Mac Basics: Browse the web with Safari 7 in Mavericks

Safari is the web browser included with OS X Mavericks. Learn about using Safari, as well as ways to personalize your browsing experience.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Navigating Safari

To open Safari, click the Safari icon in the Dock, or double-click its icon in the Applications folder. When you first open Safari, it shows bookmarks, Top Sites and the smart search field.

new safari window

To open a site, select it from your bookmarks, or enter the website address in the field at the top of the window. Even if you don’t know the exact address, you can just type the words you are looking for, like "Apple". Safari makes suggestions based on your bookmarks, history, and your selected search engine. 

smart search


You can open multiple websites at once, either by opening a new Safari window (File > New Window) or by creating a new tab within the current Safari window (File > New Tab).

tabs at top of Safari window

You can even switch views if you change your mind. Simply drag a tab out of a window to create a new window for the page you’re viewing. Or, choose Window > Merge All Windows to create a single window with multiple tabs for each open webpage.

Tip: Command-click any link to open it in a new tab or window.

Smart Search

When you enter text in the field at the top of the Safari window, Safari suggests matches from your bookmarks and browsing history.

Safari can also send the text you're looking for to a selected search engine for additional suggestions. To select which search engine to use, click the search icon search button to the left of the text field. Safari includes built-in support for Google, Yahoo and Bing. If you don't want your text sent to a search engine, you can use Private Browsing mode, or disable this feature from the Privacy pane of Safari preferences. 

smart search

You can also search within a page. Choose Edit > Find or press Command-F to open Safari's built-in Find tool. Type the words you're looking for and Safari highlights the visible instances of these words on the webpage.

search within a page


To go back through pages you've previously viewed, click the previous page button. You can also swipe from right to left on your trackpad with two fingers. To move forward through your history, click the forward page button or swipe from left to right on your trackpad using two fingers.

To see a list of the sites you've recently visited, click and hold the previous or next page button.

history button menu

Or, choose an option or site from the History menu at the top of your screen, such as Show History to see all of the sites you've visited. 

full history view

Top Sites

As you browse, Safari tracks which pages you visit the most. It adds these sites to Safari's built-in Top Sites page. To see your Top Sites, click the Top Sites button. top sites button

top sites

  • If you want to add a site to this page, simply drag a website icon from the field at the top of the Safari window to this page. You can also drag a bookmark from the Bookmarks pane to this page.
  • Top Sites change as you surf. Sites you haven't visited in awhile may not appear on this page. To permanently keep a site on this page, move your pointer over the image of the site on the Top Sites page, and click the Pin icon. 
  • To remove a site from the Top Sites page, move your pointer over the image of the site and click the Remove Site button. topsites remove button

You can change how many websites Top Sites displays from Safari preferences. See Safari Help for more information.


Adding a Bookmark

When you find a site you want to remember, you can create a Bookmark to store a link to the site for later. 

  • Choose Bookmarks > Add Bookmark.
  • Click and hold the Add Bookmark button (+) in the Safari toolbar.
  • Right-click or control-click on a link and choose Add Bookmark from the shortcut menu.

To see all of your bookmarks, click the Bookmarks button Safari bookmarks button  or choose Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks.

bookmarks pane

You can re-order your bookmarks from this pane by dragging them in the list. To organize your bookmarks in folders, click the Add Folder (+) button at the bottom of the Bookmarks pane. To view or hide the contents of a bookmarks folder, click its folder icon.

Rename or delete a bookmark, right-click or control-click the bookmark's name. Then select the option you want from the shortcut menu that appears.

To close the Bookmarks pane, click the Bookmarks button again.

Favorite Bookmarks

To access your favorite bookmarks easily, use the Favorites Bar. You can add bookmarks by dragging the site's website icon next to its address directly to the Favorites Bar. 

favorites drag

To remove a bookmark, simply drag it away from the Favorites Bar. To rename it, click and hold the bookmark name.

To create a folder of bookmarks in the Favorites Bar, drag a folder from the Bookmarks pane, or right-click on the Favorites Bar and select New Folder from the shortcut menu that appears.

Learn More

click on a topic below to learn more about other features of Safari.

Expand All | Collapse All



With your iCloud account, you can browse seamlessly across all of your Macs and iOS devices. When you’re logged in with your iCloud account, Safari keeps track of your bookmarks, reading list, and any sites you currently have open.


Bookmark a web page on your Mac and it automatically appears in the bookmarks of all your iCloud-connected devices. 

Open Pages

Go from one device to another without having to search for the web pages you were reading elsewhere. The last websites you opened are available in Safari on your Mac, iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch. Just click the iCloud button in the Safari toolbar to see the tabs and windows currently  open on your other devices.

iCloud bookmarks


Passwords and credit cards


You can access your saved passwords and credit card numbers all your devices. After you’ve entered a password in Safari on one Mac, it’s available when you’re logged into the same iCloud account on your other Mac computers or iOS devices. Safari even offers to generate a password for a site if you don’t already have one. 

website passwords


Safari also offers to store your frequently used credit card data so that you can order items from your favorite website, without having to dig out your wallet. To help protect this information, Safari keeps your passwords and credit card information encrypted in your Keychain

Note: For security purposes, you may still be prompted to enter the security code associated with a credit card when ordering from a website.




When you download software from the Internet by clicking a link in Safari, the Downloads button highlights in Safari's toolbar. Click the button to check the progress of your current downloads, and to see your downloads history.

download progress

To cancel a download, click the Cancel button. 

If your download is interrupted, you can start it again by clicking the Reload button. 

Downloads are normally saved to the Downloads folder in your Home folder. You can find this folder in your Dock, and can also get to it by choosing Go > Downloads in the Finder. You can also locate a download after it has finished by clicking the Reveal button next to a completed download. 

You can change the location where Safari downloads items from Safari preferences. See Safari Help for more information.





If text on a webpage is too small to read comfortably, you can use the built-in zoom features of Safari to make the text or the page larger.

When viewing a page, choose View > Zoom In to increase the size of page elements. You can toggle whether Safari zooms the entire page, or just makes text larger, by toggling View > Zoom Text Only. If you use zoom often, you can add Zoom buttons to Safari's toolbar. See the Customizing Toolbar section of this article for more information.

You can also use your trackpad to zoom into an area on a page. Spread two fingers across the trackpad surface to zoom the page content. You can also double-tap on a story to automatically zoom the window to fit its text.

Reading List

Reading List lets you save pages way to read later. Reading List saves entire webpages in your Reading List so you can catch up on your reading even when you don’t have an Internet connection. If you’re signed in to iCloud, Safari keeps your Reading List the same on your Mac, iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch.

reading list pane

To add a page to your Reading List, Click and hold the Add (+) button next to the website URL at the top of the Safari window, or click the Share button share button. Select the option to add this page to your Reading List.

share menu

To view pages you've marked for reading later, click the Bookmarks button in the Favorites bar, or choose Bookmarks > Show Bookmarks. Then, click the Reading List icon in the pane that appears.

Reading List also works with iCloud, so you can read any page you've stashed on any of your Mac computers or iOS devices. See the iCloud section of this document for more information.


The Reader feature of Safari helps you concentrate on the main story featured on a webpage. It reduces the clutter and increases the type size of the story, letting you focus on the content you want to read.

Safari Reader

Safari automatically scans the pages you view to find each main story. After it locates this content, the Reader button lights up at the top of the Safari window.

safari reader button

Click the Reader button to view the website content in Reader mode. To leave Reader mode, click the button again.


Safari also includes built-in support for viewing PDF files. When you follow a link to a PDF in Safari, such as a user guide, it's displayed in the Safari window without having to open another app. Safari's built-in find and zoom features work with PDFs too. 

If you want to save the PDF to your local drive, move your pointer to the bottom of the Safari window to see Safari's built-in PDF tools appear. Click the Download button to save the file to your downloads folder. Click the Preview button to open the file directly in Preview.

safari pdf toolbar




If you want to share a webpage, all you have to do is click the Share button. If you’re using OS X Mavericks, you can even share to third party sites such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn without leaving the page you’re viewing.

Share menu

To share a link, click the Share button share button in the Safari toolbar, or choose File > Share. Select the method you want to use to share the page you are viewing. Fill out the share sheet that appears to share it.

share menu

If you use Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, you can post a link using one of these accounts. If you don’t see these options in the Share menu, make sure you’ve entered your account information for each service in the Internet Accounts pane of System Preferences.

Shared Links

Shared Links in the Safari sidebar keeps track of links from people you follow on Twitter and LinkedIn for you.

shared links pane

To view Shared Links, open the Bookmarks pane, then click the Shared Links icon at the top of the pane. Click any link to open it in Safari.


Privacy and Security


Third-party data and cookie blocking

The web pages you visit may leave cookies from third-party websites. These cookies can be used to track where you go on the web, target you with ads, or create a profile of your online activities. Safari blocks these cookies by default. It also prevents third-party websites from leaving data in your cache, local storage, or databases by default.

Secure Browsing

Safari understands secure http (https) and extended validation certificates. This means that when you are connecting to a site like your bank, Safari encrypts the connection. You can check to see if the connection is secure by looking for a security indicator next to the site's name.

https indicator

Encrypted connections are displayed with an https badge. Click the badge for more information about the encrypted connection.

extended certificate

Connections with extended validation are displayed with a green badge. Click the badge for more information about the encrypted connection.

Private Browsing

Safari offers Private Browsing to keep Safari from adding the sites you visit to your history. This feature also stops storing your searches and the data in online forms you fill out.

To enable Private Browsing, choose Safari > Private Browsing. When you're done browsing in private, click the Private indicator at the top of the Safari window to leave Private Browsing mode.

Do Not Track

Safari supports an emerging privacy standard called Do Not Track. After you enable this setting, sites you visit are asked not to track you. To enable this setting, choose Safari > Preferences > Security. Then, select the option for "Ask websites not to track me".

do not track option

Safari also automatically sends Do Not Track requests when you use Private Browsing. 

Protection from harmful sites

Safari helps to protect you from fraudulent Internet sites and those that harbor malware before you visit them. If a website looks suspicious, Safari prevents it from loading and warns you.

safe browsing warning dialog

Parental Controls

Safari includes support for Parental Controls features built into OS X, so you can limit access to certain websites for users on your Mac. For more information about Parental Controls, choose Apple menu > System Preferences > Security & Privacy. Then, click the help button in the lower right corner of the System Preferences window.

parental controls preferences


Sandboxing provides built-in protection against malicious code and malware by restricting what websites can do. Safari runs web pages in separate processes so that harmful code in a page is confined to a single browser tab. This prevents a site from affecting the whole browser or data open your other Safari tabs or windows.


Saving energy


Safari includes advanced energy saving technologies that let you browse the Internet without worrying about draining battery power.

When you visit a site that uses an Internet plug-in, Safari automatically pauses the plug-in content until you’re ready to view it. This saves energy. You can also tell Safari to load plug-in content on a per website basis.

power saver

Safari in OS X Mavericks also includes support for App Nap. This technology means that Safari reduces energy usage when its windows are hidden, closed, or obscured by another application.


Extending Safari


Internet Plug-ins

Safari includes support for popular Internet plug-ins such as Adobe Flash, Microsoft Sliverlight and Oracle’s Java. You can even control which websites can use these plug-ins.

Safari Extensions

You can add features to Safari by installing Safari extensions. Visit the Safari Extensions Gallery for more information.


Developer features



Safari is built on WebKit, the open source rendering engine that provides you with a powerful, industry-standard web browsing experience. WebKit provides support for HTML5, CSS and JavaScript, including HTML5 audio and video tags.

Web Inspector

Safari includes powerful tools to help website developers analyze and debug websites. You can access these tools, including the Web Inspector, by enabling the Developer menu in Safari preferences.

For more information about Safari as a web development tool, visit the Apple Developer website.


More Help

Want to learn more about Safari? Check out the built-in Help on your Mac. In Safari, choose Safari Help from the Help menu. The following articles also have more information about Safari features.

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Risks are inherent in the use of the Internet. Contact the vendor for additional information. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.

Published Date: