I Got Lost While on Safari 6.0.2

by Barrett

After I upgraded to the newest version of Apple’s Safari web browser, I felt like I had taken a wrong turn in the wild.

When you wake up in the morning, you expect your iPhone to be where you left it the night before. Right?

Similarly, your sleeping computer in your home office downstairs should be waiting, ready to go where you left off the night before.

That expectation can be somewhat muted by a toddler running about the house.
But if you set your alarm early enough and get yourself up before he does, you can usually beat his cyclone effect.

Barring a CPU meltdown, I expect things to operate more or less the way they did the day before.

My Safari Wasn’t What I Expected
So when my electrician came to my house this week to talk about installing a portable generator in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and I reviewed a few options with him online, I expected my Safari web browser to behave.

But it didn’t.

We sat down, and he suggested I check out norwall.com.
After we reviewed a few generator options, I wanted to show him another website I’d found, but I forgot the exact URL and needed to google it to locate it again.

My eyes gazed upward to the top right of my screen to place the curser in the Google search bar… and suddenly it was gone!

Yes, the Google search bar was gone!!
(You can imagine my embarrassment.)

I quickly changed the subject and said I’d do more research another time.
We shook hands as he left with the promise that my house would one day have some level of energy independence, even though I was clearly chained to my fickle tech!

I walked back into my home office and sat down at my desk.
I stared at my computer. Was it mad at me?
(It would certainly benefit from a little electricity during the next blackout.)

What happened to Safari?
And then I remembered…

I had just performed an Apple software update the day before, and yes, it included what seemed like a minor Safari update…

At Home with Tech, there are no coincidences.

Be Careful What You Let in the Front Door
I took a look at my latest version of Safari –

I haven’t been paying attention lately to Apple’s software tweaks, and I hadn’t even taken the time a few months back to upgrade my operating system from Lion to Mountain Lion.
(Still on Lion Version 10.7.5)

So I did a little research and quickly realized Safari has been undergoing some significant ‘upgrades.’

These enhancements had first shown up through Mountain Lion over the summer.
And now it was filtering down to Lion through the Safari V6 updates.

Time to Yell at your Computer
If you’re like me and have been innocently going about your software update schedule without paying much attention, you may to be in for a big surprise with Safari.

And here are the three questions you will probably be yelling at your screen in the near future:

  • Where did the Google search bar go?!
  • Why won’t a link open in a new window anymore?!!
  • Why are parts of URLs grayed out?

The good new is Safari isn’t broken.
It’s just ‘better.’
So don’t panic.

You’re supposed to know ALL of this by now,
but if you’ve been distracted, here’s the scoop:

The Google Search Bar is Missing!
Yes, Apple eliminated it.
Instead, you can use the new URL ‘omnibar,’ which has been upgraded to handle Google searches. It’s now a unified search and address bar.

Apple calls it the Unified Smart Search Field.
In fact, Apple isn’t the first to make this switch.
(Google Chrome has had it for a while…)

The ‘USSF’ takes a little getting used to, but it works just fine.

Tabs, Tabs, TABS!!!
Once upon a time, if you clicked on a link, it usually opened up in a new window.
Now, it opens in the same window, but listed under a new tab.
In Mountain Lion, you can easily move from tab to tab, but in Lion, it’s a little harder. (Hint, hint…time to upgrade to Mountain Lion.)

But don’t despair.

There’s a setting, buried in Safari’s preferences, which returns Safari to its old way of opening up new windows:

  • Go to Safari ‘Preferences’
  • Go to ‘Tabs’
  • You’ll see the pop up menu- ‘Open Pages in Tabs Instead of Windows’
  • Select ‘Never’ (instead of ‘Automatically’ or ‘Always’)

Apple has more info in this support article.

(Again, when you get to Mountain Lion, all this tab-mania apparently makes more sense…)

Why is Some of my URL Gray Now?
Yes, the tail end of URLs are now gray, instead of black. That color shift allows you to more easily view the main URL name in black.
(Well… I didn’t think it was that hard to see in the first place. Anyway…)

And So You’re not Surprised…
While we’re at it, here are a couple more changes:

No More “HTTP”
The “http://” prefix doesn’t show up anymore in the Unified Smart Search Field.
(When was the last time you even typed it, anyway? No loss there.)

Private Browsing
You can turn on ‘Private Browsing’ as a security measure in the drop-down menu under ‘Safari’ on the top left.
According to Apple, that step not only stops your computer from recording your web traffic, searches and cookies, Safari “also sends a request to websites not to track you.”
(I hope they’re polite.)

In addition, you can activate ‘Do Not Track,’ (DNT) which according to Apple is “an emerging privacy standard.”

To do this, go to:

  • Safari ‘Preferences.’
  • ‘Privacy’
  • Next to Website tracking, check ‘Ask websites not to track me.’

A quick note about DNT technology:
DNT still seems to be a work in progress.
(Take note of the descriptive word- ‘emerging.’)

Enjoy Your Safari!
So there you have it.

Next time you do a software update and Safari 6.0.2 shows up, you shouldn’t feel lost in the wild.

And with Cyber Monday just around the corner, you don’t want a lion on safari to slow you down.