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Working with preferences in Safari

From: Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

Video: Working with preferences in Safari

There's a lot of action in Safari's preferences, and some of it can alter your browser experience. Let's march through preferences now. So go to Safari and choose Preferences. And here's the general preference. First Safari does not have to be your default web browser. If you have another web browser installed, such as Firefox, you can simply choose that, and then when you click on a link in another application that browser will open instead of Safari. I like Safari so I'll leave it as it is. You can also choose a different default search engine.

Working with preferences in Safari

There's a lot of action in Safari's preferences, and some of it can alter your browser experience. Let's march through preferences now. So go to Safari and choose Preferences. And here's the general preference. First Safari does not have to be your default web browser. If you have another web browser installed, such as Firefox, you can simply choose that, and then when you click on a link in another application that browser will open instead of Safari. I like Safari so I'll leave it as it is. You can also choose a different default search engine.

Google is the default but you can also choose Yahoo! or Bing. We've already looked at how new windows will open, we can skip that. You can choose when to remove your history items. By default, it's after one year, but you could decrease that. So, if you're concerned about people going through your history, you make that after one day, after a week, two weeks, one month, or you can do it manually. By default, files that you download will go to your Downloads folder, which is in your user folder, but you can choose a different folder if you like.

And you can also choose how to remove downloaded items from the download list. The default is manually, but it can be cleared when you quit Safari, or once something has been successfully downloaded it can be removed from that list as well. We looked at bookmarks earlier, so now we can see what appears in the bookmarks bar. By default it includes the Reading List, which we looked at. It also can include Top Sites. It can include your contacts, and it can include Bonjour.

So how does this contacts thing work? Well, if there's anyone within the Contacts application who has a website as part of their contact card, when you enable this, their website will appear in the bookmarks bar. And Bonjour is the zero configuration setup, so that you can see other Macs that are on your network. So if you'd like to see the Bookmarks on another Mac that happens to be on the network, include Bonjour and you'll be able to access that. Bookmarks menu, by default it includes the bookmarks bar, but it can also include contacts and Bonjour, as I outlined earlier, and also within your collections in the Bookmarks window you can include contacts and Bonjour.

When you open a new page you can decide how it will be configured. Will it appear in a new window, or will it appear in a bar, or will it appear in a tab? Automatically, if you have the tab bar exposed it will appear in a tab, but you can choose other options. So it can always open in a new tab or never open a new tab. And if you choose never that means it will open in a new window. By default, if you Control-click on a link it will open in a new tab. And if you like, When a new tab or window opens, it will become active. That's off by default.

There's an Autofill section. So as you start to type something, Safari will look for information that it can fill in for you automatically, and that can include information from your contacts card, your username and passwords, and also from other forms, and we're going to look at the passwords next. Now in passwords, and this is new with Safari 6, you will see websites, your user name, and passwords that have been saved, or you've granted permission to save, in Safari. So for example, if you were to go to Gmail or to Amazon, you type in your user name, you type in your password, and Safari will offer a little window saying, "Would you like to save this?" Yes I would. This is where that information appears.

So there are couple of things you can do here. One is you can choose to delete a website that has been memorized, and to do that you select it and click on remove. It's likely you're going to accumulate a lot of these things. If you have multiple websites you can remove them all, and this is one way of cleaning saved passwords out of your Mac. One other option, and I'm not actually going to show you what happens but I'll tell you what happens, is I can click show passwords, up pops this dialogue box asking for username and my password.

Once I enter that, and I won't but if I did, the password would be revealed here. So instead of these dots I would see that password. So if you've forgotten your password for a memorized website this is one way to retrieve it. Just click on Show Passwords, enter your password for your administrator's account, and then you'd be able to see your password in the clear. There's security, all these things are on. Apple keeps a list of fraudulent websites.

So if you happen to visit one of these websites, not on purpose of course, but maybe were directed to one by another website, you will see a warning that says, "By the way we are not sure we trust this website. Are you sure you want to go here?" Most of the time you should take that warning to heart and say, "No, I can do this somewhere else." You can also select from some things that are going on the background. For example, by default, plug-ins are enabled. So in another movie I showed you that you could play media files within Safari. If you don't want that to happen you can disable plug-ins and then that stuff won't be able to play.

There's also Java, which is a way of automating things within a web browser. You can disable that if you like. JavaScript, kind of the same idea, you can disable that. You can also choose to block pop-up windows. So a lot of nefarious advertising will throw a huge pop-up window in front of you. Safari will do its best to try to block that. If you really like that stuff, no problem, just disable this option and you can see all the pop-ups you like. And then there's privacy. If you want to clear out a bunch of stuff that has been memorized by Safari, and these are things like cookies, so this is a little tiny bits of information that a website will plant.

Now this isn't nefarious or dangerous stuff. In a lot of cases, maybe this is website you visited before and you've configured it to look a certain way, or you saved some password on there, for example. This information is stored in something called cookies. You can get rid of all that stuff simply by clicking on Remove All Website Data. When you do that you'll be asked, "Are you sure you want to do that?" If you're sure go ahead and Remove Now and that stuff will be gone. If you'd like to find out a little bit more about what that stuff is, click on Details and you can see the cookies and who has planted them on the Mac.

As far as cookies go, the default setting is to block them from third parties and advertising, and so that means that you visited a particular website and you're happy to accept the cookies from that website but not from advertisers for that website or third parties that have planted their cookies on the site. You can block cookies all the time by clicking on Always. When you do that it's very likely that you're going to have to go in and enter passwords again or sign into sites because a cookie hasn't stored that kind of information. Or you can choose to never block cookies and then you'll get cookies galore.

Also new in Safari 6 is the ability to limit websites to location services. So if a website is asking for location you will prompt about it saying, "Such and such a site wants to use your location. Is that okay for you?" At which point you can say yes, but maybe the next day you don't want that site to have access to this kind of information. So, you'll be prompted for each website once each day by default, or if you're not so concerned about it, it can prompt just one time or it can deny without prompting.

I never want anybody to use location so don't bug me ever. Website tracking is a very interesting option, and it's more or less effective. And what I mean by that is that there is this movement, as far as websites go, that you can set this little flag that says, "I do not want you to track me." And some websites will actually honor that request. So you've gone to website, you do not want them to have any idea where you've been or where you're going, and so you can enable this option in the hope that they won't do it.

Again, not every website will honor this but I think it's worth turning on and hope in the future that more of them will. And you can also choose to not have a search engine provide you with suggestions. A lot of times these suggestions are helpful but sometimes they're not. They're pushing advertising at you. So you can also switch that on. If a website has asked to show alerts and Notification Center, they will appear in this list. Very much like passwords, you can select one and choose to remove it, or you can remove them all.

You can enhance Safari with something called Extensions. So for example, if you want to be able to block Flash video, you can get an extension that will do that. One way to get extensions is to click on Get Extensions. You'll be taken to Apple's website and they have a series of extensions here. For instance, here's an ad blocker, or you can incorporate Twitter into Safari, or you can add Weather. So lots of things that you can do with it extensions. Certainly something you want to check out.

And once some extensions appear here, you can turn them on or off individually or you can turn them all off simply by clicking this switch to off. And then we have Advanced. There's an accessibility setting here, so that a website will never use font sizes smaller than, say, 9-point. This is for people who have some kind of visual disability so that they have a hard time reading small text. The other accessibility option is to press Tab to highlight objects on a web page. It may highlight, for example, certain columns of text.

Style sheets are something you don't need to worry about, nor default encoding, or proxies. Again, this is for advanced users and something most likely you don't need to know about. However, show the Develop menu, I think it's interesting. This isn't necessarily for geeks, but there are couple of things in here that are useful. For example, if you want to empty the cache in Safari, it used to be that you could do that from the Safari menu. You can't do that anymore unless you go to the Develop menu. So Empty Caches is where you find that here.

You can also choose a User Agent. So what possible good is this? Well, basically what you can do is you can tell Safari to pretend it's a different web browser. So for instance, there are certain websites that work best with Internet Explorer. Now there are very few of them anymore that will say, "I'm sorry, you don't have Internet Explorer, so you can't get here at all." If you happen to encounter one of these things however, switch on the Develop menu, choose user agent, and then once the page is active, these commands will be active as well, then you can pretend to be a different web browser and you may be able to access the site. But for now we're going to turn it back off because we don't need to use it right now. And that is the long and short of Safari's preferences.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training
Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training

76 video lessons · 20985 viewers

Christopher Breen
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 4s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
  2. 6m 56s
    1. Installing Mountain Lion
      6m 56s
  3. 47m 16s
    1. Personalizing the interface
      4m 11s
    2. Touring the Finder
      3m 29s
    3. Staying current with Software Update
      2m 52s
    4. Configuring Gatekeeper settings
      3m 17s
    5. Getting on the Internet
      5m 36s
    6. Setting up iCloud
      4m 55s
    7. Understanding AutoSave and documents in the cloud
      4m 42s
    8. Configuring Mail, Contacts, and Calendar
      4m 33s
    9. Configuring your printer
      3m 39s
    10. Protecting your data with Time Machine
      4m 28s
    11. Learn your way around the Mac App Store
      5m 34s
  4. 11m 17s
    1. Finding files with Spotlight
      6m 6s
    2. Digging deeper with Finder searches
      5m 11s
  5. 23m 35s
    1. Configuring basic personal preferences
      11m 15s
    2. Adjusting Input Device preferences
      9m 38s
    3. Examining the basic system preferences
      2m 42s
  6. 1h 13m
    1. Organizing workspaces with Mission Control
      5m 49s
    2. Modifying Language & Text settings
      4m 5s
    3. Optimizing Security & Privacy settings
      6m 18s
    4. Getting notifications
      4m 38s
    5. Configuring displays and AirPlay
      2m 20s
    6. Using Energy Saver
      6m 1s
    7. Setting up Bluetooth wireless devices
      3m 39s
    8. Sharing files on a network
      6m 1s
    9. Configuring sharing
      6m 28s
    10. Editing your users and groups
      6m 48s
    11. Setting rules with Parental Controls
      7m 4s
    12. Taking notes with Dictation & Speech
      6m 0s
    13. Exploring the Accessibility settings
      5m 54s
    14. Listening with Sound
      2m 53s
  7. 36m 2s
    1. Organizing your business with Mail
      12m 42s
    2. Scheduling time with Calendar
      8m 32s
    3. Keeping tabs with Contacts
      5m 30s
    4. Tracking your tasks with Reminders
      3m 39s
    5. Staying in touch using Messages
      5m 39s
  8. 37m 18s
    1. Tracking your documents in TextEdit
      7m 3s
    2. Looking up words in Dictionary
      1m 56s
    3. Keeping notes with Notes
      3m 48s
    4. Working with images in Preview
      6m 14s
    5. Working with PDFs in Preview
      4m 27s
    6. Installing fonts with Font Book
      4m 42s
    7. Posting a note in Stickies
      1m 55s
    8. Adding things up with Calculator
      4m 46s
    9. Organizing apps with Launchpad
      2m 27s
  9. 34m 5s
    1. Navigating the web
      3m 38s
    2. Working with bookmarks
      4m 49s
    3. Using Reading List
      2m 4s
    4. Saving web pages and creating web clips
      1m 44s
    5. Viewing and saving PDFs
      3m 24s
    6. Using Safari to search the web
      2m 20s
    7. Opening local files in Safari
      1m 59s
    8. Working with preferences in Safari
      11m 1s
    9. Managing your Internet footprint
      3m 6s
  10. 8m 48s
    1. Playing media in QuickTime
      4m 15s
    2. Recording videos with QuickTime
      4m 33s
  11. 10m 13s
    1. Video conferencing with FaceTime
      3m 38s
    2. Taking pictures in Photo Booth
      3m 47s
    3. The great utility of Image Capture
      2m 48s
  12. 12m 40s
    1. Writing a simple Automator workflow
      4m 15s
    2. Creating an Automator application
      2m 20s
    3. Setting up an Automator calendar workflow
      2m 31s
    4. Creating an Automator service
      3m 34s
  13. 22m 1s
    1. Managing processes in Activity Monitor
      5m 13s
    2. Formatting, partitioning, and repairing storage devices
      8m 58s
    3. Taking care of your passwords
      4m 1s
    4. Setting up a Windows install with Boot Camp
      3m 49s
  14. 14m 57s
    1. Creating a boot drive
      3m 19s
    2. Understanding and configuring permissions
      4m 5s
    3. Exploring troubleshooting techniques
      7m 33s
  15. 19m 35s
    1. Getting your game on
      4m 1s
    2. Integrating with Facebook and Twitter
      2m 38s
    3. Advanced tips and tricks
      9m 35s
    4. Sharing files with AirDrop
      3m 21s
  16. 30s
    1. Goodbye
      30s

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