One trick to make Safari on Mac useful

16 June 2018, 03:36

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I’ve a love and hate relationship with Safari on the Mac but have to admit it’s got better and better over recent years. It’s way better at power saving compared to the competition, for example, and its picture-in-picture feature is also incredibly useful when watching videos.

But it still does some odd things.

One of the irritations is that, if you’re using a trackpad, it reloads the page each time you two-finger swipe to go back. This can be slow but also infuriating if you’re scrolling through an auto-updating webpage list, for example, because the page will reload and you’ll be thrown back to the top of the list.

The solution is to activate three-finger back gesture—and then train yourself to make use of it. Here’s why: For reasons only known to Apple software engineers, using this gesture instead of the standard two-finger swipe means the page isn’t reloaded. It’s looks just as it did when you clicked away from it and it instantly appears without any redrawing or rendering.

The only caveat is that—again for reasons unknown to we mere morals—the three-finger swipe gesture works in the opposite direction compared to the two-finger swipe. (Well, on my Mac at least—let me know if you Mac is different in the comments.) In other words, while you swipe your two fingers right to go back with the two-finger gesture, you have to swipe in the left direction when using three fingers.

Activating three-finger swipe is easy. Just open System Preferences (in the Applications list of Finder), then click the Trackpad icon. Then ensure the More Gestures tab is selected, and underneath the Swipe Between Pages heading, select Swipe With Two or Three Fingers. This is a good option because you can still use two-fingers, so can avoid the frustration if you forget you’ve changed the settings.

Give it a try. It could be revolutionary.

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