Mountain Lion is officially here and along with that launch comes Safari 6, a major update to my favorite browser. In this QuickTip we’re going to take a brief look at how to use some of the great new features.
Get to Know Safari 6
The video above will walk you through some of the new features in Safari 6, but just in case you are unable to hear or watch it, here’s a transcript.
Smart Search Field
One of the most significant changes with the new Safari is the elimination of a separate search field, which used to sit to the right of the address bar.
What we have in its place is a Chrome-like unified field that serves both as a place to enter URLs and search the web. I must admit that I was a little hesitant about having these two tasks in the same place, but Safari is actually pretty good about knowing which task I’m trying to accomplish.
I must admit that I was a little hesitant about having these two tasks in the same place, but Safari is actually pretty good about knowing which task I’m trying to accomplish.
For instance, when I begin to type “Apple”, Safari is going to jump in and autocomplete it just like it always did, giving me “apple.com” as the default result. However, under that default result I find a few search suggestions along with some selections from my history and bookmarks.
One big change though is that, if you’ve never been to a site, Safari will no longer just complete the URL for you. So if I type in “Nintendo” and hit “enter”, it used to be the case that Safari would assume that I wanted “Nintendo.com” and fill the rest in for me. Now however, this case brings up a Google search by default. If you want the previous functionality, you have to go to the bottom of the list and hit the “Go to site” command. Also notice that there’s an option in here to search the page for the word or phrase that you’ve typed.
Tabs have received a slight overhaul in Safari 6. You’ll notice right away that tabs automatically distribute their width evenly across the open space. Also, when iOS 6 rolls around this fall, we’ll be able to share tabs with our iOS devices using iCloud.
The coolest new feature that you can work with today though is Tab View. This is enabled with a pinch out gesture on your trackpad or by clicking this little button just to the right of your tabs.
This is pretty much the same tab switching view that we’ve had on the iPhone for years and I think it works just as well here on the Mac.
As you can see, this zooms out your tabs and allows you to swipe between them. This is pretty much the same tab switching view that we’ve had on the iPhone for years and I think it works just as well here on the Mac. It’s a great way to quickly browse through your open tabs.
Sharing Sheets and Reading List
Another iOS feature that has made its way to the Mac is integrated social sharing. Just to the left of the Smart Search Field is a new sharing button, which brings up options to add the current page to your Reading List, which now actually saves the page for offline viewing, or share the page through email, Messages or Twitter.
If you choose Twitter, a nice little tweet window pops up that allows you to shoot out a tweet without ever even visiting Twitter.com.
If you choose Twitter, a nice little tweet window pops up that allows you to shoot out a tweet without ever even visiting Twitter.com. As a side note, you can also fire off a quick Tweet from Notification Center now. Your Twitter account is easily set up in System Preferences with the rest of your accounts.
A full, in-depth look at the developer features of Safari is beyond the scope of this quick tip, but I will briefly mention a few important things.
First of all, the Web Inspector has been completely redesigned. What they’ve done consolidated a ton of features that used to be all spread out into one small space and added plenty of extra goodies to play with. I use the Web Inspector all the time and am quite excited about these changes.
What they’ve done consolidated a ton of features that used to be all spread out into one small space and added plenty of extra goodies to play with.
If you hit up Apple’s Developer site, you can see a full list of the new features that you’ll have access to as a developer. These include some cutting edge web technologies such as CSS filters and HTML5 web notifications.
The new Safari is faster, slicker and contains at least a few really cool goodies to get excited about. Unfortunately, the upgrade to Safari 6 might not be 100% an improvement for you. One downside that I’ve encountered is that virtually all of the extensions that I use regularly now don’t work at all. Some of these extensions are from random developers who likely won’t be updating their software quickly or at all.
Update: All of my Safari extensions have come back from the grave for no apparent reason. If you run into this issue, try restarting Safari.
*Not covered in video.
What Do You Think?
That concludes our look at Safari 6. Leave a message below and let me know what you think of it. Also feel free to ask about any nagging questions you have.
Thanks for watching! I’ll see you next time.