The StopTheMadness browser extension has a different response: “It’s your browser and your experience, so why not let an extension put you back in control at your fingertips? Buy and install this $9.99 extension, and you can ignore most frustratingly behaving websites trying to pry. You can optionally block certain forms of URL-based tracking.
While visiting some sites, you may have noticed that the context menu (Control/right-click) gets disabled. And other behaviors are often changed as well. You cannot copy and paste items on the page. You continue to type in a field, but additional characters are not recognized. You are not warned either. You cannot select text or drag an image from a page to the Finder. Command-click doesn’t open a tab – and trying to close a tab requires you to click a Safari warning to continue. AutoComplete and AutoFill not working or hovering. You can use the StopTheMadness demo page without the extension installed to see many of these restrictions in action.
The developer is confident that the default StopTheMadness settings will not cause problems with the browser commands it affects. The extension also displays shorter lists of those it might interfere with, page operations, and those that will often encounter interference.
But you can choose and change the choices that are unreliable. You can also add parameters per site. This can be useful if you don’t usually experience problems and want to add “malicious actors” as specially configured cases; or the other way around, where your choices work almost everywhere, but you need to add exceptions for some sites. If a site has its own custom context menu, you can hold down the Option key to reveal it instead of Safari without any special configuration.
While the extension aimed to put you back in control of page loads and actions, it also provides a variety of methods to disable unwanted tracking via URLs and clicks. For example, many sites use a variety of common URL shorteners to avoid revealing what kind of information they have embedded in the link to track your actions. StopTheMadness develops shortened URLs in a sandbox that avoids disclosing information about you or your browser until the ultimate real URL is retrieved. Your click then sends you directly to the destination. The extension also removes some well-known types of tracking variables that you may have seen, such as utm_sourcewhich bypasses the removal of referral URL data enabled by the increased use of secure HTTPS connections to web servers.
StopTheMadness has lots of nice little touches around the edges that might delight you as you discover them. A feature I don’t remember seeing in any other browser extension: hover over links and use hotkeys for actions. Press Command-C while the pointer is hovering over a link and StopTheMadness will copy the link without “touching” (clicking) it; Command-X copies the link title. Hit Command-Delete and the extension removes the underlying HTML anchor element, removing the active link from the page! You are prompted before deletion, to avoid an unexpected result.
Command-V can also be used if you enable Copy link title and select a browser from the Elements tab of the extension preferences context menu. Hover over a link and press Command-V, and the link is immediately opened in that selected browser. You can also Control-click the link to display an open link with Browser name context menu item.
You can also define specific URLs and URL patterns that should open in another browser. You might, like me, have sites that break in Safari. (For me, this is an online shipping label printing site and my state’s health exchange site.) On the Web URL Rules tab, set the URLs that you want to match and the browser they should open to each time they are clicked.
There’s even more to StopTheMadness, like inserting custom CSS styling per site, as the app rewards study and customization.
The StopTheMadness extension works in Safari 15 and macOS Monterey and in Safari Technology Preview. Via the standalone StopTheMadness app, you can install it in Brave, Firefox, Google Chrome, and Microsoft Edge. StopTheMadness is also available in a separately purchasable version for Safari for iOS/iPadOS ($7.99) that has many of the same features.
Investing ten dollars in StopTheMadness gives you priceless peace of mind. It is an extension designed around your needs, not those of the sites you visit, with the advantage of allowing you to switch nimbly between browsers as needed for particular pages or sites.
This is StopTheMadness’ first appearance as Mac Gem..
With the strong resurgence of the Mac in recent years, we want to celebrate the tools we use and recommend to get the most out of your macOS experience. Mac Gems highlights great nuggets of Mac software, apps that have great utility, focus on a limited set of problems to solve, and are typically developed by an individual or a small business. Stay tuned for weekly updates and send your suggestions to the Mac Gems Twitter feed (@macgems).