Safari 3.1 Breakdown

Apple released an update to Safari today and brought the system to version 3.1. While updates are often made to Apple software, this update to Safari was a significant one.

To help you take advantage of the updates to Safari we’ll walk you through them and how they may impact your browsing experience.


Two improvements are listed in the details to the Safari update. While these improvements don’t add additional user options they will impact your browser experience.

  1. Performance
  2. Improved JavaScript performance

There were reports before this release that Apple would soon release an update to Safari that would double the browsers speed. Safari was already one of the fastest browsers so it may be difficult to notice the increase browser speed.

Web Standards

Safari’s upgrade included improvements in Web Standards compliance.

  1. Adds support for CSS 3 web fonts
  2. Adds support for CSS transforms and transitions
  3. Adds support for HTML 5

This is great news for web developers but many of these additions won’t be seen on most websites and the majority of the market share (Internet Explorer, Firefox) still lag behind in this area. Apple will be ready when everyone catches up.

Compatibility and Stability

The release notice from Apple point to increased website compatibility and application stability. Now is your chance to to check out any websites that previously did not support Safari. Keep your fingers crossed.

Developer Support

Since Apple recently released Safari to both Windows and OSX users, they must have realized that they needed to increase the developer tools included in Safari. This should make website development and customization for Safari browsers easier. The updates include:

  1. Adds option in Safari preferences to turn on the new Develop menu which contains various web development features
  2. Allows access to Web Inspector
  3. Allows access to Network Timeline
  4. Allows editing CSS in the Web Inspector
  5. Allows custom user agent string
  6. Improves snippet editor

To enable the Developer Menu in Safari:

  1. Open Preferences in Safari
  2. Click the Advanced Tab
  3. Check the box next to “Show Developer Menu in Menu Bar”

You should now see Develop on the menu bar. Some of the additional Developer options is to open the current page in another web browser, ability to disable images, and the ability to disable javascript on the current page. Check out the other options in the Developer Menu.

Other Additions

In addition to the increased speed, improved stability, and developer tools Apple added a few other features:

  1. Double clicking on the Tab Bar opens new tab
  2. Includes URL metadata when images are dragged or saved from browser
  3. Opens Download and Activity window in current Space
  4. Supports trackpad gestures for back, forward, and magnify on MacBook Air and compatible MacBook Pro computers
  5. Shows Caps Lock icon in password fields

I personally enjoy the addition of the double click for a new tab (Thanks Firefox for the idea) and the Caps Lock icon in password feels… That caps lock button is always getting in the way.


Overall, the combined enhancements to Safari in version 3.1 make Safari even more competitive with the other browsers on the market. Additionally, Apple has seen the importance of web developers making websites that work well in multiple operating systems and on their mobile devices.

This software update has clearly positioned Safari in a competitive position amongst the leading web browsers. With additional support for plugin development, we may see Safari eat away at Internet Explorer and Firefox market share.