Wednesday, April 26, 2023

The Four Types of Safari Extension

Jeff Johnson (Mastodon):

Apple’s Safari web browser first added support for extensions in version 5, and since then—we’re now at Safari version 16—there have been four different extension formats!

  1. Safariextz: 2010 Mac, 2019 RIP
  2. Safari content blocker: 2015 Mac and iOS
  3. Safari app extension: 2016 Mac
  4. Safari web extension: 2020 Mac, 2021 iOS


There’s a widespread misconception that Safari extensions on the Mac can only be distributed via the Mac App Store, and while this is true of Safari web extensions—one of the few Mac API that for some strange reason are limited to the App Store—it’s not true of Safari app extensions.


Due to the strict limits of their API, Safari content blockers are inferior to Chrome and Firefox extensions such as uBlock Origin at blocking ads and other annoyances. When support was introduced for Safari web extensions, people were excited about the prospect of uBlock Origin returning to Safari. There was previously a Safariextz version of uBlock Origin that of course died when Safariextz did. The hopes for a rebirth were in vain, unfortunately, for as I mentioned earlier, a number of features of the WebExtensions API are currently unsupported by Safari.


4 Comments RSS · Twitter · Mastodon

Sébastien LeBlanc

Even if Safari supported all WebExtensions API, manifest v3 doesn't allow extension like uBlock Origin. In fact, Manifest v3 is pretty much how content blocker already work on iOS, they need to be declarative to protect your privacy.

Real Ublock Origin on iOS here I come. Rare EU W.

I wish Safari was a good browser because of the good integration with password management on Apple’s platform. But every iteration I try it and return to Firefox even having to copy-past passwords.

Safariextz was the only one with true Freedom.

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