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Apple released Safari 5.1 along with Lion (Mac OS X 10.7), but it’s not only for Lion users: the 5.1 update is also for Snow Leopard (Mac OS X 10.6) machines. The Safari update is automatic with a Lion install; other users can update Safari through Apple menu > Software Update.
Safari 5.1 is not a major update by any means, but it has several additions and interface tweaks that you should know about. My favorite is the Reading List—at least, it is until further notice.
Some Safari 5.1 changes are for only Lion users because they involve Lion interface changes:
Other OS-related changes to Safari involve system-wide things such as whether you turn on scroll bars and how you change a window’s size. Also unique to Lion is Reading List integration (detailed below in “The Reading List”), which lets you add an emailed link to your reading list.
All users of Safari 5.1 can avail themselves of:
You can review the new Safari features—including many under-the-hood improvements—at http://www.apple.com/safari/features.html. But note that the page lists Safari features, including the ones introduced in Safari 5. To see what’s new in Safari 5.1, look for the little “NEW” notice next to the feature name.
When I have limited time to read a (paper) magazine, I skim the short articles and turn down the corners of pages for interesting long articles so I can easily get to them later. Safari 5.1’s Reading List lets you do an analogous procedure with Web sites that you want to go back to read when you have time.
To work with the Reading List:
All these procedures work even if you have the Reader window open (which lets you view the main “article” on a Web page without distracting buttons, other controls, and advertisements). Not all Web pages are designed with a main article that can be viewed in Reader (Wikipedia’s home page, for example); but if you’re looking at something in Reader and click something in the Reading List that can be displayed in Reader, the clicked page loads into Reader. Tip: In Lion, in Apple Mail (and purportedly other applications, although I haven’t found one yet), you can Control-click a link and choose Services > Add to Reading List from the contextual menu to—you guessed it—add the page to your Reading List.
Lion’s full-screen mode for applications is not especially effective in Safari for most users, for two reasons:
If you’re using a laptop, a maximum-width Web page window doesn’t look so bad: it presents plenty of white space on each side of the content, but that seems to me to be somewhat restful on the eyes, overall. Full-width content, however is still quite uncomfortable to read.
Here are the full-screen details:
Note that although the bookmarks bar is hidden in full-screen mode, the built-in shortcuts that access its first nine bookmarks (Command-1 through Command-9) still work.
The Downloads window is gone. Totally gone. In its place is a Downloads button at the far right of the toolbar which provides: a cute visual effect of an icon jumping from the page into the button when you click a Download button on a site; a miniature progress bar right in the button to keep you informed of the download status; and much of the functionality of the Downloads window.
Click the Downloads button (you don’t have to keep it pressed) to see a pop-over with a scrollable list of your downloads. This functions the same as the old Downloads window in these ways:
I already miss the Downloads window, which let me keep track of simultaneous downloads: the pop-over doesn’t stay open if you click in the Safari window, or on a tab, and the Downloads button doesn’t indicate the progress of multiple downloads.
Instead, we get the dubious benefit of being able to drag something right out of the Downloads pop-over list to someplace in the Finder, without having to jump to the Downloads folder first. But perhaps I think it’s dubiously beneficial because I’m on a laptop; on a large screen where you can see a Safari window and anything in the Finder, it might be handy (unless you’re in full-screen mode).
Tip: If you don’t have a Downloads button in your toolbar (mine disappeared once when I returned from full-screen mode), choose View > Customize Toolbar and drag the Downloads button from the dialog back into the toolbar.
Lion provides new gestures for Safari for users of Magic Trackpad, Magic Mouse, and later-model laptops:
Your setting in the Scroll & Zoom screen of Trackpad preferences for Scroll Direction affects which direction you have to swipe in order to move to the Previous or Next page.
Here’s a roundup of some of the smaller, though bound-to-be appreciated, changes in Safari 5.1.
New Tab Positioning
Time was—way back in Safari 5.0—that Command-clicking a link on a page added a tab for the linked page at the far right of the Tab bar. Now the new tab appears directly to the right of the current tab, which makes far more sense, since related tabs will be ganged together.
I have found, however, that this doesn’t always work, particularly with Wikipedia pages, where some Command-clicks put the new tabs to the right of the current one, and others add them to the end of Tab bar. But it works most of the time, and is very convenient.
Specify “Start” Or “Contains” for Page Searches
The Find command that searches within a page—Edit > Find (Command-F)—will highlight even partial words, so searching for ion also finds Lion. But now you can restrict an in-page search to either full or partial words.
After pressing Command-F, type your search term in the search field in the Find banner. Then, click on the magnifying glass icon in the field and select Contains or Starts With from its menu. The setting remains even if you switch pages before you do another search.
Note that Contains, of course, includes words that start with your search term, while Starts With is not restricted to whole words: lion also finds lionhearted.
Close-Window Command Unconfirmed
I started this section by referring to small “thought bound-to-be-appreciated” changes. I take it back, at least for this change, because this is the opposite of appreciated.
Previously, you’d get a confirmation dialog if you closed a window that had multiple tabs; this was a setting in Safari’s Tab preferences. It’s gone: the setting and the confirmation both.
Sure, you can use History > Reopen Last Closed Window, but why should you have to? If Safari had changed the Undo command to encompass an accidentally closed window as well as a closed tab, that would have been reasonable. But to not check with you before closing a multi-tab window? Ridiculous! Unfortunately, many users are totally unaware of the Reopen command. (That wouldn’t include you, of course, because if you’re reading this update, you thoroughly read Take Control of Safari 5 and remember every bit of it.)
Safari’s AutoFill feature is a boon to many—including me, since I do more online than in-person shopping, and repeatedly typing the same name/address/whatnot information would be a pain. But a website can access that AutoFill information as soon as it appears in the fields—before you click any Submit or Continue button. (I was unaware this until Apple explained why they added this Private AutoFill feature!)
Safari 5.1 prevents this little privacy gaffe by putting an extra layer of security in place: type something in an online form (the beginning of your first name, for instance, in a First Name field), and you’ll get a little pop-up menu with one or more suggestions as to where Safari might grab the information from (Address Book or the record of other forms you’ve filled out, for instance). Click in the menu, or press Down arrow to select something from it, and you get a pop-over showing the information that’s going to be filled in. Click the AutoFill button, or press Return to activate it, and then your information goes into the webpage form. (This may sound like a cumbersome number of clicks or steps, but it’s very smooth and quick.)
Privacy Settings in Safari Preferences
In a convenient, if perhaps hair-splitting, reorganization of Safari preferences, Safari 5.1 separates privacy-related options from security settings, which remain in the Security screen. Choose Safari > Preferences and click the Privacy icon to access options for blocking, checking, and deleting cookies, caches, and other items that can be stored on your Mac by a Web site.
Some sites want to know where you’re located, but Safari 5 gave you a way, in the Security screen, to block access to that information. In Safari 5.1, the location-revealing options are expanded and moved to the Privacy screen. Your choices are to be asked once each day by any given site, to give perpetual access or denial based on your answer to an initial request for the information (“Prompt … one time only”), or to automatically deny access to all info-seeking sites.
New “Hooks” for Extensions
You won’t see these added capabilities directly in Safari 5.1, but you’ll get their benefit when developers start using them to create extensions, because Apple has made it possible for them to hook into these features:
—Posted by Michael E. Cohen on July 26, 2011
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