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7 Things Safari Can Do That Google Chrome Can’t

In the past, Safari was underpowered, which is why many Mac users install Google Chrome without even thinking about it. But you might want to rethink that habit because Safari is no longer underpowered.

In fact, Apple’s browser has all sorts of features you won’t find in Chrome, from copying text into images to hiding your IP address from trackers.

Live Text lets you copy text from images

From memes to screenshots, much of the text you read online is actually part of an image file. This is especially frustrating when you want to copy said text and paste it elsewhere.

[Related: Level up your browsing with these five Safari tips]

Live Text is a macOS feature built into Safari that uses optical character recognition to identify text in images, allowing you to highlight and copy it. To use it, just open a photo in Safari and start selecting the text you see in it. It’s so easy.

Privacy by default

Smart Tracking Prevention blocks third-party cookies from tracking you, which means companies like Facebook or Amazon won’t know what you read or watch on other websites.

According to Apple, websites use Like and Share buttons, and other social widgets like comment fields, to track us even if we don’t use them. Safari automatically blocks this tracking, giving users more control over their data.

You can get similar functionality on Chrome using add-ons, but in Safari everything is built in and enabled by default.

Autoplay controls that actually work

Chrome can stop videos from autoplaying, but it’s not easy to configure. We’ve written entire articles describing elaborate workarounds to do this in Google’s browser, but in Safari things are much simpler. Just head to Preferencesthen open the Websites tab to find the Autoplay section.

From here you can set a universal rule for audio autoplay, which can be Never autoplay. You can also configure exceptions for currently open sites. For example, you might want YouTube to be able to start playing videos right away.

A simple player mode

Chrome has a reading mode that you can enable using experimental settings or flags. But over the years, Google has never made this feature easily accessible from the settings panel. Safari does.

A reader mode cleans up the website you’re on, letting you focus on reading an article without being distracted by sidebars, pop-ups, ads, and other annoyances. They are essential for browsing the modern web.

Safari not only lets you easily convert websites using reader mode, but it also allows you to open articles on a given website in reader mode by default. We can all think of a few websites that go way beyond clutter – it’s a way to avoid it altogether.

To use it, go to See and View Playeror click the player icon to the left of the address bar—it looks like a page.

Get some continuity

If you’re reading this article on a Mac, you can open it on your iPhone or iPad right now. Just open your browser on your portable device and take things from there.

It’s a Continuity functionality for Apple devices and it notably works even if you are using Chrome as your browser. But the integrations go further if you use Safari. For example, when you open a new tab, you’ll see a list of tabs currently open on other devices, and your bookmarks and reading pages will all be synced without any effort on your part.

Pay for stuff with your finger

You probably think Apple’s payment system is an iPhone feature. But if you use Safari, you’ll find that online retailers are increasingly supporting this system on other devices as well, allowing you to confirm your credit card details using TouchID. If you’re a dedicated Apple Pay user, it’s worth considering.

Most people don’t spend much time thinking about it, as modern computers have more than enough power to run Chrome smoothly. But it can be more problematic when your Mac isn’t plugged in. More system resources means more power consumption, which drains your battery faster. I personally noticed that I could squeeze a few extra hours out of my laptop using Safari instead of Chrome, and I’m not the first to notice it. Try it yourself.