Browsers are a dime a dozen; sometimes much less. The most used browsers on planet earth and in the Apple ecosphere can be counted on one hand. For Windows PCs, think Google Chrome, Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and then a long tail of also-rans. For the Mac, it’s Safari, Chrome, Firefox, sometimes Opera (love the built-in VPN), and another long tail of also-rans.
On mobile devices it’s a two-horse race between Google’s Chrome on Android and Apple’s Safari on iPhone. Every other browser is in a tie for obscurity.
Personally, I bounce between browsers on my Mac, but less often on iPhone and iPad, where Safari rules usage marketshare. The new Firefox is the fastest browser I’ve ever used; so fast at times, that the web pages from AppleVillager sites load before the CSS file can be rendered. That’s fast. Firefox and Chrome have plenty of extensions, or add-ons, which bring specific functionality not found in the browser itself.
Again, choice rules because the extensions I use are available on all three major Mac browsers.
Open Safari, select Preferences in the File menu, and you’ll see the Extensions icon. Safari on my Mac has these installed (and most are installed on Chrome and Firefox, too):
- 1Password – I have many sites to visit and this makes login easy and fast
- Ghostery – Yes, I block ads, but I track ads and trackers on websites I visit
- Enpass – it’s like 1Password Lite; I use it, too, because subscriptions
- AdBlock Plus – not all blockers are created equal
- RSS Menu – a quick way to grab RSS subscription feed links
- Grammarly – my spelling is better than my grammar
- Instapaper – collects articles for business (Pocket is used for personal items)
- 1Blocker – you can never have enough ad blockers and tracker blockers.
- LastPass – you can never have enough password managers
Where do you get extensions for Safari? Apple has an Extensions website with a long list of popular extensions (and some not so popular). Many of those have counterparts for Chrome and Firefox. Click to visit Safari Extensions for more.
The Mac App Store seems to have become something of a graveyard for applications. Before you download an app on the Mac App Store, make sure to check the date of the last update. If it was more than six months ago, don’t bother to spend the money. Apps with old update dates are mostly abandonware– not enough paying customers to keep the updates flowing.
That said, there are Safari Extensions on the Mac App Store. I count slightly over two dozen extensions, some of which I’ve tried, and most of them have been updated within the past few months. Relative to all the Safari extensions available, the Mac App Store bunch looks lonely.
The most notable difference between extensions on Apple’s website vs. those in the Mac App Store is the price tag. Nominal to zero for those on Apple’s website, whereas many on the App Store have price tags.
Remember to choose wisely because extensions can gang up on Safari and cause performance problems.