safari 16 was released for iOS 16, macOS Monterey and macOS Big Sur on September 12, 2022, and later shipped with macOS Ventura and iPadOS 16.[97] Safari 16 added support for non-animated AVIF[98] and contains several bug fixes and feature polishing. Safari 16 also includes shared tab groups, website settings synchronisation between devices connected to a same iCloud account, the ability to add backgrounds for a start page,[99] new languages for built-in translation, built-in image translation, new options to edit strong passwords…[100] iOS 16.4 also introduced Web Push notifications.[101][102]

Safari 17

Safari 17 was released in September 2023 with iOS 17, iPadOS 17 and macOS Sonoma. Safari 17 includes a new feature named "Profiles", that allows users to separate their browsing experience for different use cases. Every profile has a special favorites bar, navigation history, extensions, tab groups, and cookies. Just like iOS 16.4, Safari 17 introduces web apps that can be added to the dock. Cookies are copied into web apps so that users stay logged in the web app if they already are in Safari. Safari can also now read pages with a new option in the navigation bar menu. [103][104]

New privacy features include locked private browsing when not in use, tracking-free URLs, private relay based on the country’s location and time instead of general position.[103]

Safari has also been adapted to Vision Pro with a new spatial UI, and Apple has redesigned the Develop menu for web developers. [104]

Safari 17 added AV1 hardware decoding support for devices with hardware decoding support.[105]

iOS versions

Version New features
iOS-specific features
  • iOS 4
  • iOS 4.2
  • Find feature built into search box.[112]
  • Ability to print the current webpage using AirPrint.[113]
iOS 4.3
  • Integration of the Nitro JavaScript engine for faster page loads. This feature was expanded to home-screen web applications in iOS 5.0.[114]
iOS 5
  • True tabbed browsing, similar to the desktop experience, only for iPads.[115]
  • Reading List, a bookmarking feature that allows tagging of certain sites for reading later, which syncs across all Safari browsers (mobile and desktop) via Apple's iCloud service.[115]
  • 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.[115]
  • Private browsing, like in most desktop browsers, is a feature that does not save the user's cookies and history or allow anything to be written into local storage or Web SQL Databases.
iOS 6
  • iCloud Tabs, linking the desktop and iOS versions of Safari.
  • Offline Reading Lists allow users to read pages stored previously without remaining connected to the internet.[116]
  • Full-screen landscape view, for iPhone and iPod touch users, hides most of the Safari controls except the back and forward buttons and the status bar when in landscape mode.
iOS 7
  • New icon
  • 64-bit build on supported devices using the A7 processor.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Shared Links
  • Do Not Track
  • Parental controls
  • Tab limit increased from 9 to 36
  • New Tab view (iPhone and iPod touch only)
  • Unified smart search field
  • Sync Bookmarks with Google Chrome and Firefox on Windows.[117]
iOS 8
  • A search function to search through all open tabs has been added in Tab view on iPad and select iPhones[118]
  • Two-finger pinch to reveal Tab view on iPads and select iPhones
  • New Sidebar that slides out to reveal bookmarks, Reading List, and Shared Links on iPads and select iPhones in landscape view
  • Address bar now hides when scrolling down on iPads
  • Spotlight Search is now available from Safari's address bar
  • Option to "Scan Credit Card" when filling out credit card info on a web form
  • WebGL support
  • APNG support
  • Private browsing per tab
  • RSS feeds in Shared Links
  • DuckDuckGo support
  • Option to Request the desktop site while entering a web address
  • Option to add a website to Favorites while entering a web address
  • Swipe to close iCloud tabs from other devices.
  • Hold the "+" (new tab button) in tab view to list recently closed tabs is now available on iPhone
  • Can delete individual items from History
  • Safari now blocks ads from automatically redirecting to the App Store without user interaction
  • Bookmark icon updated
  • Improved, iPad-like interface available on select iPhones in landscape view
iOS 9
  • The option to add content blocking extensions is available to block specific web content[119]
  • Apps can use Safari's view controller to display web content from within the app, sharing cookies and other website data with Safari
  • Improved reader view, allowing the user to choose from different fonts and themes as well as hiding the controls
iOS 10
  • Apple Pay in Safari[120]
  • View two pages at once using Split View in Safari on iPad[121]
iOS 11
  • More rounded search bar[122]
  • Redesigned video player
  • Modified scrolling speed and momentum
iOS 12
  • Support for stronger password suggestion[123]
  • Support for auto-fill from a third-party provider
  • Third-party can suggest a strong password
  • Auto-fill of 2FA code sent by email
  • Fullscreen Support
iOS 13
  • Desktop browsing mode can be enabled by default[124]
  • Revamped Start Page
  • Website preferences (Privacy, etc.)
  • Page zoom up to 300%
  • Read view can be enabled by default
  • Toggle content blockers for all websites
  • Permission access pop up, asking for permission to use camera, audio and location data
  • Image resizing
  • Save Open tabs as Bookmarks
  • Open tabs from search
  • Automatically close tabs after a set period of time
  • Redesigned share sheet
  • Apple ID sign-in to third-party sites
  • Weak password warning
  • Improved Encryption
  • Next level Anti-Fingerprinting Protections
  • Download manager icon
iOS 14
  • Faster Javascript engine support[125]
  • Built-in translation option
  • Password Monitoring
  • Password alerts
  • Privacy and data tracking report
  • Picture in Picture mode
  • Website launch from search
  • Sign in with Apple ID on many third-party websites
  • Tracking permission
iOS 15
  • New design[126]
  • Tab groups
  • Updated home landing page
  • Extension supports

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, which included Web technologies in the 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.[127]

Safari Developer Program

The Safari Developer Program was a program dedicated to in-browser extension and HTML developers. It allowed members to write and distribute extensions for the browser through the Safari Extensions Gallery. It was initially free until it was incorporated into the Apple Developer Program in

WWDC 2015, which costs $99 a year. The charges prompted frustrations from developers.[citation needed] Within OS X El Capitan, Apple implemented the Secure Extension Distribution to further improve its security, and it automatically updated all extensions within the Safari Extensions Gallery.[128][129]