How to add favicons to Safari tabs and bookmarks bar on Mac [Video]

I love Safari, but one of the things that always tempts me to go back to Google Chrome is the lack of favicons in the tabs bar. It sounds like such a simple thing, but when you have several tabs open at the same time, having to rely on text to differentiate one tab from another proves to be quite difficult.

I’m not sure why Safari has always lacked favicon support on the tabs bar, but it’s something that is annoying enough to make me strongly consider Google Chrome, even with all of the advantages that Safari brings to the table. I’ve long thought that I was one of the few who felt this way, but apparently I’m not alone.

After a post on Daring Fireball, independent iOS and Mac developer Daniel Alm took it upon himself to provide a solution. The end result, Faviconographer, isn’t a perfect implementation of favicons within Safari, but it’s good enough to warrant consideration. Watch our hands-on video for a brief look at the tweak in action.

Using Faviconographer to enable favicons on Safari tabs

Step 1: Download and install Faviconographer.

Step 2: Run the utility.

Step 3: Open System Preferences → Security & Privacy → Accessibility and enable Faviconographer.

Step 4: Configure the utility’s preferences to your liking (enabled favicons on tabs, bookmarks bar, or both).

Faviconographer is a hack, so don’t expect it to work perfectly. It utilizes macOS’ Accessibility API in order to calculate the position of your open Safari tabs. It then superimposes the favicon related to the tab’s website on the tab itself.

Keeping this in mind, favicons will only show up when the Safari window has focus. You’ll also notice that it takes some time for the favicons to recalculate their position when moving the Safari window, or when moving tabs.

Video walkthrough

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Despite the hack’s shortcomings, favicons are important enough to me that I’m willing to overlook them. It would be much better if the Safari team natively implemented deeper favicon support within the browser, but until that happens, this is the best solution that I’ve seen thus far.

Alm is offering his utility for free, but if you wish to lend support his way, he also produces a productivity Mac app called Timing, of which much of Faviconographer’s code base originated from.

What do you think?

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Avatar for Jeff Benjamin Jeff Benjamin

Jeff produces videos, walkthroughs, how-tos, written tutorials and reviews. He takes pride in being able to explain things in a simple, clear and concise manner.