Categories
Security

Microsoft is adding a free built-in VPN to its Edge browser

Microsoft is adding a free built-in virtual private network (VPN) service to its Edge browser in a bid to improve security and privacy, a Microsoft support page revealed.

Called ”Edge Secure Network,” Microsoft is currently testing the Cloudflare-powered VPN service and says it will roll it out to the public as a part of a security upgrade.

When turned on, Edge Secure Network should encrypt users’ web traffic so internet service providers can’t collect browsing information you’d rather keep private, like, say, health-related searches or just plain bizarre queries.

The new feature will also let users hide their location by making it possible for them to browse the web using a virtual IP address. That also means users could access content blocked in their countries like, for instance, Netflix or Hulu shows.

There’s a catch for this free service, though. Data use is limited to 1GB per month, and users will need to be signed in to a Microsoft account so the company can, well, ironically track their usage.

Microsoft adds that while Cloudflare will collect support and diagnostic information from the service, the company will permanently get rid of that data every 25 hours.

While the feature is still under development and not yet available for early testing either, Microsoft detailed how users could try out a preview. That suggests it could roll out soon to one of the Microsoft Edge Insider channels first, which users can download and join here.

Once it does, you can try out the preview version by opening up Edge, heading to Settings and more, and clicking on Secure Network.

Click on “Secure Network” to turn the VPN service on.
Image: Microsoft

At that point, users will be prompted to sign in to or create a Microsoft Account. After doing so, a solid shield icon will appear in the browser frame, indicating Microsoft’s Edge Secure Network is now turned on. It will turn off after the user closes the browser.

Microsoft is one of many browsers that offer some kind of VPN service. Opera comes with a free one as well, but more popular browsers like Mozilla only offer a paid VPN service, as does Google Chrome, thereby potentially help improving Edge’s value proposition.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

How to Block Third-Party Trackers in Your Browser

Cookies are data artifacts saved by web browsers on our internet-connected devices. They keep a record of the websites you visit, and in the case of first-party cookies, they’re important for certain essential website features.

Third-party cookies, on the other hand, raise privacy, security, and ethical concerns. Privacy is critical for most people today due to the increase in data breaches, leading many users to look for extra layers of security when browsing.

How do I stop browser tracking?

Third-party cookies represent another easy opportunity for internet users to block some efforts to track and capitalize on their internet traffic and web searches. Here’s how you can block this third-party tracking to stay safe.

Block cookies with a VPN

One way to block browser tracking is using a virtual private network (VPN) to decouple your IP address from your online activity. Mullvad and ProtonVPN are typically spoken of favorably among the privacy-literate, but you’re encouraged to do your own research.

VPNs don’t technically block cookies, but they provide a way around them. Since these programs reroute your internet traffic through servers in other locations, they’ll mislead some tracking cookies. Some VPNs also come with a feature you can turn on to block cookies. Look for a switch saying something along the lines of “block third-party tracking” to enable this.

Block cookies in incognito mode

A frequently asked question is: Should I block third-party cookies in incognito? If incognito keeps your website activity hidden, then what’s the meaning of blocking third-party cookies in incognito?

Unless you’re using a niche browser, entering incognito mode almost certainly disables third-party cookies. Using a browser with any appreciable market share should be fine where third-party cookies are concerned. While your browser will store cookies in incognito mode while you have the window open, it’ll delete them as soon as you close it, stopping third parties from tracking you.

Some modern web browsers also provide a “Do Not Track” option that you can toggle, which has the same effect as disabling third-party cookies, even when you’re not in incognito. Here’s how to block tracking cookies in Chrome and other major web browsers and operating systems.

How to block tracking cookies in Google Chrome

Here’s how to block tracking cookies in Chrome and other major web browsers and operating systems.

If you have Chrome, here are some ways to block tracking cookies in your browser:

Step 1: First, tap or click the menu icon in the upper-right corner of your open Chrome Window.

Step 2: In the menu that drops down, select Settings.

Step 3: Within Settings, find the Privacy and Security section.

Step 4: Select Cookies and other site data.

Step 5: The resulting menu gives you granular control over third-party cookies in windows, incognito windows, and more — including blocking them entirely.

Why are cookies a problem for privacy?

This is a problem for the privacy-minded. There are ethical and possibly legal ramifications for what that website or online service is doing. However, users can receive a detailed summary of any browser fingerprinting or user profiling going on behind the scenes. If so, they must select “yes” in an accompanying opt-in form. States and territories like California and the U.K. are trying to open the “black box” of web-user data-gathering practices using privacy-focused legislation.

There are reasons why this technology exists and reasons a user may wish to opt-in. One way or another, people see advertisement at various points in their day. Some internet users might not mind the prospect of more relevant ads.

Whether or not the methods used to target those ads are ethical is a question best left to individuals. If you want to know more about cookie privacy, check out Digital Trends’ piece here: Are cookies crumbling our privacy? We asked an expert to find out.

How to disable third-party cookies in Safari

Here’s how to disable cookies in Safari’s browser:

Step 1: Click Safari > Preferences in the menu bar for your open Safari window.

Step 2: Navigate to the Privacy panel in the menu that opens.

Step 3: Beside Cookies and Website Data, click the button for Block All Cookies.

Step 4: If you’re using iOS or iPadOS, open the Settings app and navigate to the Safari settings. Under Privacy & Security, toggle the Block All Cookies switch to on.

How to disable third-party cookies in Firefox

If you have Firefox, here’s how to disable third-party cookies in your browser:

Step 1: Select the main menu from the upper-right corner.

Step 2: Select Options > Privacy & Security in the drop-down menu.

Step 3: You’ll see a Browser Privacy section. To block cookies, move the toggle from Standard protection to Custom protection.

Step 4: Custom protection provides options to block all third-party cookies, third-party cookies from sites you didn’t visit, and other options.

mozilla firefox chrome review comparison 2020 mozillafirefoxcomentillustration

Mozilla

How to disable third-party cookies on Android and iOS

Disable third-party cookies on Android if you’re using Chrome. You can do so easily using the above steps. If you’re using an alternative browser, that product may have its own settings for manipulating or disabling cookies. Chrome on Android has the benefit of offering third-party cookie-blocking functionality even for websites you’ve otherwise whitelisted.
If you’re looking for a similar system-level cookie-disabling setting for iOS, you’ll only find it for Safari (as described in the steps above). Alternate browsers will have individual settings.

Why you might want to block third-party cookies

You may want to know a little more about cookies. You may ask: What is a browser tracker, and is a cookie the same thing? For our purposes, the answer is “yes.”
Whereas first-party cookies help provide a smooth user experience and ensure all elements display as intended, third-party cookies track user and device metrics for a range of possibly questionable purposes.

What do third-party cookies do?

The most common reason for implementing third-party cookie functionality is for ad revenue. Using cookies, ad services can target certain demographics and user groups based on their cookie “bread crumbs.”
From web searches to site-specific browsing history, it’s all up for grabs. It’s even possible for advertisers to track users across websites if those websites are members of the same ad services network.

Why are third-party cookies a problem for privacy?

This is a problem for the privacy-minded. There are ethical and possibly legal ramifications for what that website or online service is doing. However, users can receive a detailed summary of any browser fingerprinting or user profiling going on behind the scenes. If so, they must select “yes” in an accompanying opt-in form. States and territories like California and the U.K. are trying to open the “black box” of web-user data-gathering practices using privacy-focused legislation.

There are reasons why this technology exists and reasons a user may wish to opt in. One way or another, people see advertisements at various points in their day. Some internet users might not mind the prospect of more relevant ads.

Whether or not the methods used to target those ads are ethical is a question best left to individuals.

What are some examples of third-party cookies?

Some of the most prolific third-party cookies originate from just two companies: Google and Facebook. The most common third-party trackers from these two technology multinationals include:
* Google Analytics —
Used by marketers and webmasters to analyze web traffic and user behaviors in order to tailor content and marketing efforts.
* Google Doubleclick and AdSense —
Marketers and webmasters use these ad services to target relevant ads to users based on their behavior on the website and potentially across other websites.
* Facebook —
Even something as innocuous as a Like button, embedded content, or a Log In With Facebook option may be enough for companies to form a user profile using Facebook cookies.

Third-Party Cookies Aren’t for Everyone
All of this is probably enough to leave you wondering: With all of the problems associated with web tracking, which browser does not track me and my internet searches?
Avast Browser, Brave, and Safari often receive shout-outs for obfuscating certain browser fingerprinting clues by default. Firefox and Microsoft Edge receive their own accolades for implementing more security-focused DNS protocols.
For most people, third-party cookies are mostly benign, even if they’re somewhat intrusive and a little creepy. If you want to take internet security more seriously than most, however, and remove one more tool bad actors can use to track your online activity, consider blocking third-party cookies using this guide.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

Vivaldi adds an email client and calendar into your browser

Vivaldi has just released an update introducing a number of useful features that are built into the browser itself.

Starting with today’s patch, the browser features a full-blown email client, as well as a calendar and feed reader. Should Vivaldi’s competition begin to worry?

Vivaldi is a smaller browser that many users may have not even heard of just yet. Seeing as the market is still dominated by Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and Safari, some stat counters don’t even register Vivaldi and simply lump it in with other similar browsers. However, today’s update just might become the push that Vivaldi needed in order to gain a bit more interest from the internet at large.

Instead of utilizing separate email clients such as Microsoft Outlook or resorting to using Gmail and Google Calendar, Vivaldi users can now access all of these functionalities from within the browser. The feature, called Vivaldi Mail 1.0, sets out to do more than just be a built-in email client — which makes sense. After all, both Gmail and Outlook can be used through the browser, and accessing them is as easy as clicking a bookmark. That’s why Vivaldi seems eager to stand out a bit by making your emails easier to manage.

Perhaps the nicest feature provided by Vivaldi Mail is the fact that you can combine all of your email services into one, be it a Gmail, Outlook, or Yahoo account. Vivaldi indexes all your emails, meaning that you can go back to them when you’re offline, and this applies even to emails you haven’t had the chance to open just yet. Vivaldi teases that it will automatically detect your mailing lists and mail threads, as well as give you the option to search through everything with ease.

Vivaldi also tackles an issue that many of us have, which is having too many email folders, resulting in a general sense of disorganization. The browser automatically sorts your mail into different views and folders. Each email can be placed in multiple views at once, so if several categories apply to one message, you’ll find it in the right folders.

Vivaldi

Users can swap between different views and toggle them on or off, so if you want to hide all the junk mail, you can. All of the views are visible by default, so you’ll likely want to go into the settings and disable a couple when you first set it up. The browser also provides configurable shortcuts that make it easier to compose a new email, reply to existing emails, and more.

Vivaldi’s calendar tool looks much the same as other calendars, but it lets you choose whether you want to use a local calendar or an online calendar. It can also be sorted into different views, allowing you to choose how much information you want to see per event. The built-in RSS feed also offers a range of customization options that should help you filter out the spam and keep the interesting news.

Today’s update certainly provides some interesting features, but will it be enough to truly put Vivaldi on the board? It might be, but Google and Microsoft can rest easy — their numbers are way too high for a smaller player like Vivaldi to quickly catch up. Be that as it may, this could be an interesting option for users who long for a more streamlined experience across many services.

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Security

DuckDuckGo’s privacy-centric browser arrives on Mac

DuckDuckGo’s privacy-focused browsing app is available in beta on Mac, but you’ll have to join a private waitlist to gain access. Just like the mobile browsing app, DuckDuckGo on Mac uses the DuckDuckGo search engine by default, automatically blocks web trackers, and comes with the famous “Fire” button that burns up your browsing history and tabs in a single click.

The browsing app also comes with a new feature that’s supposed to help block those pesky cookie consent pop-ups that appear when you first open a website. DuckDuckGo says it will clear them on 50 percent of sites, while automatically selecting the option that blocks or minimizes the cookies that track you. Allison Goodman, the senior communications manager at DuckDuckGo, told The Verge that the company plans on increasing this coverage “significantly” as the beta progresses.

DuckDuckGo’s privacy feed breaks down tracking attempts by site.
Image: DuckDuckGo

You’ll also gain access to a privacy feed that appears on DuckDuckGo’s homepage. It looks quite a bit like the Privacy Report on Safari’s homepage, but instead of just showing how many trackers it blocked, it breaks down tracking by site and lets you clear data on each one. In addition, DuckDuckGo won’t load the content on sites — like Facebook — that put trackers in embedded content. It will instead show a notification that warns you about the tracking and asks if you wish to proceed.

DuckDuckGo won’t load content on sites that try to get around tracker blockers.
Image: DuckDuckGo

Some other perks include a built-in password manager (that DuckDuckGo says it’s working on bringing to the mobile app), the ability to import passwords, history, and bookmarks from other browsers, as well as its Smarter Encryption tool that directs you to sites that use encrypted HTTPS connections more often. DuckDuckGo also says it stores your bookmarks, history, and passwords locally, and the company can’t access this information.

As we noted in our first post about DuckDuckGo’s new browser, DuckDuckGo for Mac doesn’t fork an existing browser like Chrome. It’s built off of the rendering engine used by Safari, also known as WebKit. Because of this, DuckDuckGo claims its browser is faster than Chrome “on some graphics performance” measured using the MotionMark 1.2 benchmark, and it says it uses 60 percent less data than Chrome (which we all know is a RAM hog).

“Beyond rendering, all the code is ours — written by DuckDuckGo engineers with privacy, security, and simplicity front of mind,” Beah Burger-Lenehan, DuckDuckGo’s senior director of product, says in the post. “This means we don’t have the cruft and clutter that has accumulated in browsers over the years, both in code and design, giving you a modern look and feel and a faster speed.”

To join the waitlist for the browser, download (or update) the DuckDuckGo app on mobile. Then head to Settings and select the DuckDuckGo for Desktop option from the Privacy section. You’ll have to wait to receive a notification from the app, which will contain an invite code and link you can use to download the browser on your Mac. DuckDuckGo says it’s currently letting people into the beta in waves.

As for Windows, DuckDuckGo says an app — built using the operating system’s default Chromium-based Edge rendering — is “coming soon.” DuckDuckGo also hopes to bring its browser to Linux in the future but says it’s focused primarily on Windows and Mac for now.

The one thing I’m really looking forward to with DuckDuckGo’s new browser, though, is its cookie consent blocker (which it can hopefully bring to mobile at some point). I’m curious to see how many notifications it can really block, and if it has any impact on performance. There’s also the question of how DuckDuckGo’s browser compares to Brave, a Chromium fork that’s already available on Mac, Windows, and Linux that offers some of the same ad- and tracker-blocking capabilities.

Update April 12th 12:40PM ET: Updated to add that DuckDuckGo plans on expanding its cookie consent blocker beyond 50 percent.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Security

Microsoft’s Chromium-based Edge browser has tools to protect your privacy

One of the things that many people look for in a browser is how it protects their privacy against all the various trackers that are hidden in many of the sites out there. Microsoft Edge, the Chromium-based browser that is built into current versions of Windows, has its share of protections as well — it’s even adding its own VPN to the mix. Edge includes tools to block both first-party cookies (used to keep you logged in or remember the items in your shopping cart) and third-party tracking cookies (used to keep track of your browsing activity).

Here are instructions on how to change your settings, see what trackers are stored on your browser, and delete any cookies. We also address how Edge deals with fingerprinting, another method of tracking that identifies users by collecting details about their system configuration.

Deal with trackers

Edge blocks trackers by default using one of three different levels of protection. Balanced, which is active upon installation, blocks some third-party trackers along with any trackers designated as “malicious.” This mode takes into account sites you visit frequently and the fact that an organization may own several sites; it lowers tracking prevention for organizations you engage with regularly. Basic offers more relaxed control; it still blocks trackers but only those Microsoft describes as “malicious.” You can also switch to Strict, which blocks most third-party trackers across sites.

To change your level of protection:

  • Click on the three dots in the top-right corner of your browser window and go to Settings. Select Privacy, search, and services from the left-hand menu.
  • Make sure Tracking prevention is switched on, and then select which level you want.

Showing Edge’s three levels of privacy protection.

Edge blocks trackers by default using one of three different levels of protection.

Adjust your tracking settings

While Edge provides you with the three easy-to-choose tracking modes, you can also dive deeper to see which trackers are blocked and make exceptions for specific sites.

  • On the Privacy, search and services page, look for the Blocked trackers link just beneath the three tracking prevention modes. Click on that to see all of the trackers Edge has blocked.
  • Beneath the Blocked trackers link is the Exceptions link, where you can specify any sites where you want tracking prevention turned off.

The Blocked tracker page shows all of the trackers Edge has blocked. 

The Blocked tracker page shows all of the trackers Edge has blocked.

When you’re at a site, you can see how effective your tracking prevention is by clicking on the lock symbol on the left side of the top address field. The drop-down box allows you to view the associated cookies and site permissions, allow or disable pop-ups, tweak the tracking permissions for that site, and see what trackers have been blocked.

A drop down menu listing various privacy features.

Click on the lock symbol to see a count of your blocked trackers.

Clean up your cookies

Conveniently, Edge can delete several types of data each time you close it, including browsing history, passwords, and cookies.

  • Go back to Settings > Privacy, search, and services and scroll down to Clear browsing data.
  • Click the arrow next to Choose what to clear every time you close the browser.
  • Toggle on any of the data categories you’d like to be cleared each time you exit Edge. If you select Cookies and other site data, you can also choose any sites whose cookies you want to retain by clicking on the Add button.

Choose what data you want deleted when you close the browser.

Choose what data you want deleted when you close the browser.

You can also manually clear your cookies and other data at any point:

  • On the Privacy, search, and services page, look for Clear browsing data now, and click on the button labeled Choose what to clear. This will open up a smaller window with several options.
  • Select the type of data you want to delete.
  • You can also select a time range within which to delete that data: the last hour; the last 24 hours; the last seven days; the last four weeks; or all time.
  • There is also a link to clear your data if you’ve been using legacy websites in Internet Explorer mode. You are also warned that clearing your data will clear it across all synced devices. (But you can sign out of your Microsoft account to clear it only on that specific computer.)
  • Ready? Click Clear now.

Menu for manually deleting data.

You can also manually delete data.

There are other privacy features on the Privacy, search, and services page, including options to send “Do Not Track” requests. (Although the usefulness of such a request can be questionable.)

If you scroll down to the Security section of that page, you will see a number of features that you can turn on or off. They include Microsoft Defender SmartScreen, which can help protect from malicious sites and, if you turn it on, will block downloads of possibly dangerous apps. There is also a feature that will stop you from accidentally going to a problematic site due to a mistype.

Fingerprinting and ad blocking

According to Microsoft, the three tracking prevention modes will help protect against the type of personalization that leads to fingerprinting.

Edge does not block ads natively, but you can download ad-blocking extensions. Because the browser is now based on Chromium, many Chrome extensions (as well as extensions from the Microsoft Store) will work with this latest version of Edge, a distinct advantage.

Update May 10th, 2022, 10:30AM ET: This article was originally published on February 13th, 2020, and has been updated to reflect changes in the OS and the Edge app.

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Security

Are You Using Any of These Malicious Browser Extensions?

Extensions and add-ons are a great way to get more out of your browser, but they also offer a convenient route for cybercriminals to perform a variety of nefarious acts that could threaten the security of your PC and online activities.

Security firm Avast said this week that it has identified malicious software hidden in at least 28 third-party Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge extensions. Stats from the web stores suggest the extensions have received 3 million downloads globally.

The company said the malware could potentially redirect users to phishing sites, which could lead to an attempt to steal personal data.

The extensions work with popular online platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and Vimeo, and help users download videos and other content from the sites.

“The researchers have identified malicious code in the JavaScript-based extensions that allows the extensions to download further malware onto a user’s PC,” Avast said, adding that users have also reported that the add-ons are manipulating their online experience and redirecting them to other websites.

“The actors also exfiltrate and collect the user’s birth dates, email addresses, and device information, including first sign-in time, last login time, name of the device, operating system, used browser and its version, even IP addresses (which could be used to find the approximate geographical location history of the user),” the security firm noted.

But Avast said the main goal appears to be to monetize the traffic itself, with the perpetrators receiving a payment for every redirection to a third-party domain.

Avast malware researcher Jan Rubín said: “Our hypothesis is that either the extensions were deliberately created with the malware built-in, or the author waited for the extensions to become popular, and then pushed an update containing the malware. It could also be that the author sold the original extensions to someone else after creating them, and then the buyer introduced the malware afterwards.”

Avast’s discovery is an important reminder to always exercise caution when downloading an extension for your browser, and to make sure you have up-to-date antivirus software enabled. Now would also be a good time to review all of your browser extensions and to uninstall those that you rarely use.

Some of the infected extensions are still available for download, though Avast said it’s contacted Microsoft and Google and both companies are now investigating the issue. Browser creators are constantly on the lookout for dodgy extensions. Google, for example, eliminated 500 of them from its Chrome Web Store earlier this year.

Below are the affected extensions discovered by Avast. If you have any of these on your PC, you’re advised to uninstall them immediately and run a scan for malware.

Direct Message for Instagram
Direct Message for Instagram
DM for Instagram
Invisible mode for Instagram Direct Message
Downloader for Instagram
Instagram Download Video & Image
App Phone for Instagram
App Phone for Instagram
Stories for Instagram
Universal Video Downloader
Universal Video Downloader
Video Downloader for Facebook
Video Downloader for Facebook
Vimeo Video Downloader
Vimeo Video Downloader
Volume Controller
Zoomer for Instagram and Facebook
VK UnBlock. Works fast.
Odnoklassniki UnBlock. Works quickly.
Upload photo to Instagram
Spotify Music Downloader
Stories for Instagram
Upload photo to Instagram
Pretty Kitty, The Cat Pet
Video Downloader for YouTube
SoundCloud Music Downloader
The New York Times News
Instagram App with Direct Message DM

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
AI

Discover the stupidity of AI emotion recognition with this little browser game

Tech companies don’t just want to identify you using facial recognition — they also want to read your emotions with the help of AI. For many scientists, though, claims about computers’ ability to understand emotion are fundamentally flawed, and a little in-browser web game built by researchers from the University of Cambridge aims to show why.

Head over to emojify.info, and you can see how your emotions are “read” by your computer via your webcam. The game will challenge you to produce six different emotions (happiness, sadness, fear, surprise, disgust, and anger), which the AI will attempt to identify. However, you’ll probably find that the software’s readings are far from accurate, often interpreting even exaggerated expressions as “neutral.” And even when you do produce a smile that convinces your computer that you’re happy, you’ll know you were faking it.

This is the point of the site, says creator Alexa Hagerty, a researcher at the University of Cambridge Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence and the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk: to demonstrate that the basic premise underlying much emotion recognition tech, that facial movements are intrinsically linked to changes in feeling, is flawed.

“The premise of these technologies is that our faces and inner feelings are correlated in a very predictable way,” Hagerty tells The Verge. “If I smile, I’m happy. If I frown, I’m angry. But the APA did this big review of the evidence in 2019, and they found that people’s emotional space cannot be readily inferred from their facial movements.” In the game, says Hagerty, “you have a chance to move your face rapidly to impersonate six different emotions, but the point is you didn’t inwardly feel six different things, one after the other in a row.”

A second mini-game on the site drives home this point by asking users to identify the difference between a wink and a blink — something machines cannot do. “You can close your eyes, and it can be an involuntary action or it’s a meaningful gesture,” says Hagerty.

Despite these problems, emotion recognition technology is rapidly gaining traction, with companies promising that such systems can be used to vet job candidates (giving them an “employability score”), spot would-be terrorists, or assess whether commercial drivers are sleepy or drowsy. (Amazon is even deploying similar technology in its own vans.)

Of course, human beings also make mistakes when we read emotions on people’s faces, but handing over this job to machines comes with specific disadvantages. For one, machines can’t read other social clues like humans can (as with the wink / blink dichotomy). Machines also often make automated decisions that humans can’t question and can conduct surveillance at a mass scale without our awareness. Plus, as with facial recognition systems, emotion detection AI is often racially biased, more frequently assessing the faces of Black people as showing negative emotions, for example. All these factors make AI emotion detection much more troubling than humans’ ability to read others’ feelings.

“The dangers are multiple,” says Hagerty. “With human miscommunication, we have many options for correcting that. But once you’re automating something or the reading is done without your knowledge or extent, those options are gone.”

Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Computing

How to Update the Safari Browser on Your Mac

Apple has been consistent in updating Safari with new features in the past years, including performance enhancements and some whopping privacy upgrades. The MacOS Monterey update is also giving its browser a new look with Safari 15, a version that includes new web code support for more advanced pages, Passkey support for the iCloud Keychain, highlights to emphasize important information, and a whole lot more.

If you don’t have automatic updates turned on or are delaying certain updates for your Mac, you may not be able to benefit from the latest features right away. The solution is to manually update Safari itself — and fortunately, it’s quite easy to take care of. Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Head to the App Store

Log into your Mac and go to the App store. You can easily open it by selecting the Apple icon in the top-left corner of the MacOS screen and then select App Store.

Step 2: Check your Updates

MacOS App Store menu.

When the App Store first opens, look to the left-side menu. Toward the bottom, you should see a section called Updates. Navigate there to check on the status of available app updates.

Step 3: Update Safari if available

Pending updates on the MacOS App Store.

The Updates section is divided into several parts depending on the status of your apps. There may be a Pending section for apps that are in queue to be updated but need authorization or more time to complete. There could be an Updates Available section for apps that have available updates that haven’t been started yet. And you may also see a Recently Updated section to check on updates that have been recently applied.

Look for Safari in the Pending or Updates Available sections. If you see it look for a blue Update button to the right of the app. If available, select this to begin your Safari update.

Troubleshooting note: If it looks like something is wrong with Safari, such as a pending update that can’t complete or a notice that says something like Unable to Update Safari, then you should try rebooting your Mac and updating again to see if this helps. If it does not work, you should check on your MacOS updates. If your version of MacOS has fallen behind the latest updates for Safari, it may not be available until you complete a more comprehensive upgrade.

Remember, you can typically use this full MacOS update method to update Safari at any time. However, since a MacOS update requires backing up your data and logging out of everything beforehand, it’s not always a feasible option if you’re in the middle of some long-term work. Updating Safari by itself may be a better option.

Step 4 (optional): Add Safari extensions

Safari extensions in the App Store.

If you are excited about a new extension that has recently come to Safari, a standard update won’t include it — you’ll have to add it yourself. In the App Store, select the Categories option in the menu. In the list that appears, select Safari Extensions.

The latest extensions available for Safari.

Here, you will be able to view the latest extensions and add them to Safari as you prefer. If you want some ideas, check out our list of the best browser extensions.

Reinstalling Safari

Keep in mind that you can choose to delete Safari entirely. If it looks like Safari has a bug or performance issue, deleting the app and reinstalling it is one method of getting everything up to date while fixing your issue. However, the only way to reinstall Safari this way is to reinstall MacOS altogether. You won’t lose any data, but it will take longer to do, so always be careful when deleting Safari.

A note about Safari on Windows

Yes, you can technically download Safari on Windows. However, since Safari 5, Apple has stopped working on this Windows version of the app, so no updates will be available for it. That also means that security and performance for the Windows version have fallen by the wayside, so we don’t suggest using this app at all.

For more information, you may be interested in checking out our best browsers for Mac, and the best web browsers in general based on their lastest updates!

Editors’ Choice




Repost: Original Source and Author Link

Categories
Tech News

Remember iPods? This one lives in your browser and plays Spotify

The iPod changed the way we enjoyed our favorite tunes on the go when it launched in 2001. And while there were loads of other MP3 players on the market then, none came close to matching Apple’s incredibly intuitive wheel interface. If you missed your chance to try it, or simply miss your beloved iPod, fire this one up in your mobile browser.

Frontend developer Tanner Villarete’s clever creation resembles the 6th generation iPod Classic from 2007 (incidentally, the same one I had and loved), and works just like the real thing — except, it works with your Spotify and Apple Music libraries!

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Computing

Best Browser Extensions to Maximize Your Productivity

If you’re looking for a way to boost your productivity, cut out distractions, and get more stuff done during the workday, we’ve got just the ticket. For this article, we’ve handpicked a selection of browser extensions that can significantly increase your productivity if used correctly.

To make things easier, we’ve also included a link to each extension’s download page, so you can immediately install them on any Chromium-based browser, like Google Chrome or Brave. Many of the extensions in this list are are also available on Edge, Safari, Firefox, and Opera, but Chrome users can rest assured that everything below is definitely compatible with your browser.

Todoist

Todoist is basically a to-do list on steroids, and while it’s certainly not the only extension of its kind, it’s easily one of the most popular options for folks looking to better organize their time. The extension lets you create and manage tasks and projects for yourself, though you can also share them with others, including friends, family, or co-workers.

The extension features an attractive dashboard that includes progress information presented as charts. Todoist can be synchronized across your devices, too, enabling you to quickly review outstanding tasks wherever you are. The creators of Todoist claim that its extension will help you end each day in a position to “rest, relax, and recharge for tomorrow.” ToDoist for Chrome browser.

Momentum

Momentum screenshot.

Momentum doesn’t mess around. And it doesn’t let you mess around, either. Right when your browser’s start page opens, Momentum hits you with the message: “Good morning, what is your main focus for today?” This prompts you to immediately consider what’s most important for you to get done that day.

Typing in your main goal for the day adds it to your to-do list, which is accessible via a button at the bottom right of the page. New tabs that you open not only remind you of your main goal for the day, but also include relaxing images to calm your mind and inspirational quotations to keep you motivated. Momentum for Chrome browser.

BlockSite

BlockSite screenshot.

BlockSite promises to help you “stop procrastination once and for all.” If you’re a skilled time waster and BlockSite’s lofty claim elicits a self-satisfied snicker, then take note — the huge popularity of BlockSite suggests it may well help you out. Setup includes adding websites to your block list so that BlockSite knows when to step in to stop you from straying from important tasks.

The extension also includes a Focus Mode timer feature that lets you control your schedule using the Pomodoro Technique, a method that encourages greater productivity by helping you break up your tasks into intervals — often of 25 minutes — followed by a short break to relax and recharge. Focus Mode also briefly opens the door to your blocked sites before prompting you to get back to work. BlockSite for Chrome browser.

Noisli

Noisli screenshot.

Noisli is a neat little extension that uses sound to create a pleasant environment, whether you’re working, studying, or simply trying to relax. The audio tracks are drawn mostly from nature and include birdsong, falling leaves, rainfall, wind, and waves. Other options include a whirring fan, coffee shop chatter, and the gentle hum of a train ride.

You can choose to listen to a single sound or take a moment to create your own soundscape (don’t waste too much time on it, though!) using two or more of the available tracks. If you’re happy with your creation, you can save it for repeat plays. Noisli also offers its own playlists comprising premade combinations of particular sounds. For more variety, the extension also features a “random” button. Noisli offers Pro and Business versions for a small annual fee, but the free offering should suffice for most people. Noisli for Chrome browser.

OneTab

OneTab screenshot.

OneTab’s focuses is in its name: One tab. If your usual workflow involves opening numerous browser tabs, you’ll know how crazy it can get when they start to cram together at the top of the screen. This handy extension helps by holding all of your open tabs in a single tab. Click on it and you’ll get a drop-down list of everything you have open, with details of each page easily visible. Simply click on the desired tab to go straight to the page. The creators of OneTab claim the extension can save as much as 95% of your web browser memory because it’s designed to only use a single tab. OneTab for Chrome browser.

Workona

Workona screenshot.

Workona is a more feature-rich version of OneTab that may better suit some users. This powerful tool endeavors to lower your stress levels by helping you organize and manage your work on the web. Workona offers a suite of features, including workspaces that let you keep a group of related tabs inside a single folder for easy access. You can create multiple workspaces for multiple projects, and switch between each one in a single click. When you select a workspace, all of the tabs that it contains will appear at the top of the browser. The extension autosaves these tabs, too, so you never have to worry about losing them.

Workona lets you work by yourself, but you can also hook up with co-workers and share workspaces if you need to collaborate. If you ever find yourself tensing up at the sight of endless tabs on your browser, then Workona can calm you down and put you back in control. Workona for Chrome browser.

Pocket

Pocket screenshot.

Pocket is a popular read-it-later service that can help enthusiastic procrastinators focus on the task in hand. Say you’re researching a topic online and you get distracted by other articles that threaten to take you down a rabbit hole. To stay on task, you can simply send them to Pocket and read them at a more convenient time on any synced device.

The service includes an app and an extension, with the latter allowing you to save a webpage by clicking on the Pocket button in your browser. You can also right click on a link to save it to Pocket. If you’re not already using Pocket, now’s the time to take it for a spin. Pocket for Chrome browser.

Mercury Reader

Mercury Reader screenshot.

If Pocket helps you to avoid a massive diversion from the job at hand, then you’ll have more time to deal with articles that you do need to read. However, the articles may be surrounded by all kinds of distractions, potentially causing both your mind and eyes to wander where they shouldn’t. That’s where Mercury Reader comes in.

This extension cleverly strips away all of the extraneous material from a webpage, leaving you with only the text and images connected to the article. A single button or quick keyboard shortcut lets you switch to the simplified view in a flash, with extra buttons allowing you to quickly adjust the font and text size. Mercury Reader for Chrome browser.

LastPass

LastPass screenshot.

Endless surveys suggest that people are still using ridiculously simple passwords for their online accounts, or the same password for multiple ones. Both methods risk a whole lot of bother down the road, so why not just use a password manager instead? They make the business of organizing and managing your online accounts so much easier, and mean you no longer have to remember gazillions of passwords or risk your online security by writing them all down.

While there are lots of password managers out there, LastPass is an established and reliable multiplatform option that means from this day forward you’ll only have to remember one password. LastPass for Chrome browser.

Extensity

Extensity screenshot.

Now, if you find yourself loading up lots of browser extensions, there may be a time when a website’s performance is impacted by one or more of them, preventing a page from behaving as it should. When this happens, you’ll want to temporarily switch off different extensions until you find the culprit. On the Chrome browser, for example, this is a somewhat cumbersome process involving multiple steps. But with the Extensity, you can turn extensions on and off in two quick clicks.

This is also great for extensions that you only want to use for certain tasks. In other words, you can turn it off once you’re done, thereby reducing the clutter at the top of your browser and preventing any issues that may arise with other websites and extensions. Extensity can also help ease the strain on your computer’s CPU. Extensity for Chrome browser.

Editors’ Choice




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