Safari, Chrome extensions also arrive

The extensions available for Chrome and other browsers will also be introduced on Safari from the next Big Sur update for macOS

One of the weak points of Apple's Safari browser has always been the small number of extensions available, compared to competitors such as Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge or Firefox Mozilla. Now Apple wants to close this gap starting with Big Sur, the next version of the macOS operating system.

As is known, among the novelties of Big Sur there will be a new Safari browser. According to Apple, it will be "the most important Safari update ever," with brand new features, great new features and a cleaner, more modern look. Among the many new features that are finally coming to Safari, and that have already been present for years on competing browsers, there is also "improved support for extensions". In fact, the real news is that, in the end, Apple has decided to make Safari compatible with the WebExtensions API, the same available on all other browsers and used for years by developers to create extensions easily portable from one browser to another.

Safari with WebExtensions: what changes

At least initially, the novelty will be more quantitative than qualitative: Safari will be available in a short time many more extensions than before. This is because, thanks to compatibility with WebExtensions, developers will be quick to port an extension already developed for Chrome, Firefox, Opera or Edge to Safari. Apple will make this step even easier by providing testing tools to see if an already developed extension can work without modification on Safari as well. As they become available, these new extensions will be added to Apple's App Store.

Safari Extensions: the security risk

The arrival of hundreds of new extensions on Safari could pose great risks for Apple users: the same ones that users of other browsers have to deal with on a daily basis. Google, for example, in mid-June removed more than 100 extensions considered dangerous, in April it had removed 50, in February even 500. Browser extensions, in fact, are a bit like smartphone apps: if you know how to program them well, then you can steal a lot of data from the user or even download malicious code on the computer running the browser. Apple will try to limit these risks by introducing the possibility for the user to activate them for a single web page, for a group of very specific pages or for a specific period of time.