Leaked Safari AI Features Show Apple’s Big Plans to Supercharge Its Browser

Safari icon shown through a magnifying glass on Mac
Tehatta, India – September 21, 2021: Apple has released a redesigned version of Safari for macOS Big Sur and Catalina. Safari Logo is shown through the Magnifying glass from Apple Mac.
In Short
  • 'Safari 18' will be the revamped version of the Safari browser, expected to be unveiled at WWDC on June 10, 2024.
  • The revamped Safari will bring changes to the UI, coupled with a trove of AI features.
  • This could prove to be a game changer for Safari which is lagging behind in the AI race.

At this point, it’s no secret that Apple has a trove of AI features planned which it will showcase at the upcoming WWDC 2024 which is scheduled for June 10. It seems that Apple’s first apps will be the major beneficiary of AI features. AppleInsider has revealed some of the AI features coming to the Safari browser with iOS 18 and macOS 15 and Apple has big plans for its browser.

First, Apple will revamp Safari and launch it as ‘Safari 18’. The revamped Safari will bring changes across the UI, new content-blocking features, and an AI-powered tool named Intelligent Search.

Safari 18 – Intelligent Search Feature

Safari 18 - Intelligent Search Feature
Image Courtesy: AppleInsider

Intelligent Search Feature on Safari is expected to take inspiration from Arc Browser’s Article Summarization feature. It is assumed that Apple will deploy the on-device AI LLM model dubbed Ajax to facilitate the feature. The feature will provide a quick summary of the selected text or an article on the internet.

While it may sound like the feature that other AI companies like ChatGPT and Google Gemini offer, the highlight would be the security as it will couple with the already existing Private Relay feature. For the uninitiated, Private Relay is a part of the iCloud+ subscription and obscures the websites you are visiting from your network provider and websites.

This would translate to a more secure search experience for users. An X user Nicolas Alvarez mentioned a similar feature in the upcoming Safari a few days back.

Web Eraser

Web Eraser
Image Courtesy: AppleInsider

Another Safari AI feature detailed by AppleInsider is Web Eraser. Currently, in testing, the Web Eraser feature in Safari would allow users to “remove, or erase, specific portions of web pages”. Using this feature in Safari, users would be able to remove ad banners, unwanted content, text, and images from a web page.

As for its implementation, Apple will remember the portion of the webpage that the user removed previously and a prompt will be shown to inform users about the erased content. Users, then, can choose whether to display the webpage with the trimmed content or with the original view. 1Blocker, a third-party ad blocker for Safari, already offers this feature.

Safari 18 UI Changes

Safari 18 UI
Image Courtesy: AppleInsider

There will be some UI changes as well in Safari 18 across menus and share sheet especially in macOS, making it easier for users to access various tools. Apple is working on bringing Safari settings and tools to a centralized menu instead of visiting the Settings app. Tapping on the menu button in Safari 18 will bring options like Erase Web Content, Turn Off Content Blockers, and Intelligent Browsing.

AI-Powered Visual Lookup (Coming in 2025)

Later in 2025, Apple will likely integrate an AI-powered Visual Lookup feature in Safari, which would work similarly to how Siri identifies Pets and People in the Photos app. Moreover, it will be a system-wide feature, meaning users will be able to see visual search results in Safari by selecting a photo. This feature is still in the testing phase and there’s no confirmation whether it will see the light of day.

Will Safari Finally Compete with Other Browsers?

In its current state, Safari is not far off from its competitors but the rivals are edging especially with new AI features. Recently, Arc browser became the talk of the town. My fellow colleague tried Arc browser on Windows and it opened up a new way to how you browse the web. Safari 18 with its rumored features could be on par with other browsers. Many of my friends already prefer Safari over Chrome for its simplicity and privacy features it offers. With new additions, it could solidify its position further.

Death Knell for Intel Mac Users?

With all the AI hype, it’d be noteworthy to see whether these new AI features on Safari would work on Intel-based Macs as Intel processors in Macs are devoid of neural engines. Unarguably, most of the AI features would leverage neural engine and in that case, it could be the final nail in the coffin for Intel Mac users.

For official confirmation we’ll have to wait until Apple unveils the new Safari, iOS 18, and macOS 15 at WWDC 2024.

What other features would you like to see in the new, revamped, AI-powered Safari?

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