Quick… how prevalent are trackers on the sites you visit? Do you know? Do you want to know? If you’re using the Safari browser on macOS, you have everything you need to view this built-in information right in the browser. The tool in question is called the Privacy Report, and it’s easy to access and use. With the privacy report, you can see the reported domains as well as the sites that tracked you from those domains.
The information Safari collects will be a real eye-opener for many users who probably had no idea about the prevalence of trackers. With this information in hand, you might be inclined to stop visiting a site or make sure the site is unable to keep up.
The good news is that Safari is pretty good at blocking trackers. But having this information available to you can help you make informed decisions about how to approach your online behavior.
Also: How to Get More Space in Safari with Compact Layout
There are two ways to view this information: site by site or from a global dashboard. I’ll show you how to do both. What you end up doing with the information is entirely up to you. On several occasions, I stopped visiting sites that were using an inordinate amount of trackers (whether they were blocked or not).
That said, how do you see Safari’s privacy report? Let’s dig and find out. I’ll be demoing Safari 15.6.1 running on a MacBook Pro with MacOS Monterey.
How to view the privacy report by site
1. Open a website
Open Safari and go to a site you frequent.
2. Open the privacy report
Click the shield icon directly to the left of Safari’s address bar (Figure 1).
Click “Trackers on this web page” (Figure 2).
Once you expand the entry, you should see the list of trackers blocked by Safari. To be honest, I was surprised how little Safari took. And after a quick refresh, Safari found no new trackers, which leads me to believe the web browser is doing its job.
Next, we will look at the privacy report of all sites.
How to view the Global Privacy Report
1. Open the Privacy Report pop-up window
As you did to open the report by site, click on the shield icon. This time, however, click the circled “i” in the upper left corner of the pop-up window to view the overall privacy report (picture 3).
If you expand any of the entries in the Websites tab, you’ll see a list of all trackers blocked by Safari (Figure 4).
The Trackers tab keeps an even deeper overview of trackers blocked by Safari (Figure 5).
What can you do with this information?
The Safari Privacy Report is a tool that gives you information; it is not a way to act. The reason is that the web browser has already taken action by blocking trackers. What you see is the work of Safari.
However, as I said earlier, you can use this information to make informed decisions about the websites you visit. Even though Safari may block a tracker, that doesn’t mean the tracker will stop trying to do its job.
For example, Safari blocked branch.io and google-analytics.com from following me on Twitter, but they keep trying (and failing…thanks to Safari). But now that I know Twitter is trying to put these trackers on me, if it concerned me, I could choose to stop visiting the site or use a web browser for Twitter which is even more aggressive in blocking trackers (like Firefox with its Custom Option for Enhanced Tracker Protection).
These days, trusting websites can be a dangerous proposition. You need to stay informed about what’s going on with the sites you visit, so that you and your privacy can be better protected.