12 Better Ways to Browse the Internet on Your iPhone

12 Better Ways to Browse the Internet on Your iPhone

One of the best new features of Safari in iOS 15 and iPadOS 15 is its support for extensions. They’re cool new ways to add some excellent features to your web browsing experience, but unfortunately, the App Store doesn’t make it easy to find the best ones on iOS 15. We’re here to fill the gap though — by the time you’re done reading, you’ll know the best Safari extensions available on your iPhone and iPad.

Before you get started, be sure to check out how to download and install Safari extensions on iPhone and iPad. Also, be sure to review the permissions page for all Safari extensions by going to Settings > Safari > Extensions, and tapping each extension’s name manually. Under the Permissions header, you should review if the extension can access all the websites that you open, and if yes, check if it really needs to do so. You might not want to give every extension access to all the web contents you keep open in Safari.

If a password manager wants to access all webpages, that’s understandable, but use your judgment to figure out what really needs a similar level of access. Now let’s dive into the list of best Safari extensions you should be using.

You should definitely add helpful YouTube extensions

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

If you’ve ever tried watching videos on Safari, you know it can be frustrating. Some of the world’s biggest video platforms (we’re looking at you, YouTube), just don’t offer a great experience on the browser. But there are some extensions that can help.

If you want to enable picture-in-picture (PiP) mode on YouTube or other video sites in Safari, you can use PiPfier. which is free. Play the video in Safari, hit the aA button in the tab bar, and tap PiPfier, and it’ll pop out of the browser into a floating video player.

Alternatively, you can try Vidimote ($7) for PiP and other useful tweaks, such as the ability to speed up or slow down video playback speed, watch any video in full-screen, and add a mute button for every video you play.

Oh, and if you want to dim the area outside the video playing on your screen, check out Turn Off The Lights, which is also free.

And since no YouTube extension list is complete without an adblocker, for Safari on iPhone and iPad there’s 1Blocker, which has a new script-blocking ruleset that gets rid of ads on the Google-owned website. This feature may eventually break because YouTube may change something on its end to circumvent the blocker, but that’s a cat-and-mouse game that adblocker users are all too familiar with.

Use quick keyword shortcuts for search

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

To speed up your search game in Safari, you should install the excellent Keyword Search extension, which is free. It allows you to set custom keywords to search various websites directly from Safari’s address bar. To search for a PS5 on Amazon, you can type a PS5 and Safari will show search results on Amazon. There are various keywords for other websites and search engines, including one for Wolfram Alpha. Alternatively, you can try xSearch for $1.

Block Google AMP URLs

Screenshot: Jordan CalhounScreenshot: Jordan Calhoun

It’s time to block Google AMP URLs once and for all. If you’re done with AMP URLs that make it hard to scroll or share links, use Amplosion ($3) or Overamped ($3) to block them completely. Be aware that the more expensive StopTheMadness Mobile ($11) extension also blocks AMP URLs, but it’s pricier because it has other features too. More on that next.

Stop websites from blocking essential features

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

Lots of websites have this annoying habit of blocking your ability to copy, paste, or autofill content. If this annoys you, then StopTheMadness Mobile ($US7.99 ($11)) is well worth the asking price. This extension also stops autoplaying videos, removes tracking parameters from links you click (such as ?utm=android), and disables AMP URLs too. StopTheMadness has a lot of useful features; you should give it a shot for better browsing.

Switch to a universal dark mode

Photo: Khamosh PathakPhoto: Khamosh Pathak

iOS and iPadOS have allowed you to enable a system-wide dark theme for some time now. However, when you’re reading something on Safari late at night, the bright white background can sometimes be uncomfortable to look at. To solve it, a bunch of dark mode extensions have appeared for Safari. You can take your pick from Noir ($4), Nitefall (free trial, $5 in-app purchase), or Dark Reader for Safari ($7).

Fix Twitter’s annoying mobile layout

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

If you’re trying to reduce your screen time, deleting Twitter’s app and switching to the mobile website is a positive step. Twitter on mobile Safari has a lot of unwanted clutter, like Who to Follow, Trends, Promoted Tweets, and so on. Tweaks for Twitter Mobile ($7) is an extension that lets you get rid of those annoyances, and it also has lots of other useful features like always revealing the tweets hidden behind the “Show More Replies” button. If you use Twitter on mobile Safari, this extension is a must-have.

Customise Safari’s Start Page

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

The Safari Start Page can be customised using Apple’s built-in tools, but if that doesn’t cut it for you, there are a couple good extensions to try. Both Beautiful New Tabs ($1) and Momentum (free) allow you to create lovely new tab pages with custom information such as the weather, nice wallpapers, and motivational quotes. If you find yourself facing a tab overload, you can use StartPage.ai (free) to manage the mess.

Use a better password manager

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

For those who don’t want to use iCloud Keychain, Safari’s integration with password managers has always felt a bit difficult to use. Unless the password manager supported AutoFill, you had to hit the Share button in the browser and select your manager. That’s changed now, thanks to Safari extensions. Keep an eye on updates to your favourite password managers as almost all of them will soon have nice Safari extensions on iPhone and iPad too. 1Password already has it, and others are likely to follow.

Inspect the code on any website

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

Safari on iPhone and iPad doesn’t allow you to inspect the code on any website, unless you download some useful extensions. For most people, this will be useful when they want to download some images from websites that make it hard to do so. Inspecting the code usually reveals the URLs for all images on the page. To do this, you can try extensions such as Achoo HTML Viewer & Inspector ($1), SourceWeb (free, $7 for pro features), or Web Inspector for Safari (free).

Track deals and credit card rewards

There are some nice Safari extensions for compulsive shoppers as well. CardPointers (free, $4/mo for premium features) lets you keep an eye on maximising credit card rewards. Cheep (free) has an extension for you to track deals on flight tickets. Honey (free) and Haute Pursuit (free) let you keep an eye on good deals on online shopping websites.

Add useful features to GitHub

Screenshot: Pranay ParabScreenshot: Pranay Parab

Those who use GitHub regularly on Safari should give Refined GitHub (free) a shot. It makes the interface a lot more mobile-friendly and adds some useful features, like a button to view the source of Markdown files, a highlight to show the most useful comment, and reaction avatars to show who reacted to comments. A lot of things like that are pretty great, and well worth the price of free.

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