One of Google Chrome’s best features is its use of favicons in tabs. Take a look at a crowded Chrome window and you’ll see each tiny tab has a colorful, easy-to-identify icon in it. Look at the same window in Safari and you get a mess of tabs with a few letters of the page title peeking out at you. It’s almost impossible to tell one site from another. That’s where Daniel Alm’s Faviconographer comes in. It’s an app with one purpose: to draw favicon onto Safari tabs.
Faviconographer puts icons in Safari tabs
Faviconographer is a standalone app from iOS and Mac developer Daniel Alm, the maker time tracking app Timing.
First, Faviconographer asks Safari for a list of its currently-open tabs. “It then uses that information to fetch the corresponding icons from Safari’s Favicon cache (WebpageIcons.db),” writes Alm, “and draws them above the Safari window.”
The app needs access to your Mac’s Accessibility settings to work, which is a potential security risk, and it only draws the icons onto the tabs when Safari is in the foreground. Also, the icons don’t move with the window — they float in space until you drop the window in a new location, and then they redraw in the correct spot.
Despite this, the app works well, mostly, and seeing the icons really does help to find your way around. Really, though, Apple should build this into Safari. It seems so basic, and is clearly a much better way of identifying tabs than a few letters squeezed into a tiny gray box.