With the introduction of iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, Apple didn’t leave Safari lagging behind the competition. In fact, the Cupertino-based tech giant took the browser a notch higher with a host of privacy-oriented additions, performance enhancements, and added functionalities. It’s a truly exciting upgrade that makes Safari significantly better than ever before — just don’t expect any changes to the aesthetics though. That said, let’s check out all the new features that made their way to Safari this year.
You can start using most of the new Safari features right now by installing the iOS 14 or the iPadOS 14 betas. Also, don’t forget to check out all of the new additions to the iPhone and iPad with our complete iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 feature lists.
All New Safari Features in iOS14 and iPadOS 14
Hopefully, third-party web browsers on the iPhone and iPad (which are also based on Safari’s rendering engine) will get to take advantage of the increase in performance as well.
Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention module is quite adept at blocking all sorts of cross-site trackers from monitoring your activity. But with iOS 13 and iPadOS 13, you didn’t get to see the thing in action.
In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, however, Safari provides more transparency by providing you with the means to see the trackers that attempted to follow you around. Select ‘Privacy Report’ via the Website View menu (tap the icon with two A’s next to the address bar), and you get a detailed report covering everything from the number of trackers that Safari’s Intelligent Tracking Prevention module blocked to the various trackers detected per site.
Data breaches can expose your login credentials and pose significant issues to your privacy and security. And in most instances, you wouldn’t know that your usernames and passwords were floating around on the dark web until after something bad happened.
Safari aims to put a stop to that by monitoring saved login details and notifying you of compromised passwords so that you can take action to update them quickly. The browser performs these checks using strong privacy-oriented techniques that will not reveal your passwords to anyone — including Apple.
Additionally, Safari will let you upgrade compromised login credentials to Sign in with Apple in sites that support the feature. You can also visit the Security Recommendations screen (go to iPhone/iPad Settings > Passwords) for additional recommendations in regards to duplicate and commonly-used passwords.
In iOS 14 and iPadOS 14, you don’t have to use workarounds (such as third-party shortcuts) to translate foreign websites in Safari anymore. The browser will bring its own website translation module, which you can access via the Website View menu. Although it only lets you translate webpages from a handful of languages (Spanish, Chinese, French, etc.), it’s still a great inclusion nonetheless.
To top things off, Safari will use the Neural Engine to process translations locally on the device itself. That should result in fast translations since there’s no need to transmit data back and forth from your device and the Apple servers. Also, offline translations should allow for better privacy.
If you use an Apple Pencil with your iPad, then Scribble is an irresistible feature to use. You can basically ‘scribble’ on any text field, where the advanced OCR detection engine in iPadOS 14 will then kick in and convert your handwriting to the actual text.
Thankfully, Safari also lets you make full use of Scribble. You can now search for stuff in the Safari address bar with your Apple Pencil, write website URLs, and fill out web forms, easily. It’s a game-changer if you dislike using the onscreen keyboard on your iPad for basic web browsing.
Face-ID and Touch-ID Logins
Apple plans to use the WebAuth component, which is part of the FIDO2 standard, to provide the ability to sign in to websites in Safari using Face ID or Touch ID. Yes — you already use the device biometrics to autofill login credentials stored in Keychain. But this new implementation should help you avoid using passwords in websites altogether. This should help a lot in terms of security by taking compromised login credentials out of the equation. Of course — websites should support the feature from their own end as well.
The iPad already had Picture-in-Picture support for quite some time. But with iOS 14, you also receive the functionality on the iPhone.
While Picture-in-Picture will have its most uses with apps such as FaceTime and Apple TV, you can also make use of the functionality in Safari — just maximize any video (such as one from the YouTube website), head over to the Home screen, and the video frame should pop up in Picture-in-Picture mode right away. You can then use any other app while watching the video.
Integrated with Universal Search
Universal Search is among the best features in iPadOS 14, where you can search for pretty much anything (files, apps, websites, etc.) quickly and efficiently. And it’s also integrated with Safari — you can type in a web address in Universal Search and seamlessly fire up the website in Safari by tapping Go (or Enter if you use a physical keyboard). Universal Search is also quite adept at auto-completing searches, which makes the whole process even faster.
Redesigned Image Picker
Both iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 feature a redesigned image picker in Safari that makes it much easier to select and upload photos on websites. You can easily switch between all photos and albums and even use the new zoom gestures (they are downright amazing to use). You can also search for images using tags — people, places, etc. It’s leaps and bounds better than the one in iOS 13 and iPadOS 13.
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The new image picker isn’t restricted to Safari — you can also find it in other native apps such as Messages as well.
Switch Default Browsers
This isn’t a Safari feature per se, but it’s a fantastic addition to iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 that deserves mention here; you can now switch default browsers in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14. That’s right — Safari doesn’t have to be your default browser anymore since you can now a third-party browser such as Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Microsoft Edge without having to deal with Safari as well. It’s also great for people who prefer to sync browsing data with devices that don’t support Safari.
iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 also provide the ability to switch default email clients, which is another thing to look out for.
Safari in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14 — It’s Seriously Good
Apple deserves serious credit for keeping their web browser up-to-date and abreast of the competition, especially when they could’ve easily kept it in the sidelines and focused their efforts elsewhere. Hopefully, they will keep on optimizing these features so that we can have a great time using them once the stable iOS 14 and iPadOS releases hit this fall. So what are your favorite Safari features in iOS 14 and iPadOS 14? Drop a comment and let us know.