How to Use Safari Extensions on the iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch

Add more functionality to your mobile web browsing

What to Know

  • For pop-up blocker: Tap Settings > Safari > Block Pop-ups.
  • For mobile reader view: Go to a web page, tap Aa in the upper-left corner of the search bar, and tap Show Reader View.
  • For private browsing: Tap the tab button and then tap Private. Tap + to open a new private tab.

The Safari mobile browser has added powerful features over the years to include built-in, extension-like functionality. Here's how to enable Safari's pop-up blocker, Reader View, and Private Browsing features.

Mobile Pop-Up Blocker

Keep popup ads at bay by enabling Safari's pop-up blocker.

  1. Open Settings on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch.

  2. Scroll down and tap Safari.

  3. Toggle on Block Pop-Ups.

    The Safari option and Block Pop-Ups command in iPhone settings

    You may want to allow pop-ups sometimes, for example, if you're making a payment or filling out an online form. Follow the above steps and toggle Block Pop-Ups to off.

Mobile Reader View

Safari's built-in Reader View option lets you read a web page without the distraction of navigation bars, images, or ads. To enable Reader View:

  1. Open Safari and navigate to a web page.

  2. Tap the two A letters (small capital A next to a larger capital A) in the top left of the search bar.

  3. Tap Show Reader View. You'll now see a clean reading interface free from distractions.

    The Text menu and "Show Reader View" command in Safari for iOS

    Tap the two A letters again to change the font size or type and switch the background color.

Reader View works best with articles, not website home pages.

Reader View in iOS 13 lets you also customize background color, font type, text size, and more.

Enable Private Browsing in Safari on iOS Devices

The Safari mobile browser also allows Private Browsing mode, which lets you browse the web without being tracked, and no cookies will be added to your browser. Here's how to enable Private Browsing:

  1. Launch Safari on your iOS device and tap the tab button from the bottom right. (It looks like two squares.)

  2. Tap Private on the bottom left.

  3. You've enabled Private Browsing Mode. Tap the plus button to create a new tab, or select Private again to go back to regular mode.

    Creating a new Private tab in Safari for iOS

Safari Extension Apps on the App Store

Many apps on the App Store boost the mobile Safari browser's functionality. For example, if you need help storing and remembering passwords, download 1Password password manager, which generates strong passwords and keeps them safe.

To translate web pages to more than 60 languages, download Microsoft Translator and easily translate with just a tap. Use the Pocket extension app to save articles and news, and try Fillr to autofill your details on forms.

Awesome Screenshots for Safari lets you take and annotate screenshots in Safari, going beyond the iPhone's basic screenshot capabilities. Mailo lets you email yourself interesting websites you come across in Safari with the tap of a button, while WhatFont lets you quickly identify the name of a font you encounter in Safari.

There are dozens more apps that boost your mobile Safari's browsing capabilities. Search "Safari Extensions" in the App Store to find more useful and fun Safari extension apps.

While the functionality of Safari extension apps is more limited than macOS Safari extensions, these apps are still a great way for you to customize your mobile browsing experience with Safari.

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