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

Add more functionality to your mobile web browsing

Safari is Apple's default web browser for the iPhone, iPad, and macOS. While Safari is robust and secure, macOS users can boost its functionality with a variety of Safari extensions from the Mac App Store.

Safari extensions don't work the same way on iOS devices, like the iPhone and iPad. On macOS, extensions are added to the browser. For Safari's mobile browser, you can download apps that act as extensions, helping to customize your browsing experience. There are also some built-in functions to enable.

Here's a look at how to enable built-in functions and download app extensions for the Safari mobile browser.

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.

Safari, Numbers, iTunes U and other Apple apps on cellphone
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Safari's Pre-Installed Extensions on iOS Devices

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

Enable Safari's Mobile Popup Blocker

Keep popup ads at bay by enabling Safari's popup 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

    There may be times you want to allow popups, 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.

Turn on Safari's 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:

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

  1. Open Safari and navigate to a web page.

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

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

  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.

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

There are many apps on the App Store that 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.