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Mass confusion and dislike over Safari extension icon tinting

October 15 2021 by Jeff Johnson
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For background to this post, you can read yesterday's Apple vandalized my icon in the latest betas and The Safari extension blues from a few weeks ago. In this post I want to document the mass confusion and dislike over Safari extension toolbar icon tinting, which started with Safari version 14 in 2020, continues to the present, and was just made worse in the Safari 15.1 beta.

It's important to note that is there's no official Apple documentation explaining the significance of Safari extension toolbar icon tinting. I've looked everywhere in Safari and also searched extensively in Apple's support pages. The only way that anyone knows how this works is that occasionally a Safari engineer will respond to someone's perplexity. But this haphazard approach obviously doesn't scale to over a billion Safari users.

It's also important to note that due to confusion, users tend to blame Safari extension developers for the color instead of Apple. We get the complaints and the support issues about it, not Apple. In fact Apple doesn't even "eat its own dog food" and ship Safari extensions of their own to users. (Of course if they did, Apple would probably exempt itself from the icon tinting.)

The links I've collected here are anecdotal data, but I challenge anyone to try to collect anecdotal data to the contrary, showing Safari users who enjoy the extension toolbar icon tinting, find it useful, and would rather keep it than eliminate it. I haven't seen any. Safari's tinting "feature" seems to engender unanimous confusion and dislike.

After installing, they show up in my toolbar. The Safari Extension icons have an annoying blue tint color. What does the blue color mean? Is there any way to make them grayscale to match the other Safari toolbar icons?
https://apple.stackexchange.com/questions/425816/why-are-safari-extension-toolbar-icons-blue
I've just installed Safari 14 and found that my various toolbar extension icons are being drawn in a murky blue colour which makes them harder to read. I've no idea what it is meant to symbolise and I can't see any obvious preference setting to go back to the original appearance. Anyone know if there is a toggle to turn off this unwanted feature?
https://discussions.apple.com/thread/251804853
Safari 14: It's added some nice little things, but I haven't really noticed any real world changes based on how I use it - Aside from that 3rd party extensions now have blue icons for some reason?
https://twitter.com/Mattophobia/status/1286713858321780736
I so wish Safari allowed me to either make my extensions monochrome or hide them under an extensions icon like on Chrome.
https://twitter.com/boagworld/status/1355884955965022217
@1BlockerApp When can I make the Safari toolbar icon gray? That blue icon stands out too much
https://twitter.com/cajovxus/status/1347953284707975168
Replying to @1BlockerApp Ok :-( I can barely focus on the website because of that giant blue icon
https://twitter.com/cajovxus/status/1348916283597869056
@1Password feature request! Can we please have an option to make the icon in Safari (Big Sur) gray like all the other icons? I spend a *lot* of time in Safari, and that blue icon really distracts me!!!
https://twitter.com/brigleb/status/1334628185623855104
@1Password Hi. This is driving me absolutely up the wall. One blue icon...
https://twitter.com/Skroob/status/1329078718539526146
This is horrible! @1Password @AppleSupport @Apple @tim_cook Any way we can disable this highlight colour on Safari?
https://twitter.com/gady90/status/1328646331523534849
@1Password I missed the memo, what does the color of the icon mean in the browser toolbar button?
https://twitter.com/thats/status/1323379239756861440
@1Password Is there anyway to make the Safari icon grey in Big Sur on Safari?
https://twitter.com/sethkasky/status/1327669401819041792
@1Password: after the latest Safari update, 1Password safari extension icon is glowing red 🤔😳Why is it so alarmed? 😶
https://twitter.com/AnkitBhargava/status/1308028205446696961
Upgraded to Safari 14. I'm sure the fact that it changed extension button icons to orange is supposed to mean something, but I'll be damned if I know what.
https://twitter.com/ahockley/status/1306452713501204480
Such discoverable!
https://twitter.com/swrobel/status/1306989003434913793
@1Password Hi! Why is my button in Safari 14 blue? Is there a way to change this behaviour?
https://twitter.com/digitreo/status/1306493238732349442
@1BlockerApp Can this icon be Grey... Safari 14.. Every other icon in the toolbar is grey, but this.. a sore in the eye
https://twitter.com/theshapguy/status/1306419920213667840
@1Password Possible to change the icon back to a neutral color/grayscale in Safari 14, pretty please?
https://twitter.com/stuntbox/status/1306638800639139840
Just realised that every Safari extension will get a tinted toolbar icon on Big Sure when active on page and there is no way to disable it. I think this looks very alien and annoying…
https://twitter.com/arno_app/status/1298381666424107009
The only thing I find particularly offensive about it is the Safari extension has a blue icon and not grayscale.
https://twitter.com/vmstan/status/1427792676666187787
Another thing: most extensions are having blue "tint" for their buttons: WHY? For a long time I thought it was a bug in Safari... But apparently not... I literally avoid having an extension button displayed for this exact reason
https://twitter.com/vashpan/status/1423652712986595329
who at apple decided it was even remotely acceptable to make these safari extension icons blue when the rest of the UI is grayscale?
https://twitter.com/gtinari/status/1393614194566705152
the extension icons in safari on big sur are bright blue and it is freaking me out a little bit tbh
https://twitter.com/darth/status/1329456584964104194
@1Password is it possible to revert the Safari extension so it isn't blue? This is indicating that something is new, or needs attention, but that's not the case
https://twitter.com/brian_lovin/status/1329134852197629952
Those new blue icons in Safari for extensions are absolutely undecipherable without looking at the screen from more than 30cm away, even with "Accessibility → Reduce transparency" enabled.
https://twitter.com/matthewmorek/status/1328381171579949059
The blue highlight given to third-party extensions on Safari 14 to show which extensions can access page data is horribly distracting. What a poor design decision by Apple.
https://twitter.com/moustache/status/1308087626193408005
I understand *why* third-party extension icons are blue in Safari 14, but I don’t *like* that they are always blue.
https://twitter.com/JonyIveParody/status/1307008955873464326
Replying to @JonyIveParody Well I thought it was a bug But apparently it's by design... It's ugly
https://twitter.com/DarthTomus/status/1307009879215931394
How come those 3rd party extension icons are blue in Safari 14? They are distractive. Hopefully there is a way to change that.
https://twitter.com/titanypw/status/1306454103439015936
All of my third party extensions have blue icons now, in Safari 14.0. It looks pretty awful. Is there a way to keep the monochrome colors or a way for us, as developers, to provide a different kind of icon to sustain the monochrome colors for our extensions? I am assuming the blue color denotes something, like the extension being "active". I wasn't able to find documentation on this change nor any related api doc.

This is incredibly distracting and ugly.

The blue extension icons are very distracting. How do I turn them off?

It seems well intentioned but an unfortunate ui decision.

I already received some feedback from users inquiring why the toolbar icon is blue in my extension.

Yes it is true. This is incredibly distracting and ugly.

https://developer.apple.com/forums/thread/660596

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