Surfing with Safari
Silence noisy sites, stream online video to Apple TV, pin open important sites and much more!
We spend more time in Safari than most other apps, so it’s fitting that Apple’s web browser has received more new features than other app in El Capitan.
Probably the most welcome addition is the ability to mute the audio content from a website. Sites are increasingly auto-playing video and having the accompanying audio (usually an advert) blasting out from your Mac is excruciatingly annoying. Any tab that is playing audio displays a blue speaker icon in the Smart Search field – filled in when the audio is coming from the current tab, and an outline when it’s from another tab. 39> Click this blue icon and the sound from the current tab will be muted. Hold å when clicking it to mute all other tabs. Be aware that muting audio does not stop the video portion playing.
40> If you have multiple tabs open, a small black audio icon appears on the right-hand side of any that’s playing audio. Clicking one of these mutes that specific tab, or you can hold å while clicking to mute all other tabs.
41> Hold ≈ and click a tab’s speaker icon to see the same options to mute that tab/others, and the titles of all tabs that are playing audio;
42> you can click one of these titles to jump straight to that tab.
Safari goes further in improving how you interact with online media. AirPlay Video lets you stream video content to an Apple TV without having to mirror the whole of your Mac’s display. 43> Compatible video on a website displays an AirPlay icon to the right of its volume control. Clicking this lists AirPlay video receivers on your network and selecting one (typically an Apple TV) sends the video directly to your television.
Safari’s Reader feature, which presents a clean view of only the text and images that are the real content of a page, offers presentation settings beyond resizable text. 44> Open Reader by clicking the paragraph icon at the left of the Smart Search field when viewing a suitable page, then click the AA icon on the field’s right side to open Reader’s appearance settings, which include four background colours (white, sepia, grey and black), eight fonts, and the old font size adjustment options.
Pinned Sites gives you quick access to sites you use often. 45> Pinning a site couldn’t be easier: choose Window > Pin Tab, or click on a tab’s title and drag it to the left of the tab, or
≈- click a tab and choose Pin Tab. The tab becomes a small square on the left side of the tab bar, showing only a site icon. They remain open when you close and reopen Safari, and the sites in them run in the background, so you’ll hear sounds such as message alerts.
Some of Safari’s keyboard shortcuts have changed. Previously, ç+1, ç+2 and so on opened bookmarks from corresponding positions in the Favorites Bar. 46> These shortcuts now switch between tabs you have open, including pinned ones. 47> Now, also holding down å loads an item from the Favorites Bar (even if the bar is hidden).
48> These two sets of shortcuts can be reversed by turning off ‘Use ç- 1 through ç- 9 to switch tabs’ in Safari > Preferences > Tabs.
49> Extensions now require developers to be part of the paid-for Apple Developer program, the upsides being that their code must be signed by Apple for security, and they can update themselves as long as Safari > Preferences > Extensions > Automatically update… is enabled.
Compatible web videos can be streamed to an Apple TV without mirroring the whole of your Mac’s display
At long last, Safari catches up with other browsers with the inclusion of speaker icons in its Smart Search field and on tabs that enable you to mute sites that are making a racket in the background.
Reader is more flexible than before in how pages are presented, offering you a choice of page colours and fonts in addition to an adjustable text size.