Safari’s history and URL shorteners: Pretty useless

Posted by Pierre Igot in: Macintosh
February 16th, 2013 • 5:49 pm

Alright, if you are in Safari, go to this item posted by someone on Twitter (chosen randomly), and then click on the link provided in the tweet (

This should normally take you to a new window with the picture in question and the Safari window’s title bar and address bar should look like this:


Now, go to Safari’s history and look at how the last visited page (i.e. the page with the picture) there:


Incredibly useful, isn’t it? And it’s the same for each and every URL-shortened link that you open from within Twitter in Safari. Imagine opening ten such links in a row, and then looking at the corresponding history. How on earth are you supposed to figure out what URL corresponds to what web page?

This is not a new problem. Ted Landau wrote about it more than a year ago for Macworld. It’s still there, and there is no sign of Apple caring enough about the problem to actually fix it. It’s not a minor bug that only affects a small fraction of Mac users. It affects everyone with a Mac who clicks on Twitter links and then might want to use Safari’s history to go back to a page visited this way.

In my case, with kernel panics still unfortunately a regular occurrence for us with Mac Pros running multiple video cards and Safari’s failure to resume properly after quitting, I find myself having to use Safari’s history fairly regularly to bring back pages that I had loaded by clicking on links in Twitter but hadn’t yet had time to read properly.

The history feature is completely useless for those links. I have to reload all “(no title)” links manually one by one just to see which ones might be to pages that I hadn’t yet finished reading. It’s quite frustrating. And it’s an unforgivable flaw in Mountain Lion’s Safari.

UPDATE: Several readers have written to alert me of the existence of the Detox Safari extension. I didn’t mention it myself, because it was mentioned in the Ted Landau article referenced above. I agree with Ted’s take on it. It helps, but it’s not a panacea. It’s still unforgivable that, after all this time, Apple has done nothing to improve the situation.

2 Responses to “Safari’s history and URL shorteners: Pretty useless”

  1. Safari History and Shorteners : Clark's Tech Blog says:

    […] Safari’s history and url shorteners. This is a problem that’s been around a while. […]

  2. Betalogue » URLs for Google search results: now cruft-free? says:

    […] week, I wrote about the problem with shortened URLs in Safari’s History feature. A reader wrote to express his agreement and also mention similar issues he was experiencing with […]