How to Install, Manage, and Delete Safari Extensions

Add functionality and efficiency to Apple's web browser

Firefox and Safari browsers on OS X

lelepado / Getty Images

Extensions are third-party developers add-on code that uses Safari’s web features for specific tasks, such as making it easier to search Amazon, allowing an app, such as 1Password, to integrate with the browser and create an easy-to-use password management system, or adding an effective way to block pop-up ads.

You'll also find that most social media sites have Safari extensions that make posting to your favorite social site as simple as clicking a button in the Safari toolbar

Instructions in this article apply to Safari 9 and later.

How to Download and Install Safari Extensions

Installing Safari extensions is an easy process. You can find a selection within Safari itself.

  1. Open Safari Extensions under the Safari menu.

    Safari Extensions menu item in Safari
  2. The App Store will open to the Safari Extensions section. Scroll to find one you want to add. Downloading extensions is like buying anything else in the Mac App Store.

    Safari Extensions in the App Store
  3. Click the Get button to download an extension.

    Not all extensions are free. Ones that you must pay for will have their prices on their download buttons.

    Get button for Grammarly extension
  4. The Get button will become a green Install button. Click it again to download the extension.

    Install button in App Store
  5. Your Mac may ask you to authorize the purchase, even if the extension is free. Do so to continue.

    App Store authorization for a Safari extension
  6. The extension will download.

  7. To activate your new extension, return to Safari and select Preferences under the Safari menu.

    The keyboard shortcut is Command+, (comma).

    Safari on a Mac with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  8. Select the Extensions tab.

    Safari Preferences with the Extensions tab highlighted
  9. Click the checkbox to activate the extension.

    Extension in Safari
  10. To browse for additional add-ons, click the More Extensions button in the corner and repeat these steps for all the ones you download.

How to Use a Safari Extension

How you use a Safari extension depends on its functionality, but some elements are common to all of them. Generally speaking, you'll access and use an extension by clicking its icon on your Safari Toolbar. Once you do that, it will run an automated process or open a menu to let you set preferences or select actions.

For example, the Grammarly extension runs automatically while you write, but you can open the menu to turn it off or on for a website and select the dictionary you want it to use.

Grammarly for Safari extension menu

How to Manage or Delete Safari Extensions

Once you start loading up on extensions for your Safari browser, you're probably going to want to manage their use or uninstall the extensions you don't like or just never use.

  1. Return to the Extensions pane of Safari's Preferences pane.

    Safari Preferences with the Extensions tab highlighted
  2. Click the name of the extension you want to remove in the left pane.

    Extensions preferences in Safari with an extension highlighted
  3. To temporarily disable the extension, remove the checkbox next to it.

    Extensions screen in Safari with the enable/disable checkbox highlighted
  4. To remove an extension completely, click Uninstall in the right pane.

    An extension in Safari with the Uninstall button highlighted
  5. You can re-download extensions you've uninstalled as long as they're still available in the App Store.

Where to Find More Safari Extensions

The App Store isn't the only place to download Safari extensions; it's just the easiest. You can also find them on other sites with a quick internet search.

Safari extensions are generally safe to install. Apple requires all extensions to run within the basic tools it provides in the Safari extension environment. You don't necessarily have to worry that one you download outside of the App Store will wreck your computer but make sure you trust the developer before you install anything they made.