Safari is a web browser developed by Apple Inc. First released as a public beta on January 7, 2003 on the company's Mac OS X operating system, it became Apple's default browser beginning with Mac OS X v10.3 "Panther". Apple has also made Safari the native browser for the iPhone OS. A version of Safari for the Microsoft Windows operating system was first released on June 11, 2007, and supports both Windows XP and Windows Vista. The current stable release of the browser is 4.0 for both Macintosh and Windows. Safari has a 8.43% market share as of May 2009.


Safari offers most features common to modern web browsers such as:

  • Tabbed browsing
  • Bookmark Management
  • A resizable web-search box in the toolbar which uses Google on the Mac and either Google or Yahoo! on Windows
  • Pop-up ad blocking
  • History and bookmark search
  • Text search
  • Spell-checking
  • Expandable text boxes
  • Automatic filling in of web forms
  • Built-in password management via Keychain
  • Subscribing to and reading web feeds
  • Quartz-style font-smoothing
  • The Web Inspector, a DOM Inspector-like utility that lets users and developers browse the Document Object Model of a web page
  • Support for CSS 3 web fonts
  • Support for CSS animation
  • Bookmark integration with Address Book
  • ICC colour profile support
  • Inline PDF viewing
  • Integration with iPhoto photo management
  • Mail integration
  • Ability to save parts of web pages as web clips for viewing on the Apple Dashboard.

Safari uses Apple's WebKit for rendering web pages and running JavaScript. WebKit consists of WebCore (based on Konqueror's KHTML engine) and JavaScriptCore (based on KDE's JavaScript engine named KJS). Like KHTML and KJS, WebCore and JavaScriptCore are free software and are released under the terms of the GNU Lesser General Public License. Some Apple improvements to the KHTML code are merged back into the Konqueror project. Apple also releases additional code under an open source 2-clause BSD-like license.

It includes a built-in web feed aggregator and supporting the standards RSS and Atom. Other features include Private Browsing (a mode in which no record of information about the user's web activity is retained) which has become the origin of the now popular term "porn mode" for web browsers), the ability to archive (using the .webarchive format) and e-mail web pages, and the ability to search bookmarks.

Beginning with Safari 4, the address bar has been completely revamped.

  • The button to add a bookmark is now attached to the address bar.
  • The reload/stop buttons are now icons superimposed on the right end of the bar
  • The blue inline progress bar is replaced with a spinning bezel and a loading indicator attached to the spinning bezel.

These modifications make Safari look somewhat like Mobile Safari, the version of Safari running on the iPhone OS.In addition, Safari 4 includes the following new features:

  • Top Sites, which displays up to 24 thumbnails of a user's most frequently-visited pages on startup
  • Cover Flow browsing for History and Bookmarks
  • Nitro JavaScript engine that executes JavaScript up to 30 times faster than Internet Explorer 7 and 3 times faster than Firefox 3
  • Native Windows look on Windows (Aero for Windows Vista, Luna for Windows XP) with standard Windows font rendering
  • Support for CSS image retouching effects
  • Support for CSS Canvas
  • Speculative loading, where Safari loads the documents, scripts, and style information that is required to view a web page ahead of time
  • Improved developer tools, including Web Inspector, CSS element viewing, JavaScript debugger and profiler, offline table and database management with SQL support, and resource graphs


iPhone OS-specific features for Safari allow for:

  • MDI-style browsing (with up to 8 pages open concurrently, limited by cache storage).
  • Pressing on an image for 3 seconds to save it to the Photo app.
  • Bookmarking links to particular pages as "Web Clip" icons on the Home screen.
  • Opening specially-designed pages in full-screen mode.


Until 1997, Apple Macintosh computers had shipped with Netscape Navigator only. Internet Explorer for Mac was subsequently included with Mac OS 8.1 onwards as the default web browser, as part of the five year agreement between Apple and Microsoft. However, Netscape Navigator continued to be included. Microsoft released three major versions of Internet Explorer for Mac that were bundled with Mac OS 8 and Mac OS 9. Microsoft subsequently released a Mac OS X edition of Internet Explorer 5, which was included as the default browser in all Mac OS X releases from Mac OS X DP4 until Mac OS X v10.2.

On January 7, 2003, Steve Jobs announced that Apple had developed their own web browser based on KHTML rendering engine, called Safari. They released the first beta version that day and a number of official and unofficial beta versions followed, until version 1.0 was released on June 23, 2003. Available as a separate download initially, it was included with the Mac OS X v10.3 release on October 24, 2003, as the default browser, with Internet Explorer for Mac included only as an alternative browser. Since the release of Mac OS X v10.4 on April 29, 2005, Safari is the only web browser included with the operating system.

In June 2005, after some criticism from KHTML developers over lack of access to change logs, Apple moved the development source code and bug tracking of WebCore and JavaScriptCore to WebKit itself was also released as open source. The source code for non-renderer aspects of the browser, such as its GUI elements, remains proprietary.

Version 2.0 of Safari, was released on April 29, 2005 and runs only on Mac OS X 10.4.x (Tiger) or later; this version was touted by Apple as possessing a 1.8 times speed boost over version 1.2.4.

In April 2005, Dave Hyatt, one of the Safari developers at Apple, documented his progress fixing bugs in Safari to get it to pass the Acid2 test. On April 27, 2005, he announced that his development version of Safari now passed the test, making it the first web browser to do so. The changes were not initially available to end-users unless they downloaded and compiled the WebKit source code themselves or ran one of the nightly automated builds available at However on October 31, 2005, Apple released version 2.0.2 of Safari that included the Acid2 bug fixes.

On January 9, 2007, Jobs formally announced Apple's iPhone, which uses a version of the Safari browser known as MobileSafari.


At the 2007 Worldwide Developers Conference, Jobs announced Safari 3 for Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Vista. At the announcement, he ran a benchmark, based on the iBench browser test suite, hence claiming that Safari was the fastest browser. External measurement of HTTP load times suggested that Safari was the fastest browser on the Windows platform in terms of initial data loading over the Internet, but is tied with Internet Explorer 7 and Firefox when comparing loading from caches.

The Safari beta version for Windows had several known bugs and a zero day exploit that allows remote execution, upon its initial beta release on June 11, 2007, in version 3.0. The addressed bugs were then corrected by Apple three days later on June 14, 2007, in version 3.0.1 on Windows. On June 22, 2007, Apple released Safari 3.0.2 to address some bugs, performance issues and other security issues. Safari 3.0.2 for Windows handles some fonts that are missing in the browser but already installed on Windows computers, such as Tahoma, Trebuchet MS, and others. There is also a guide that allows the software to run under Linux with Wine. The final release of the Windows version (3.1 (525.13)) was offered as a free download on March 18, 2008.

In June 2008, Apple released version 3.1.2, addressing a security vulnerability in the Windows version where visiting a malicious web site would force a download of executable files and execute them on the user's desktop.


On June 2, 2008 the WebKit development team announced SquirrelFish — a new JavaScript engine that vastly improves Safari's speed at interpreting scripts. The engine is one of the new features in Safari 4, released for developers on June 11, 2008. A public beta of Safari 4 was released on February 24, 2009. Safari 4 added new features such as a "Top Sites" tool, a copy of Opera's Speed Dial that displays the user's most visited sites in a 3D world. Cover Flow, a feature of Mac OS X, was brought into Safari. In the public beta, Safari placed its tabbed browsing in the title bar of the window, similar to Google Chrome. However, for the final release the tab bar was moved back to where it used to be, below the url bar. For the Windows version, Safari adopted a native theme, rather than the previous Mac OS look employed. On , Safari 4 was officially released.

To date, Safari 4 is the only mainstream browser that has passed the Acid3 test.



Apple Software Update, which is bundled with QuickTime and iTunes in Microsoft Windows, automatically selects to also install Safari even when it is not detected on a user's machine. John Lilly, CEO of Mozilla, stated that Apple's use of its updating software to promote its other products is "a bad practice and should stop." He argued that the practice "borders on malware distribution practices" and "undermines the trust that [software companies are] all trying to build with users." Apple has responded to Lilly's statement, saying that the company is only trying to ensure users have the latest updates to Safari, Apple also released a new version of Apple Software Update that puts new software in its own section, although still selected for installation by default. In another update, Apple Software Update no longer selects install items in the new software section by default (as of late 2008).


In the PWN 2 OWN contest at the 2008 CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, an exploit in Safari caused Mac OS X to be the first to fall in a hacking competition. Participants competed to find a way to read the contents of a file located on the user's desktop, in one of three operating systems — Mac OS X Leopard, Windows Vista SP1, and Ubuntu 7.10. On the second day of the contest, when users were allowed to physically interact with the computers (the prior day permitted only network attacks), Charlie Miller compromised Mac OS X within two minutes, through an unpatched vulnerability of the PCRE library used by Safari.


In the PWN 2 OWN contest in 2009, an as yet unidentified exploit in Safari allowed Charlie Miller to hack into a Mac in approximately 10 seconds. Apple released a patch for this exploit and others on May 12th 2009 in version 3.2.3.


The original end user license agreement for Safari on Windows was self-contradictory for several months, reading in part:As personal computers running Windows are not Apple-labeled computers, with the exception of Intel-based Mac computers running Windows, it was impossible for most users of Windows to use the software and abide by the license agreement. Within hours of the story breaking, Apple changed the agreement to read:Updates through Apple Software Update still contained the old license.


Operating systems Latest version Support
Mac OS X v10.2 1.0.3 (August 13, 2004) 2003-2005
Mac OS X v10.3 1.3.2 (January 11, 2006) 2003-2007
Windows 2000 3.0.3 (August 1, 2007) 2007 (unofficially)
Mac OS X v10.4/Mac OS X v10.5/Mac OS X v10.6 [1](4.0) (June 08, 2009) 10.4: 2005-present
10.5: 2007-present10.6-2009-present
Windows XP/Vista [2](4.0) (June 08, 2009) 2007-present
iPhone OS for iPod Touch and iPhone 3.2 (November 21, 2008) 2007-present
Safari usually requires the latest system update in order to function. For Windows, these are the monthly updates, and for Mac OS X, these are minor version releases.


Key: Old Version Current Version Beta Version

Major version Minor version WebKit version Operating System Release date Features
Beta 0.8 48 Mac OS X v10.2 7 January 2003 Public Beta. Initial release at Macworld conference.
0.9 73 14 April 2003 Public Beta 2. Tabbed browsing, forms and passwords autofill, browser reset (removes cookies, cache and so on), Netscape and Mozilla bookmarks importing, improved support for web standards, improved AppleScript support, more localizations.
Version 1(2003-2006) 1.0 85 23 June 2003 First non-beta release. Safari is now default Mac OS X browser, faster autotabs, support for iSync bookmark synchronization, all Mac OS X languages supported, more AppleScripts to control browser, improved support for web standards.
1.0.3 85.8.5 13 August 2004 Improves the Safari rendering engine to expand third party application support and delivers the latest security enhancements.
1.1 100 Mac OS X v10.3 24 October 2003 Released with Mac OS X v10.3. Improved speed, improved support for web standards, improved CSS support.
1.2 125 2 February 2004 Improved compatibility with websites and web applications. Support for personal certificate authentication. Full keyboard access for navigation. Ability to resume interrupted downloads. LiveConnect support. XMLHttpRequest support.
1.3 312 15 April 2005 Released with 10.3.9. Included most of the rendering speed and website compatibility improvements that were developed for 2.0.
1.3.1 312.3 29 August 2005 Improves website compatibility, application stability and support for 3rd party web applications.
1.3.2 312.5 11 January 2006 Improves website compatibility, application stability and support for 3rd party web applications. Requires 1.3.1 in order to install.
1.3.2 312.6 12 January 2006 Requires earlier version in order to install.
Version 2(2005-2006) 2.0 412 Mac OS X v10.4 29 April 2005 Dubbed "Safari RSS." Released with Mac OS X v10.4. Improved rendering speed and website compatibility. Integrated RSS and Atom reader. Integrated PDF viewer. Private Browsing mode and Parental Controls. Saving Websites completely using the proprietary WebArchive format.
2.0.2 416.11 31 October 2005 Safari passes The Web Standards Project Acid2 test.
2.0.4 419.3 13 January 2006 Most widely distributed version of Safari 2. Last stable version released before version 3.0.
Version 3(2007-) 3.0 522.11 11 June 2007 Public beta. Initial release at the Worldwide Developers Conference. Version for Mac OS X v10.4.9 and later. Improved searching within web pages. Drag and drop tabs, and the ability to save a group of tabs as a single bookmark. Live resizing of text input fields. Bonjour support for bookmarks. Initial SVG support.
3.0.2 522.12 22 June 2007 Public beta.
3.0.3 522.12.1 31 July 2007 Public beta. Latest security updates.
3.0.4 523.10 Mac OS X v10.4-10.5 26 October 2007 Officially released with Mac OS X v10.5 out of beta. Includes the ability to re-arrange tabs by dragging, improved web standards support, the ability to display SVG images, and integration with the Dashboard, allowing users to create widgets from ordinary web pages. For web developers, Safari 3 includes a new “Web Inspector” similar to the DOM Inspector extension for Mozilla Firefox.
14 November 2007 Officially released with Mac OS X v10.4.11.
3.1 525.13 18 March 2008 Introduces support for CSS Web fonts and animations and improves support for SVG and HTML 5 media. Performance improvements.
3.1.1 525.17 16 April 2008 Improved stability and added security updates.
525.20 28 May 2008 Officially released with Mac OS X v10.5.3.
3.1.2 525.21 30 June 2008 Officially released with Mac OS X v10.5.4.
3.2 525.26 13 November 2008 Added phishing detection, Extended Validation Certificate support, security fixes.
3.2.1 525.27 24 November 2008 Stability improvements.
3.2.3 525.28 12 May 2009 Officially released with Mac OS X v.10.5.7.
Version 4 4.0 Beta 526.11.2 Mac OS X v10.4-10.6 11 June 2008 First developer seed. Includes SquirrelFish JavaScript interpreter. Adds ability to save webpages as standalone web applications.
528.16 24 February 2009 Version 4 Public Beta: Added features include a "Top Sites" tool that tracks the user's most recently viewed pages, and notifies the user of content updates; Cover Flow support for history; and full history search. A new, radically redesigned UI, with the tabs now on top, has been implemented. The new Nitro Engine, which by Apple's count, renders Javascript 4.2 times faster than the previous release of Safari, and a new redesign set of Developer Tools. Auto-Detect of Google searches and websites, and full page zooming have also been added.. The "save page as standalone web applications" feature, in the first developer preview of Safari 4, appears to have been removed. The full feature set, available from Apple's website, lists the other 150 features of Safari 4. The stable Safari 3.2.1 is still available from Apple's website.
528.17 12 May 2009 Public beta. Latest security updates.
4.0 530.17 08 June 2009 Officially released at WWDC and out of beta. Tabs, which were located in the title bar in 4.0 beta releases, have been returned to their original location under the bookmarks bar.

Major version Minor version WebKit version Operating System Release date Features
Version 3(2007-present) 3.0 522.11.3 Windows
2000, XP, Vista
11 June 2007 Public beta, first release for Windows XP and Windows Vista (not supported on Windows 2000, although it will run on it) Has same new features as the version for Mac OS X.
3.0.1 522.12.2 13 June 2007 Public beta, second release for Windows XP and Windows Vista. Major security updates.
3.0.2 522.13.1 22 June 2007 Public beta, third release for Windows XP and Windows Vista. Security updates.
3.0.3 522.15.5 1 August 2007 Public beta, fourth Windows release. Includes major stability enhancements, including a fix for a memory leak.
3.0.4 523.12.9 Windows
XP, Vista
14 November 2007 Public beta, fifth Windows release. Fixes many UI behavior issues, though issues still remain. Is not executable on Windows 2000 (in contrast to 3.0.3). Added many shortcut functions found in most major browsers (for example, switching tabs).
523.13 17 December 2007 Safari 3 Beta 3.0.4 Security Update: A security update meant to prevent cross‐site scripting attacks was applied to the existing release of Safari.
523.15 21 December 2007 Safari 3 Beta 3.0.4 Security Update v1.1: This update fixes an issue introduced with the previous security update “that may cause Safari to unexpectedly quit when browsing certain websites”.
3.1 525.13 18 March 2008 First stable release of Safari for Windows. Introduces support for CSS Web fonts and animations and improves support for SVG and HTML 5 media. Performance improvements. Added automatic spell checker for searches.
3.1.1 525.17 16 April 2008 Improved stability and added security updates.
3.1.2 525.21 19 June 2008 Improved stability and added security updates.
3.2 525.26.13 13 November 2008 Added protection from fraudulent phishing websites and better identification of online businesses. Also includes the latest security updates.
3.2.1 525.27.1 24 November 2008 Stability improvements
3.2.2 525.28.1 12 February 2009 Security update
3.2.3 525.29.1 12 May 2009 Security updates.
Version 4 4.0 526.12.2 11 June 2008 First developer seed. Includes SquirrelFish JavaScript interpreter. Adds ability to save webpages as standalone web applications. Added optional Windows native font rendering. Passes Acid3 test.
528.1.1 22 August 2008 Second developer seed. New developer menu, redesigned Web Inspector, and JavaScript developer tools. Also includes elements from the new Webkit versions, such as support for new CSS features, as well as improved support for HTML 5 in general.
528.16 24 February 2009 Version 4 Public Beta. Top Sites feature to track your most frequently visited web sites, and whether they have been updated. Cover Flow support for history and bookmarks, and full history search. Tabs brought to the title bar, and thus above the address bar. Nitro Engine code named SquirrelFish Extreme, for faster JavaScript execution. Look and feel more native to the Windows UI. Apple font smoothing now an option, and a font smoothing from Windows is selected by default depending on system font smoothing configuration. Many other new features as well, and these usually being shared with the Apple version.
528.17 12 May 2009 Public beta. Latest security updates.
4.0 530.17 08 June 2009 Officially released at WWDC and out of beta. Tabs, which were located in the title bar in 4.0 beta releases, have been returned to their original location under the bookmarks bar.

Major version Minor version WebKit version Operating System Release date Features
Version 3 3.0 419.3 iPhone OS 1.1.5 18 July 2008 Ability to save links to websites on the Home screen.
3.1.1 525.20 iPhone OS 2.0.2 04 August 2008 Ability to save pictures, some specially designed web pages can be viewed in full screen.
3.2 525.20 iPhone OS 2.2 21 November 2008 Redesigned address and Google/Yahoo search bar. Stability improvements.
Version 4.0 4.0 528.16 iPhone OS 3.0 06 May 2009 Ability to cut, copy, and paste. Form autofill including passwords.
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