PSA: Don't bother with the Windows version of Safari

Josiah Keller // April 18, 2016

Some people seem to be confused about Apple's Safari browser. I have no idea how widespread this is, but I've had to make this clarifaction on Stack Overflow, so there are at least a few people out there who don't realize that there's no point in testing your website in the Windows version of Safari.

Safari is the default browser on the Mac and on iOS. It's been around for a long time, it's a great browser, and it's generally underappreciated. Apple used to provide a Windows version of Safari as well. It was kind of cool, and until Chrome came out it was the only way for someone on Windows to have any idea how a WebKit-based browser would render a webpage. Even though it wasn't exactly the same as the Mac version, some people would install Safari on their Windows machines and use that to "test in Safari."

However, the Windows version of Safari was discontinued in 2012. Presumably, not that many people used it, which is not surprising since not that many people even use it on the Mac either. 2012 was, last I checked, four years ago. In 2012, you still had to vendor-prefix the border-radius CSS property. In 2012, no one had ever heard of React. In 2012, some holdouts still used Prototype.js. Testing against a browser that hasn't been updated in four years is pointless.

The current version of Safari as of OS X El Capitan and iOS 9 is Safari 9, whereas the last version released for Windows was somewhere in the 5.x range. Testing in Safari for Windows does not give you an accurate idea of what Mac Safari users will see, because the Mac version is so many major updates ahead. Testing in the Windows version of Safari only tells you how the site will work in the Windows version of Safari, and anyone who ever used the Windows version before most certainly doesn't anymore.

So don't waste your time on Safari for Windows. If you want to test on Safari, test it on a Mac and on an iPhone, preferably a few different sizes of iPhone, as well as each size of iPad if you can. Depending on the nature of your tests, you might be able to cheat by using an online service like BrowserStack. Don't expect the Windows version to be useful for anything. I really hope Apple has taken down the download link by now. It's just a source of confusion.