Everybody uses the internet, but are you using the best browser for you? Have you taken advantage of newer features? We commonly come across users who say, “I didn’t know you could do that.” Here are 9 ways you can use browsers better!
1. Switch To An External Password Manager
We can’t recommend password managers enough. You may have started using the password manager in your browser. Unfortunately, this means your passwords are tied to that particular browser. External password managers, like 1Password, LastPass, or Dashlane, integrate with all major browsers and work across all devices. Once you start using a password manager, you’ll find it hard to go back.
2. Try Another Browser
The biggest names available include Chrome, Edge, Firefox, and Safari. If you haven’t used one of these in a while, give them a shot. Browsers change and evolve constantly. For example, past experience tells us to stay away from Microsoft’s browsers (Explorer and Edge). Finally, Microsoft gave up. The “Updated Edge” is actually Chrome in a Microsoft skin. They’ve added multiple features on top of it, and the end result works really well now. Give Microsoft another chance, and you might be pleasantly surprised.
3. Change Your Default Browser
Now that you have another browser, you can tell your device to use that browser by default when clicking links. On Windows, go to Settings -> Apps -> Default Apps -> Web browser. On macOS, open System Preferences -> General -> Default web browser. For Android, head to Settings -> Apps & Notifications -> Advanced -> Default apps -> Browser app. iOS 14 now has this capability also, but it’s a little buried. Launch the Settings app, and scroll down to the browser you like (it must be installed). Inside will be a Default Browser App option.
4. Mute Obnoxious Tabs
For some reason, many sites think we want videos and sound to assault us as soon as we land on the page. Browsers try to help by showing a speaker icon on the tab making all that noise. You can easily mute it by right-clicking on the tab, then selecting Mute Tab or Mute Site. Silence the auditory onslaught!
5. Switch To Reading Mode
Some browsers provide a feature called reading mode. It strips all the extra junk out of a page including ads, videos, and more. The button typically looks like a page with text or a book (you should see it on this page). You won’t find it in Chrome, but you can add a Reader Mode extension that does the same thing.
6. Check Out Extensions
Speaking of extensions… you can find extensions for nearly every browser out there. They add additional functionality to your browser in more ways than you can imagine. Improve tab management, send items on a page to Evernote, and even capture your screen. Find the extensions area in your browser’s settings, then look for the link to an extension library or store.
Unfortunately, you can end up with extensions you didn’t know about (both good and bad). While you’re looking at extensions, disable any you don’t recognize or aren’t using. Give it a few days, and remove any you don’t miss.
7. Use An Adblocker
Ads have spread everywhere across the internet these days. An adblocker extension removes as many ads as it can. This results in cleaner sites with fewer distractions. Some sites dependent on ad revenue will detect your adblocker and ask you to turn it off, but many will allow you to continue anyway. A few force you to whitelist their site or create an account (we’re looking at you Forbes).
8. Launch Multiple Pages On Startup
Chrome, Edge, and Firefox offer the ability to open pages automatically as soon as you launch the app. In Chrome and Edge, open Settings in the menu, then head to On Startup. Inside Firefox, open Preferences and go to the Home tab. From here, you can add multiple pages to open automatically.
9. Browsers Need Maintenance Too
This may come as a surprise, but browsers need about the same attention as your device. Updates need to be installed, the cache needs to be cleared, and sometimes you need to restart it (or restart your computer). Doing so can improve performance dramatically. (Also, it helps if you don’t have 100 tabs open.)
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