Apple adds WebP, HDR support, and more to Safari with iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur

Safari is making huge improvements this year with iOS 14, iPadOS 14, and macOS Big Sur. Apple shared a document this week detailing all the changes made to Safari 14 Beta, which now includes WebP support, universal extensions, and more.

One of the biggest changes this year is that Safari now supports the WebExtension API on macOS Big Sur. The WebExtension API is a cross-platform technology present in Chrome, Firefox, Edge, and other browsers to offer cross-platform extensions.

That means that Mac users will be able to install the same extensions available for other web browsers in Safari. According to Apple, developers can also use Xcode 12 to port WebExtensions to native Safari extensions to offer them on the App Store.

There’s also support for Google’s WebP image format in Safari 14, which allows images with transparency and less compression, but also keeps files smaller.

With iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, Safari can also play HDR videos for the first time. The company has enabled the VP9 codec for apps on iOS 14 and tvOS 14, which allows users to watch 4K HDR videos on YouTube for the first time, but Safari 14 has yet to receive this codec.

Not surprisingly, Flash support has been completely removed from Safari this year, meaning that users can no longer install and run Adobe Flash content in Apple’s browser with macOS Big Sur. Apple had already confirmed earlier this year that Flash would no longer be compatible with Safari, while Adobe itself said Flash will be discontinued in late 2020.

The company is also reinforcing its commitment to user privacy by highlighting and blocking website trackers, a feature that was highlighted during the WWDC 2020 keynote. Users will receive privacy alerts for every website they access, plus a monthly report when they open Safari.

Other changes include improved performance when uploading PDF files, improved VoiceOver support, alerts about possible leaked passwords, and a new way to use Touch ID and Face ID on websites.

You can find the full release notes for the Safari 14 beta on the Apple website.

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