Is Safari the most private browser for iPhone and iPad?

If there’s one app that just about everyone uses on their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, it’s a web browser. You use your browser to get information, to shop, and for entertainment. iOS devices come with Apple’s Safari browser pre-installed, but you can use a different browser if you wish. Unfortunately, on iOS you can’t set a different browser as the default, so when you tap links in emails or messages, Safari will open them—but most apps let you lightly tap-and-hold on links to copy the address so you can paste it into an alternative browser of your choice.

If you choose a different web browser, you should its consider security and privacy. Not all browsers handle your data optimally, and few are developed with privacy and security as a primary focus. In this article, I’m going to discuss the default Safari web browser for iOS, and look at some popular mobile alternatives such as Chrome, Firefox, and others.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Safari, Chrome, Firefox: Which is the most private browser for Mac?

Everyone needs a web browser, and while Safari comes pre-installed on Macs, many people choose to use a different browser. You may want to do this for compatibility reasons—there may be sites or services you use that Safari doesn’t handle correctly—or because you use a different browser at work; if you want to be able to sync bookmarks and history from your work browser to your personal browser, then it can be useful to use the same app on your computers in both locations.

But another thing to consider is web browser security and privacy. Not all browsers handle your data optimally, and few are developed with privacy and security as a primary focus. In this article, we’ll discuss the three main web browsers for macOS—Safari, Chrome, and Firefox—and look at several alternatives, from a privacy and security perspective.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 89: Browser Wars: Which Web Browser Is Best for Privacy?

Everyone uses a web browser, on their Mac and their iOS device. But there are many web browsers, and some are better designed to protect your privacy. We take a deep dive into web browsers and discuss the pros and cons of Safari, Chrome, Firefox, and a number of alternatives.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

How to Manage and Remove Browser Cookies on Mac and iOS

You’ve certainly heard the term cookie; not the kind that’s crunchy and sweet, but the kind that your web browser uses. Cookies can be useful, because they save information about you. When you revisit a website, you won’t have to log in again, because your Mac or iOS device has stored information about your session using cookies. Browser cookies can, however, be nefarious when used in certain ways.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn about browser cookies and how to manage them in every major browser on Mac and iOS. I’ll also explain what it means to delete your cookies–and why it might be a good idea to do so.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog

Intego Mac Podcast, Episode 32: Browser Cookies & Private Browsing

We talk about all those GDPR emails you’ve been receiving, mention a new Spectre-type vulnerability, and then take a deep dive into browser cookies and private browsing.

Check out the latest episode of The Intego Mac Podcast, which I co-host with Josh Long. We talk about Macs and iOS devices, and how to keep them secure.

500px, Color Profiles, File Formats and You – 500px ISO

“Color profile support has long been a tough technical challenge — and doubly so, it would seem, in the world (wide web) of browsers. There have been several advances that have made the team at 500px re-evaluate how we handle color profiles on the site.

In the past, to be the most consistent, the most widely supported, and the most space efficient, we did two things:

1. Convert any image not using an sRGB color profile to sRGB
2. Strip the color profile from the image

Why did we do these things?

The first step is fairly obvious. Until recently, most screens were sRGB calibrated, or weren’t calibrated, but were close enough to sRGB for most purposes. This meant people with wide gamut displays wouldn’t get to see the images uploaded in wide gamut profiles (Adobe RGB, ProPhoto RGB, Display-P3, etc) in their full glory, but it also meant the most people would see something close to what the photographer intended.

The second step is a little more subtle. The default sRGB color profile is about 3KB when attached to an image (we’ve also seen non-standard profiles take 20KB). For a 5KB thumbnail, that needlessly increases the file size by more than 50%. The W3C consortium states that an image without a color profile should be assumed to be sRGB, so all should be good when an sRGB image is stripped of its profile. Stripping the color profile from the image turned out to be a pretty big deal, as it saved 25-30% in data transferred, which translated into tens of thousands of dollars in bandwidth savings per month and — most importantly — drastically sped up image downloads (especially the thumbnails). Life was good… but as we know, it’s rarely easy.”

Fascinating stuff about color profiles and how they are supported (or not) in different browsers and on different platforms. I knew this stuff was confusing, but this article does make a lot of it more understandable.

FYI, I use 500px to display my photos.

Source: 500px ISO » Beautiful Photography, Incredible Stories…500px, Color Profiles, File Formats and You – 500px ISO

Stop Auto-Play Videos from Annoying You in Your Browser on macOS

Auto-play videos suck. They use bandwidth, and their annoying sounds get in the way when you’re listening to music and open a web page. I happen to write for a website that uses them, and it annoys me to no end. (My editors have no control over those auto-play videos, alas.)

But you can stop auto-play videos from playing on a Mac. If you use Chrome or Firefox, it’s pretty simple, and the plugins below work both on macOS and Windows; if you use Safari, it’s a bit more complex, but it’s not that hard.

For Chrome: Get the Disable HTML5 Autoplay plugin. This blocks both video and audio from playing automatically.

For Firefox: Use FlashStopper.

For Safari, there used to be an excellent plugin called ClickToPlugin, but it is no longer being updated. So to turn off autoplay videos, you need to first work in Terminal. Quit Safari, then open Terminal (it’s in /Applications/Utilities). Paste this command into the window:

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

Press Return, and wait a few seconds.

Quit Terminal, then launch Safari again. You’ll see a new menu called Debug. To turn off autoplay videos, choose Debug > Media Flags > Disallow Inline Video. (Some people are reporting that choosing this option causes problems playing videos on YouTube. Try Video Needs User Action, if you have this issue. It seems to do more or less the same thing.)

I’m not sure if this still works to enable the Debug menu for Safari on Windows.

With all of these tools, you can still play video or audio; you just need to click the play buttons to do so. But you will no longer be annoyed by autoplay media.

If you want to hide the Safari Debug menu, just quit Safari, then run this command in Terminal:

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 0

H/t Richard Frisch.


• If you want to display the Debug menu in Safari Technology Preview, this is the command to run:

defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

• Here are the direct commands to activate and deactivate this feature in Safari from Terminal, without displaying the Debug menu:

defaults write WebKitMediaPlaybackAllowsInline -bool false

defaults write WebKitMediaPlaybackAllowsInline -bool false

defaults write -bool false

defaults write -bool false

Thanks to zwaldowski for posting them.

• Thanks to a commenter, here’s a link to the Disable HTML5 Autoplay Plugin for Opera.