Safari finally gets a key feature that might help it keep up with Chrome

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Nicole Lienemann)

Safari web users will no longer have to worry about falling behind Chrome and Firefox after Apple revealed a major upgrade for its web browser.

After mentioning a number of native extensions as part of the macOS 11 Big Sur reveal earlier this week, Apple has now said it will be adding support for porting web extensions from other platforms. 

The company says this move will allow developers to port an existing extension from Chrome, Firefox or Edge "with very little effort" onto Safari which has fallen behind its rivals when it comes to useful add-ons.

Safari extensions

The news was revealed in a WWDC session outlining just what the new Safari Web Extensions can bring to users.

Safari users don't currently have a lot to choose from when it comes to extensions and add-ons, with only a few sharing and blocking options currently available on iOS or macOS. 

However the new platform opens up developers to be able to utilise the likes of HTML, JavaScript and CSS on Safari.

All new offerings will need to be submitted to the App Store, as Safari extensions will continue to need to be an Xcode project bundled with a native app to download - although this app won't even necessarily have to do anything.

Users will receive a warning alert when using an extension for the first time, and Safari will also display alerts if an extension tries to access a user's entire browsing data.

Apple says it will soon release an extension converter to help developers transfer their extensions simply and quickly. This converter will be able to spot any regulatory or compatibility issues, and whether you should limit the reach of an extension to particular websites, or for a set amount of time.

Via TechCrunch

Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.