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Safari (web browser)

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Safari
Apple Safari 14.0 Icon
Safari 15.png
Safari 15 running on macOS Monterey
Developer(s)Apple Inc.
Initial releaseJanuary 7, 2003; 18 years ago (2003-01-07)
Stable release(s)
macOS15.0[1][2] Edit this on Wikidata / 20 September 2021
iOS15.0[1][2] Edit this on Wikidata / 20 September 2021
Preview release(s)
macOSTechnology Preview 134[3][4] Edit this on Wikidata / 27 October 2021
Written inC++,[5] Objective-C and Swift[6]
EnginesWebKit, Nitro
Operating systemmacOS[7]
iOS[8]
iPadOS[8]
Windows (2007–2012)[9]
TypeWeb browser
LicenseFreeware; some components GNU LGPL
Websitewww.apple.com/safari/

Safari is a graphical web browser that is developed by Apple. It is primarily based on open-source software properties, and mainly WebKit. It succeeded Netscape Navigator, Cyberdog and the most recent Internet Explorer for Mac as the default web browser for Macintosh computers. It is supported on macOS, iOS, and iPadOS; a Windows version was offered from 2007 to 2010.

Safari was introduced within the Mac OS X Panther in January 2003, and as of 2021, spawned a total of 15 revisions. The third generation (January 2007) brought compatibility to the iPhone via iPhone OS 1, while the Macintosh edition was topped with the fastest browser performance at that time. The fifth version (June 2010) made uses of a less distracted screen reader, extension and developer tools; it was also the final version for Windows. In the eleventh version (September 2017), it added supports for the Intelligent Tracking Prevention. The thirteenth version included various privacy and application updates such as the FIDO2 USB security key authentication and Web Apple Pay support. The fourteenth version (November 2020) was the most-previous revision of Safari. The 2020 version was 50% faster than Google Chrome, and it consumed less battery than other standard competitors. The fifteenth version (July 2021) was the current revision, featuring a redesigned interface.

Apple used a remotely updated plug-in blacklist license to prevent potentially dangerous or vulnerable plugins from running on Safari. In the Pwn2Own contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference, Safari caused Mac OS X to be the first OS to fall in a hacking competition. It received critical criticisms for its software distribution, Window security updates, modernized failure, and its deliberate limitation in ad blockers and tracking protection. Safari Developer Program which granted members the privilege to develop extensions for the browser was available for $USD 99 per year. As of September 2021, it was ranked as the second most-used web browser after Google Chrome, with an approximate 18.43% of market share worldwide, and 38.88% in the US.

History and development[edit]

Pictured from left to right: Netscape Navigator, Cyberdog and Internet Explorer for Mac were the predecessors of Safari.

Prior to 1997, Apple's Macintosh computers were shipped with the browsers Netscape Navigator and Cyberdog. It was later replaced by Microsoft's Internet Explorer for Mac within Mac OS 8.1 under the five-year agreement between by Apple and Microsoft.[10] In these periods, Microsoft announced three major revisions of Internet Explorer for Mac which were used by Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9, though Apple continued to support Netscape Navigator as an alternative. In May 2000, Microsoft ultimately released a Mac OS X edition of Internet Explorer for Mac, which was bundled as the default browser in all Mac OS X releases from Mac OS X DP4 to Mac OS X v10.2.[11] Before the name Safari, a couple of others were drafted including the title 'Freedom'. For over a year, it was privately referred to as 'Alexander', which means strings in coding formats; and 'iBrowse' prior to Safari was conceived.[12]

Safari 1[edit]

On January 7, 2003, at Macworld San Francisco, Apple CEO Steve Jobs announced Safari that was based on[13] the company's internal KHTML rendering engine fork WebKit.[14] 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.[15][16] 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.[17]

Safari 2[edit]

In April 2005, Engineer Dave Hyatt fixed several bugs in Safari. His experiment beta passed the Acid2 rendering test on April 27, 2005, marking it the first browser to do so.[18][19] Safari 2.0 which was released on April 29, 2005, was the sole browser Mac OS X 10.4 offered by default. Apple touted this version as it was capable of running a 1.8x speed boost compared to version 1.2.4 but it did not yet featured the Acid2 bug fixes. These major changes were initially unavailable for end-users unless they privately installed and compiled the WebKit source code or ran one of the nightly automated builds available at OpenDarwin. In version 2.0.2, released on October 31, 2005, it had finally included modifications on Acid2 bug fixes.[20]

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 WebCore and 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.[21] 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 layout and CPU usage issues among other improvements.[22]

Safari 3[edit]

Safari 3.1 interface on display
Safari 3.1 (pictured) fixed several security bugs including a zero day exploit

On January 9, 2007, at Macworld San Francisco, Jobs unveiled that Safari was ported to the newly-introduced iPhone within iPhone OS (later called iOS).[23][24] The mobile version was capable of displaying full, desktop-class websites.[25] At WWDC 2007, Jobs announced Safari 3 for Mac OS X 10.5, Windows XP, and Windows Vista. He ran a benchmark based on the iBench browser test suite comparing the most popular Windows browsers to the browser, and claimed that Safari had the fastest performance.[26] His claim was later examined by a third-party site called Web Performance over HTTP load times. They verified that Safari 3 was indeed the fastest browser on the Windows platform in terms of initial data loading over the Internet, though it was only negligibly faster than Internet Explorer 7 and Mozilla Firefox when it came to static content from the local cache.[27][28]

The initial Safari 3 beta version for Windows, released on the same day as its announcement at WWDC 2007, contained several bugs[29] and a 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.[30] 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.[31] 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.[32] The version number of Safari as reported in its user agent string is 3.0 was in line along with the contemporary desktop editions.[33]

The first stable, non-beta version of Safari for Windows, Safari 3.1,[34] was offered as a free download on March 18, 2008. In June 2008, Apple released version 3.1.2,[35][36] 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.[37] Safari 3.2, released on November 13, 2008, introduced anti-phishing features using Google Safe Browsing and Extended Validation Certificate support.[38] The final version of Safari 3 was version 3.2.3, which was released on May 12, 2009, with security improvements.[39]

Safari 4[edit]

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 11, 2008. It was the first version that had completely passed the Acid3 rendering test.[40] 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.[41] A public beta of Safari 4 was experimented in February 24, 2009.[42]

Safari 4 relied on Cover Flow to run the History and Bookmarks, and it featured Speculative Loading that automatically pre-loaded document informations which were required to visit a particular website. The top sites can displayed up to 24 thumbnails based on the frequently visited sites in startup. The desktop version of Safari 4 made uses of 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 managements, SQL supports, 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.[43][44]

Safari 4.0.1 was released for Mac on June 17, 2009, and fixed Faces bugs in iPhoto '09.[45] Safari 4 in Mac OS X v10.6 "Snow Leopard" has built-in 64-bit support, which maked JavaScript load up to 50% faster. It also has native crash resistances that would maintain it intact if a plugin like Flash player crashes, though other tabs or windows would not be affected.[46][47] 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.[48]

Safari 5[edit]

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

Safari 5 was released on June 7, 2010, and was the final version (version 5.1.7) for Windows.[49] It featured a less distractive screen reader,[50] 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 manual set it in the Debug menu.[51]

Apple exclusively released Safari 4.1 concurrently with Safari 5 for Mac OS X Tiger. It made uses many features that were found in Safari 5, though it excluded the Safari Reader and Safari Extensions. Apple released Safari 5.1 for both Windows and Mac on July 20, 2011, within Mac OS X 10.7 Lion, which had a faster performance to the addition of 'Reading List'. The company simultaneously announced Safari 5.0.6 in late June 2010 within Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard, though the new functions were excluded from Leopard users.[52]

Several HTML5 features become compatible within Safari 5. It added supports for full-screen video, closed caption, geolocation, EventSource, and a now obsolete early variant of the WebSocket protocol.[53] The fifth major version of Safari added supports for Full-text search, and a new search engine, Bing.[53] Safari 5 supported Reader, which displays web pages in a continuous view, without advertisements.[54] 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.[53] 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.[55] Safari 5 supports Extensions, add-ons that customize the web browsing experience. Extensions are built using web standards such as HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript.[56]

Safari 6[edit]

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 in WWDC 2012. The stable release of Safari 6 coincided with the release of OS X Mountain Lion on July 25, 2012, and was integrated within OS.[57] As a result, it was no longer available for download from Apple's website or any other sources. Apple released Safari 6 via Software Update for users of OS X Lion. It was not released for OS X versions before Lion or for Windows.[58] The company later quietly removed references and links for the Windows version of Safari 5.[59] Microsoft had also removed Safari from its browser-choice page.[60]

On June 11, 2012, Apple released a developer preview of Safari 6.0 with a feature called iCloud Tabs, which syncings 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.[61] 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.[62] 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.[63] It added supports for -webkit-calc() in CSS. Additionally, various features were removed including Activity Window, 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. It instead it was replaced by the smart search field, a combination of the address bar and the search field.[63]

Safari 7[edit]

Craig Federighi demonstrating the Safari 7 interface in WWDC 2013
Craig Federighi announcing Safari 7 (pictured in projection screen) in WWDC 2013.

Safari 7 was announced at WWDC 2013, [64] 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.[65] 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.[66]

Safari 8[edit]

Safari 8 was announced at WWDC 2014 and was released within OS X Yosemite. It comprised the Javascript engine WebGL, a stronger privacy management, an improved iCloud integration, and a redesigned interface.[67] It was also faster and more efficient, with additional develop markups including 2D and 3D interactive JavaScript API WebGL, JavaScript Promises, CSS Shapes & Composting mark up, IndexedDB, Encrypted Media Extensions, and SPDY protocol.[67]

Safari 9[edit]

Safari 9 was announced in WWDC 2015 and was released within 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, as Apple required it to be upgraded to Capitan.[68]

Safari 10[edit]

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

Safari 10 was released within OS X Yosemite and OS X El Capitan on September 20, 2016.[69] 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.[70][71][72] The ut 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.[69] 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.[73]

Safari 11[edit]

Safari 11 was released within macOS High Sierra on on September 19, 2017. It was also compatible to OS X El Capitan and macOS Sierra.[74] Safari 11 included several new features such as Intelligent Tracking Prevention[75] which aimed to prevent cross-site tracking by placing limitations on cookies and other website data.[76] Intelligent Tracking Prevention allowed first-party cookies to continue track the browser history, though albeit with time limits.[77] For example, first-party cookies from ad-tech companies such as Google/Alphabet Inc., were set to expire in 24-hours after the visit.[78][77]

Safari 12[edit]

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

Safari 12 was released within macOS Mojave on September 17, 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.[79] Safari version 12.0.1 was released on October 30, 2018, within macOS Mojave 10.14.1,[80] and Safari 12.0.2 was released on December 5, 2018, under macOS 10.14.2.[81] 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 feedbacks from the community.[82]

Safari 13[edit]

Safari 13 was released within macOS Catalina 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.[83] Safari 13 was released on September 20, 2019, on macOS Mojave and macOS High Sierra.[84]

Safari 14[edit]

In June 2020 it was announced that macOS Big Sur will include Safari 14.[85] 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.[86] Safari 14 introduced partial[87] 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.[88] Support for Adobe Flash Player will also be dropped from Safari, 3 months ahead of its end-of-life.[89] 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.[90] It added Ecosia as a supported search engine.[91]

Safari 15[edit]

Safari 15 was released within macOS Monterey and was also available for macOS Big Sur and macOS Catalina on September 20, 2021.[92][93] It featured a redesigned interface and tab groups that blended better into the background. There was also a new home page and extension supports on the iOS and iPadOS editions.[94]

Safari Technology Preview[edit]

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.[95]

Safari Developer Program[edit]

The Safari Developer Program was a program dedicated for in-browser extension and HTML5 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 costed $USD 99 a year. The charges prompted frustrations from developers. Within OS X El Capitan, Apple implemented the Secure Extension Distribution to further improve its security, and it automatically update all extension in Safari Extensions Gallery.[96][97]

Other features and system requirements[edit]

Safari's Web Inspector feature displaying in macOS Big Sur
Safari's Web Inspector in macOS Big Sur

On macOS, Safari is a Cocoa application. It used Apple's WebKit for rendering web pages and running JavaScript. WebKit consisted of WebCore (based on Konqueror's KHTML engine) and JavaScriptCore (originally based on KDE's JavaScript engine, named KJS). Like KHTML and KJS, WebCore and JavaScriptCore were free software and were released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. Some Apple improvements to the KHTML code were merged back into the Konqueror project. Apple had also released some additional codes under the open source 2-clause BSD-like license.[98] The version of Safari included in Mac OS X v10.6 (and later versions) is compiled for 64-bit architecture. Apple claimed that running Safari in 64-bit mode would the increase rendering speeds by up to 50%.[99]

Until Safari 6.0, it included a built-in web feed aggregator that supported the RSS and Atom standards. Current features included Private Browsing (a mode in which the browser retains no record of information about the user's web activity),[100] 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.[101] 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.[102] Safari for OS X switched to the new API with version 5.1.[103] Safari for iOS switched to WebKit2 with iOS 8.[104][105]

Discontinued Supported
Version New features
iOS-specific features
  • Bookmarking links to particular pages as "Web Clip" icons on the Home screen.[106]
  • MDI-style browsing.[107]
  • Opening specially designed pages in full-screen mode.[108]
  • Pressing on an image for 3 seconds to save it to the photo album.[109]
  • Support for HTML5 new input types.[110]
  • Only the domain name is shown in the address bar, if not focused upon (while not actuated).[111]
  • 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, 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 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 the permission to use location,data cane, and audi
  • 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 in many third party websites
  • Tracking permission
iOS 15
  • New design[126]
  • Tab groups
  • Updated home landing page
  • Extension supports
Operating system Operating system version Latest Safari version Support
macOS Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar 1.0.3 (August 13, 2004) 2003–2004
Mac OS X 10.3 Panther 1.3.2[127] (January 11, 2006) 2003–2006
Mac OS X 10.4 Tiger 4.1.3[128] (November 18, 2010) 2005–2010
Mac OS X 10.5 Leopard 5.0.6[129] (July 20, 2011) 2007–2011
Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard 5.1.10[130] (September 12, 2013) 2009–2013
Mac OS X 10.7 Lion 6.1.6[131] (August 13, 2014) 2011–2014
OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion 6.2.8[132] (August 13, 2015) 2012–2015
OS X 10.9 Mavericks 9.1.3[133] (September 1, 2016) 2013–2016
OS X 10.10 Yosemite 10.1.2[134] (July 19, 2017) 2014–2017
OS X 10.11 El Capitan 11.1.2[135] (July 9, 2018) 2015–2018
macOS 10.12 Sierra 12.1.2[136] (July 22, 2019) 2016–2019
macOS 10.13 High Sierra 13.1.2[137] (July 15, 2020) 2017–2020
macOS 10.14 Mojave 14.1.2[138] (September 13, 2021) Since 2018
macOS 10.15 Catalina 15.0[139] (September 21, 2021) Since 2019
macOS 11 Big Sur Since 2020
macOS 12 Monterey Since 2021
Microsoft
Windows
Windows 2000 3.0.3 (August 1, 2007) Beta
Windows XP RTM, SP1 4.0.3 (August 11, 2009) 2007–2009
Windows XP SP2, SP3 5.1.7[140] (May 9, 2012) 2007–2012
Windows Vista
Windows 7 2009–2012
Windows 8 Unofficial
Windows 10
iOS iPhone OS 1 1.0.1[141] 2007–2008
iPhone OS 2 2.2[142] 2008–2010
iPhone OS 3 3.2.2[143] 2009–2011
iOS 4 4.2.1[144] 2010–2013
iOS 5 5.1.1[145][146] 2011–2013
iOS 6 6.1.6[147][148] 2012–2014
iOS 7 7.0.3[149] 2014
iOS 8 8.4.1[150] 2014–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 9 9.1[151][152] 2015–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 10 10.3.4[153] 2016–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 11 11.4.1[154] 2017–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 12 12.4.1[155] 2018–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 13 13.7[156] 2019–present (Third-party Application)
iOS 14 14.5.1[157] 2020-present
iOS 15 iOS 15[158] Current

Security[edit]

Plugins[edit]

Apple used a remotely updated plug-in blacklist to prevent potentially dangerous or vulnerable plugins from running on Safari. Initially, Flash and Java contents were blocked on some early versions of Safari. Since Safari 12 support for NPAPI plugins (except for Flash) has been completely dropped. Starting with the release of Safari 14, support for Adobe Flash Player will be dropped altogether.[89]

License[edit]

License agreement shown in Safari 4
License agreement seen in Safari 4

The license has common terms against reverse engineering, copying and sub-licensing, open-source except parts, and its warranties and liability. The permission to opt-out of tracking was limited to specific devices. For example, Windows user is restricted to run opt-out of tracking since their license omits the opening If clause.[159] All users were allowed to opt-out of location tracking by not using location services. Optionally, users can choose to enable a withdrawable diagnostic and usage collection program, which permitted Apple and its associated to collect, use manage their datas and informations under the terms that they wouldn't publicly identify them.[160]

Apple defined "personal" does not cover "unique device identifiers" such as serial number, cookie number, or IP address, so the uses of these were permitted by law.[161] 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.[162] Major advertising groups objected, saying it will reduce the free services supported by advertising, while other experts praised the change.[163]

Browser exploits[edit]

In the Pwn2Own contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, 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.[164] Miller was aware of the flaw before the conference and worked to exploit it unannounced, as is the common approach in these contests.[164] The exploited vulnerability and other flaws were patched in Safari 3.1.1.[165]

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.[166][167] Apple released a patch for this exploit and others on May 12, 2009, with Safari 3.2.3.[168]

Criticism[edit]

Distribution through Apple Software Update[edit]

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 it did not detect an existing installation of Safari on a user's machine. John Lilly, former 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."[169] 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."[170] 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.[171] By late 2008, Apple Software Update no longer selected new installation items in the new software section by default.[172]

Security updates for Snow Leopard and Windows platforms[edit]

Software security firm Sophos detailed how Snow Leopard and Windows users were not supported by the Safari 6 release at the time,[173] while there were over 121 vulnerabilities left unpatched on those platforms.[174] Since then, Snow Leopard has had only three minor version releases (the most recent in September 2013[175]), and Windows has had none.[176] 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.[177][178]

Failure to adopt modern standards[edit]

While Safari pioneered several now standard HTML5 features (such as the Canvas API) in its early years, it has come under attack[179] for failing to keep pace with some modern web technologies. Since 2015, iOS has allowed third party web browsers to be installed, including Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Edge; however, they are all forced to use the underlying WebKit browser engine, and inherit its limitations.[180][181]

Intentionally limiting ad blockers and tracking protection[edit]

Beginning in 2018, Apple made technical changes to Safari's content blocking functionality which prompted backlash from users[182] and developers[183] 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[184] 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,[185] as they were now incompatible with Safari's newly limited content blocking features. As a matter of policy, Apple requires the use of WebKit,[186] Safari's 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.[183]

Market share[edit]

Market share data for Safari
Market share data of Safari

In 2009, Safari had a market share of 3.85%.[187] It remained stable in that rank for five years with market shares of 5.56% (2010), 7.41% (2011), 10.07% (2012), and 11.77% (2013).[188][189][190] In 2014, it caught up with Firefox with a market share of 14.20%.[191][192] In 2015, Safari became the second most-used web browser worldwide after Google Chrome, and had a market share of 13.01%.[193] From 2015 to 2020, it occupied market shares of 14.02%, 14.86%, 14.69%, 17.68% and 19.25, respectively.[193][194][195][196][197][198] As of September 2021, Google Chrome continued to be the most popular browser with Safari (18.40%) following behind in second place.[199]

See also[edit]

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