Surf smarter with Safari
MacFormat UK|February 2022
Turn off trackers, fix Facebook and eliminate annoyances to make browsing better

The internet should have a sign above it that says ‘here be dragons’. Social networks follow you around the web to see where you go and what you like; advertisers use all kinds of tools to build up incredibly detailed profiles of you to sell on or use to target you with ads; and all kinds of sites use dirty tricks that make the web a whole lot less fun. But Safari gives you the tools you can use to fight back, to keep your privacy protected, and to disable the features that some websites use to make your life more difficult.

Despite impressive competition, Safari is still our everyday browser — and its privacy features are a big part of that. Unlike search engines and social networks that make their money from user data and ads, Apple makes its money from selling us systems and services — and that means Apple can afford to protect our privacy instead of mining it for money.

In this tutorial, we’ll discover the features and extensions you can use to regain control over your web adventures. Whether you want to stop ad networks from tracking you or just wish Facebook would stop filling your feed with so much unwanted stuff, we’ll show you how to get Safari just-so.

Protect your privacy online

Use the features built into Safari to keep your online surfing safe

Everywhere you go on the internet, someone is trying to track you. Apple would rather they didn’t.

Apple’s commitment to protecting your privacy isn’t just marketing. It’s clearly committed to making Safari the browser that protects your privacy in a market where many of the big names do exactly the opposite. As Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice-president of software engineering, told the European Data Protection and Privacy Conference: “The solution has to start with not collecting the data in the first place.” And as we’ll see here, Safari has been designed to make it very difficult for sites to collect data that might identify and track you.

Apple’s philosophy is simple: “Users should know when their data is being collected and shared across other apps and websites — and they should have the choice to allow that or not.”

The features we’ll show you here give you that choice, and because we’re talking about Apple they aren’t so hard to understand, find or use.

EXPLAINED… Safari’s Privacy Report

1 The tracking total

This tells you the number of different trackers Safari has prevented from tracking your online activities.

2 The sites affected

Here you’ll see what percentage of visited sites were trying to track you. Spoiler: it’s a lot…

3 The main offenders

This column shows you where the trackers were; if you click on Trackers it’ll show whose they are.

4 The scary numbers

Here’s how many trackers were active on each site you looked at. Here, MSN had 45.

HOW TO Change privacy preferences in Safari

1 Access the options

You’ll find Safari’s privacy settings in Safari > Preferences > Privacy. The most important one here is Prevent Cross-Site Tracking, which is the feature that blocks trackers that try to follow you around online.

2 Check your cookies

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