You might be less inclined to skip Safari in favor of other browsers if you update to macOS Big Sur. Apple has revamped Safari with not just a more streamlined design, but a few much-needed features. For one, it’s simply faster — Apple is vowing that frequently used pages will load up to 50 percent faster than on Chrome in some cases. The company claims that you’ll still get solid battery life in the process, so this might be your browser of choice if you’re wringing out every last minute of possible runtime on your MacBook.
Privacy takes a step up. There’s intelligent privacy protection, and you can click a privacy monitor button to see just what Safari is allowing or blocking. You can dig into a Privacy Report if you want a detailed look at what’s happening across all the sites you visit.
Customization has been improved on multiple levels. Safari now supports the WebExtensions API, so plug-ins written for browsers like Chrome should fit right in. Extensions will be available through the Mac App Store as well. Even your starting home page has received a touch-up with content sections and a custom background.
Other tweaks? Translation is built-in, and tabs now show previews when you hover over them.
You can try the new Safari as part of the macOS Big Sur beta, either now if you’re a developer or in July in the public test. Big Sur will be widely available in the fall. Apple still faces significant hurdles to getting people to ditch Chrome, Firefox or other browsers, but what’s here might just eliminate some of the more common complaints.