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Safari is getting support for WebM video playback

Apple’s Safari browser is getting official support for the efficient albeit niche WebM video codec on the Mac via an upcoming update to the macOS operating system.

Support for the WebM format in Safari for Mac has been spotted in the second beta of macOS Big Sur 11.3, which was released for developer testing yesterday.

Apple should release the upcoming update publicly by the spring, allowing Mac owners to enjoy WebM videos in the Safari browser for the first time without using specialized media players.

WebM support appears to be unavailable in the current versions of iOS and iPadOS.

Better late than never!

This is obviously great news for all us Apple fans that have been bored by the Apple-Google rivalry and all the politics behind it. Mind you, support for WebM is arriving a full 11 (eleven!) years after Google debuted the format as a royalty-free alternative to the H.264 codec.

→ How to save images from Safari webpages on your Mac

Although WebM is not predominantly used as the go-to format for web videos, Firefox, Chrome and other browsers have long supported it. That said, some websites do encode their embedded videos in the WebM format due to the small file size and good image quality overall.

WebM also doesn’t require as much horsepower to render in a browser as other formats do, and it supports transparent video playback. Google also provides the royalty-free WebP codec for images that Apple officially supports across iOS, iPadOS and macOS as of last year.

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