Improve Your Safari Browsing Experience With These Automatic Redirects

Photo:  PixieMe (Shutterstock)
Photo: PixieMe (Shutterstock)

Browsing the internet has its perils. Some websites are borderline unusable thanks to pop-ups, ads, or poor design. If you encounter these sites frequently, automatic redirects can help take you to a better place (on the internet, at least).

Sometimes the desktop versions of websites have options that are missing from their mobile counterpart—you can make a redirect to switch to the desktop version of any site automatically. In other cases, you may prefer to open some sites in an app as opposed to the browser. Or you might want to automatically redirect a URL to remove paywalls from certain sites. In all of these cases, you’re going to need a browser extension to help.

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For Safari on iOS and macOS, Redirect Web is a good option: It’s a free download for up to two redirect rules, and you can pay $3.99 once to unlock unlimited rules. Once you’ve downloaded and installed this Safari extension, you can open it and set up the rules. Setting up redirects is easy enough, but you’ll need to understand the basics to use it successfully.

The simplest form of a redirect would be to change from one version of a site to another. For example, you can try to send all YouTube video links to an Invidious instance to remove tracking and add extra features, such as the ability to download videos. In this example, you want to put https://youtube.com/* in the Redirect From field, and https://vid.puffyan.us/$1 in the Redirect To field. This will force all YouTube videos to use the Invidious front-end on Safari. The asterisk at the end of the YouTube URL rule allows Redirect Web to pick up the URL no matter which video is playing. Similarly, the $1 parameter automatically pastes the text after YouTube.com into the redirected page.

This is the easiest set of parameters most people would find useful when trying out this extension. If you know a bit of JavaScript, you will be able to create much more complex redirect rules and set up this extension according to your needs. The screenshot below has a few examples of this and the same image is available on Redirect Web’s App Store page.

Screenshot:  Redirect Web
Screenshot: Redirect Web

If you’ve already purchased StopTheMadness ($4.99 on iPhone, $6.99 on Mac), it has a URL redirect feature too, along with plenty of other useful features, such as enabling copy-paste on websites that block it.

You should remember that the URL redirect feature will not work if you’ve disabled JavaScript.

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