Safari (web browser)
Safari on OS X Yosemite
|Initial release||January 7, 2003|
|Written in||C++, Objective-C|
|Operating system||OS X, iOS|
|License||Freeware; some components GNU LGPL|
Safari is a web browser developed by Apple Inc. and included with the OS X and iOS operating systems. First released as a public beta on January 7, 2003, on the company's OS X operating system, it became Apple's default browser beginning with Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther". Safari is also the native browser for iOS.
A version of Safari for the Microsoft Windows operating system was first released on June 11, 2007, and supported Windows XP Service Pack 2, or later, but it has been discontinued. Safari 5.1.7, released on May 9, 2012, is the last version available for Windows.
- 1 History and development
- 2 WebKit2
- 3 Features
- 4 Security
- 5 System requirements
- 6 Criticism
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
History and development
Until 1997, Apple Macintosh computers were 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 onwards, 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.
On January 7, 2003, at Macworld San Francisco, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had developed their own web browser, called Safari. It was based on Apple's internal fork of the KHTML rendering engine, called WebKit. Apple released the first beta version for OS X that day. A number of official and unofficial beta versions followed, until version 1.0 was released on June 23, 2003. Initially only available as a separate download for Mac OS X v10.2, it was included with the Mac OS X v10.3 release on October 24, 2003 as the default browser, with Internet Explorer for Mac included only as an alternative browser. 1.0.3, released on August 13, 2004 was the last version to support Mac OS X v10.2, while 1.3.2, released on January 12, 2006 was the last version to support Mac OS X v10.3. However, 10.3 received security updates through 2007.
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 v10.4. 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 not initially available 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 addresses layout and CPU usage issues, among others. Safari 2.0.4 was the last version to be released exclusively on Mac OS X until version 6 in 2012.
On June 11, 2007, at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs announced Safari 3 for Mac OS X v10.5, 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 Apple's 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 includes 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 user's desktop.
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.
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.
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 or 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.
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. 
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 user's web activity is retained by the browser), a "Ask websites not to track me" privacy setting, the ability to archive web content in WebArchive format, the ability to e-mail complete web pages directly from a browser menu, the ability to search bookmarks, and the ability to share tabs between all Macs and iOS devices running appropriate versions of software via an iCloud account.
New features in Safari 4
Beginning with Safari 4, the address bar has been completely revamped:
- 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.
- The reload/stop button is now superimposed on the right end of the address bar.
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:
- Completely passes the Acid3 standards test
- Cover Flow browsing for History and Bookmarks
- Native Windows look on Windows (Aero, Luna, Classic, etc., depending on OS and settings) with standard Windows font rendering and optional Apple font rendering
- Support for CSS image retouching effects
- Support for CSS Canvas
- Speculative loading, where Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information that are required to view a web page ahead of time
- Support for HTML5
- Top Sites, which displays up to 24 thumbnails of a user's most frequently visited pages on startup
New features in Safari 5
Safari 5 includes the following new features:
- Full-text search through the browser history
- Safari Reader, which removes formatting and ads from webpages.
- Smarter address field, where the address bar autocomplete will match against titles of web page in history or bookmarks.
- Extensions, which are add-ons that customize the web browsing experience.
- Improved support for HTML5, including full screen video, closed caption, geolocation, EventSource, and a now obsolete early variant of the WebSocket protocol.
- Improved Web Inspector.
- DNS prefetching, where Safari finds links and looks up addresses on the web page ahead of time.
- Bing search.
- Improved graphics hardware acceleration on Windows.
New features in Safari 6
Safari 6 introduced the following features, many of which are only available on OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion:
- Unified smart search field, which combines the web address and search fields, similar to Chrome's Omnibox and Firefox's Awesome Bar.
- Tab view (Mountain Lion only), which enables movement between tabs using multi-touch gestures.
- iCloud tabs (Mountain Lion only) synchronizes recent websites across OS X and iOS devices.
- Built-in sharing (Mountain Lion only) to email, Messages, Twitter and Facebook.
- Improved performance
- Support for -webkit-calc()
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.
New features in Safari 8
Safari 8 introduced the following features, available on OS X Yosemite:
- WebGL support, which allows developers to create 3D experiences that work natively in the browser.
- IndexedDB, which allows web developers to store structured data for web applications that work online or require large amounts of data to be cached client side.
- CSS Shapes and Compositing. Using CSS, websites can now easily flow text around images and geometry shapes, and perform image compositing operations on DOM elements.
- SPDY. Safari supports SPDY, an open networking protocol that websites can adopt to reduce page load latency and improve security.
- HTML5 Premium Video. Websites that provide video can now take advantage of EME to deliver encrypted, energy-efficient video in the browser
iOS-specific features for Safari enable:
- Bookmarking links to particular pages as "Web Clip" icons on the Home screen.
- MDI-style browsing (with up to 8 pages open concurrently, limited by cache storage).
- Opening specially designed pages in full-screen mode.
- Pressing on an image for 3 seconds to save it to the photo album.
- Support for HTML5 new input types.
New in iOS 4.2
New in iOS 4.3
New in iOS 5
- True tabbed browsing, similar to the desktop experience, only for iPads.
- 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.
- 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.
- Private browsing, like in most desktop browsers a feature that does not save the user's cookies and history, or allow anything to be written into local storage or webSql databases.
New in 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.
- 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.
New in iOS 7
- New logo look
- 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 8 to 36
- New Tab view (iPhone and iPod Touch only)
- Unified smart search field
- Sync Bookmarks with Google Chrome and Firefox on Windows.
Apple maintains a plugin blacklist that it can remotely update to prevent potentially dangerous or vulnerable plug-ins from running on Safari. So far, Apple has blocked versions of Flash and Java.
In the PWN2OWN contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, a successful 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 user's 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 had been aware of the flaw prior to the beginning of the conference and worked to exploit it unannounced, as is the common approach in these contests. The exploited vulnerability was patched in Safari 3.1.1, among other flaws.
In the 2009 PWN2OWN contest, Charlie Miller performed another successful exploit of Safari to hack into a Mac. Miller again acknowledged that he had advance knowledge of the security flaw prior to 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.
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 now compiled for 64-bit architecture. Apple claims that running Safari in 64-bit mode will increase rendering speeds by up to 50%.
Distribution through Apple Software Update
An earlier version of Apple Software Update (bundled with Safari, QuickTime, and iTunes for Microsoft Windows) selected Safari for installation from a list of Apple programs to download by default, even when a pre-existing installation of Safari was not detected on a user's machine. John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla, stated that Apple's 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 we're all trying to build with users." Apple spokesman Bill Evans sidestepped Lilly's 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. Apple stopped releasing Safari for Windows entirely in 2012.
Security updates for Snow Leopard and Windows platforms
|This section's factual accuracy may be compromised due to out-of-date information. (March 2013)|
Software security firm Sophos detailed in a post in their security news site how Snow Leopard and Windows users are not supported by the Safari 6 release at this time, while there are over 121 vulnerabilities left unpatched on those platforms.
- Cyberdog, Apple's OpenDoc-based Internet suite
- Internet Explorer for Mac, default web browser included in OS X before Safari
- Month of Bugs
- Safari version history
- WebKit, underlying engine of Safari and other web browsers
- United States v. Google Inc. in which the FTC alleged that Google misrepresented privacy assurances to Safari users.
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