Safari gets major privacy updates and the ability to put web apps in your dock

Enhancements to Private Browsing make you harder to track and identify.


Safari might not be the most exciting part of macOS, but Apple isn't giving its web browser the cold shoulder. The latest version includes a number of useful improvements, including better privacy controls, encryption features, and the ability to create "apps" from any web page.

The splashiest feature might be the new web apps. This puts a website in your dock on macOS, just like any other app and opens it with a minimal interface that helps mask the fact that you're just using a webpage in a browser. If this sounds similar, that's because it's almost exactly like shortcuts in Google's Chrome which can also put a link, complete with a favicon in your dock and opens the site in a simple frame with none of the normal browser controls. This helps blur the line between desktop and web apps, which was part of Chrome's whole pitch, especially as it grew into Chrome OS.

The more important improvements to Safari though, are to privacy not just on macOS, but iOS 17 and iPadOS 17 as well. Now private browsing blocks more trackers and your fingerprints from sites so they can't identify you. You can also now lock private browsing sessions behind your fingerprint, so you can step away from your computer without worrying that someone can sneak a peak while you're shopping for a gift or having to close your session.

Profiles on macOS and iPadOS also allow you to separate your browsing by topic or context. So you could, for example, keep all your work tabs in a separate Safari window that has its own cookies, extensions and favorites. Then you can quickly switch to your personal profile to pick up where you left off trolling eBay for deals on vintage cameras.

Lastly, users will be able to share passwords or groups of passwords through iCloud Keychain with end-to-end encryption. The latest version of Safari will be available later this year as part of macOS Sonoma which will be launching in beta next month as well as iPad OS 17 and iOS17.

Follow all of the news from Apple's WWDC 2023 right here.