Apple must un-Mac-ify Safari security and privacy

Safari is a great browser but could use some improvement. One area that needs improvement is the de-Mac-ifying privacy settings. Learn what Jack Wallen means.

Image by Apple

This is what I can do when I open Safari Settings.

  • Tracking Websites: Enable/Disable
  • Hide your IP address by enabling/disallowing
  • Allow/disable all cookies (along with managing website data).
  • Web advertising: Allow/disable

Let’s do a comparison with Firefox.

  • Tracking protection enhanced from Standard, Strict, and Custom
  • Allow/disable “Do not Track”
  • Manage and clear cookies and other site data
  • Logins and passwords can be managed
  • Autofill and enable/disable forms
  • Take control of your history
  • Firefox Suggest options: Enable/disable
  • All permissions managed
  • Allow/disable data collection, and usage
  • Enable/disable dangerous and deceptive content/downloads/software
  • View and manage certificates
  • Allow/disable HTTPS Only Mode

Each of these things are different.

SEE: Google Chrome: Security and UI tips you need to know  (TechRepublic Premium)

Apple has been claiming for years that their browser is all about security. Apple makes it a point to force users to use their apps as they see fit. Apple keeps the settings available to a minimum. Apple may have intended this, believing that user security should be left up to the company making the product.

Not all users are created equal. Some users prefer greater control over security. Firefox gives me the ability to customize the behavior of the browser. That is why I love Firefox. While the default experience is quite safe, there are many things you can do to make it even more enjoyable.

Apple must allow such users to control Safari’s privacy settings. While I don’t think this option would be available to everyone, those who want more control should have it. They could also add advanced privacy features to Safari. 

I am confident that this will not happen. Apple has worked for years to make its software foolproof. Apple has done a great job to that end. It’s easy to work with Final Cut Pro X, Apple Mail and Safari. Only rarely do I experience a problem using Apple software. It would be great if I could access Safari settings to have more control over the software’s operation, given the constant threat of online attacks.

It won’t happen again. Apple, afterall, is a company who is certain that it knows the best way to use its software. That’s okay. However, there are browsers that offer me greater control over the security of an application. I will be inclined to use them. To be transparent, I would still use Safari as my default browser for Mac work if it wasn’t for its exponentially improved tab management. But I do so begrudgingly. 

Caveat emptor

Software that is used by the buyer should be avoided. This is a serious problem in the tech world. Billions of users are still working with Chrome—a browser that is constantly under attack and always tracking and saving user data. Chrome is used by millions of users, even though there is no information.

SEE: How to control activity tracking by apps on your iPhone or iPad (TechRepublic)

Web browsers pose dangers to users, which is why most people don’t know about them. Apple’s approach to its business is not helping matters. Apple almost seems to be saying “Don’t worry about anything…we’ll take care.” However, if users are not aware of the dangers, they may not be aware that there may be better and more secure choices.

Ah-ha! Ah-ha!

While I am not saying that this is what Apple does, it would be surprising if you found out. Some browsers will go to extreme lengths to protect privacy.

Some browsers will make you believe they are safe. But their claims can be questioned at best. Safari is one example of such a browser. Apple doesn’t want to tell you that and it doesn’t want your macOS installation to include another browser. It is possible to download it from the App Store, but not from Apple. You can install it from the App Store. Firefox, Opera or Brave all you have to do is point Safari to one the product page, download the installer, install the software and run it.

The average user probably doesn’t know that, and Apple is OK with keeping them in the dark. Just like they’re good with not giving them more control over the security of their browser.

Look, I’m not saying you should immediately switch from Safari to Firefox. If, however, you want more control over your privacy, that’s probably a smart thing to do. Apple isn’t going to un-Mac-ify Safari any time soon, so if you want to browse with more privacy and security, consider an alternative.

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