Subscribe To Feed Safari Extension

July 25th, 2012

Now that Safari 6 is available as part of Mountain Lion 10.8, and as a software update for Lion, I can finally explain the rumblings I made months ago about an extension facilitating feed subscription directly from Safari.

The motivation behind my foray into Safari extension development was my early adoption of Safari 6 during the beta phase. I noticed they had removed the long-standing, built-in “RSS” button near the URL bar. This button makes it easy to subscribe to an RSS or Atom feed for a blog, or any other site that offers such a feed.

I’m disappointed by Apple’s decision to remove the button, but when life hands you lemons …

My beta-quality, more-or-less unsupported Subscribe to Feed extension adds a handy button to the toolbar that, when a page offers RSS or Atom feeds, can be clicked to easily open the feed:// link, which should automatically open your favorite news reader.

I hope this extension fills a void for those of you missing the beloved RSS button from Safari 5 and earlier.


  • Since I posted this on Wednesday (the day Mountain Lion 10.8 was released), the response has been overwhelming. I didn’t realize there would be so much interest in restoring the functionality of the Safari RSS button.

    The interest has been so strong that more than a couple people have installed the extension apparently unaware of its purpose. The gist of the extension is to make it easy to subscribe to RSS and Atom feeds in an external application, separate from Safari. For example, it will open in NetNewsWire, Reeder or any other application on your Mac that claims to support “feed:” style URLs.

    Some folks who are just getting in to desktop RSS readers are discovering they don’t have a “default app” setting on their Mac, and Apple no longer provides a simple UI inside Safari for setting the default. The best solution I know for this issue is to download and use the venerable RCDefaultApp to set a default RSS reader for your Mac.

  • A number of users who use Google Reader through the browser would like it if there were a way for this extension to automatically subscribe in Google Reader instead of through a Mac client. I’m not sure exactly how this would work but I bet it’s possible with a preference in the extension that would offer the ability to open a Google Reader URL for subscribing. This is a little ambitious though, so if you want this feature and happen to be able to code Safari/JavaScript solutions, please send me a proof of concept for subscribing to Google Reader from JavaScript on a web page, and I’ll see if I can integrate it into the extension.
  • On August 2, 2012, I released Subscribe to Feed 1.0b4, addressing a number of issues from the initial release.

55 Responses to “Subscribe To Feed Safari Extension”

  1. Eric Says:

    I’m having trouble making this work. I’d like to be able to add feeds to Google Reader via the website. As I recall, before 10.8 I believe there was a Safari preference setting to specify GR and I also used someone else’s extension (Add to Google Reader) by Rob Wilkerson) to add the feed. After installing your extension what I get when clicking on the RSS button is a dialog titled “Microsoft Office Outlook – XP” and then “VMWare Fusion failed to launch.”.

    I understand you aren’t supporting this but perhaps you can point me in the right direction to get it working.

    BTW – Got the link to this in a comment to the Siracusa OS X 10.8 review.


  2. David Says:

    Very helpful. Thanks, Daniel.

  3. Clark Says:

    Thanks Daniel!

  4. Steven Fisher Says:

    Nice! The icon fit in so well I didn’t realize the extension had actually installed. :)

  5. charles Says:

    What, they removed the RSS button!?! I am glad I read it here first, great way to fill in the void before it’s even here :-)

  6. Holger Frey Says:

    Thanks a lot!

  7. Jesper Says:

    Some sites have multiple feeds (as in different, not as in both Atom and RSS); it’d be nice showing a list.

  8. Seamaster Says:

    Brilliant. Thanks.

  9. AJACs Says:

    Just “thank you!”

  10. Darwin Says:

    There has been an Add to Google reader extension for some time.

  11. mgruff Says:

    Your awesomeness is now unquestioned. Thanks for getting us out of the hole that Apple dug for us.

  12. paul Says:

    This is awesome, thank you!

  13. peter Says:

    But it opens a “bad” EMAIL doesn exist etc !!!

    how do I specify a new standard RSS reader after this idiotic Moutain Lion srcreew up ??

  14. Piet Says:

    Great! Thanks a lot, Daniel, much appreciated!

  15. Brandon Says:

    This is great Daniel! Good work on the polished icon.

  16. Matt B Says:

    Yep, as I said on Twitter this is great. Thanks!

    Though like one commentator mentioned, some have more than one feed- it would be nice to have that shown. But I’m not complaining- if this is all I get I’m happy!

  17. Eric Says:

    Doesn’t work, the button also opens Mail.

  18. Fred Van Doren Says:

    This is a great idea. I installed the extension, and I see it in the extensions list, but I can’t find the button. Where should I be looking?

  19. Fred Van Doren Says:

    Found it up on the toolbar! I haven’t been using Safari, but Firefox is not working right since I installed Mountain Lion. Thanks.

  20. Lola LB Says:

    Thank you for this button! I, however, don’t use Mail, but rather, NetNewsWire. And I don’t always want to open YetAnotherProgram to read all my RSS feeds. Which is why I kept some of the sites that I visit once in a while in Safari.

    I see that Notes has been broken out of Mail in Mountain Lion – does it still process RSS feeds? And I’d really like to be able to be notified that there are X new posts, so I can go to the site to read these posts.

  21. urbanbike Says:

    Merci Daniel…!

  22. Michael Says:

    I’m having problems too I’m afraid. Downloaded and installed it. When i click on a site where the icon activates it says there isn’t an RSS reader installed and to go to the Mac App store.

    I’ve rebooted the browser and the computer but no joy. Please help, I can’t survive without my RSS feeds.

  23. Marty Plumbo Says:

    Awesomeness! Now, if you could just invent a way that I can follow RSS feeds without having to use Google’s Reader service (which every feed-reader dev seems bent on leveraging), I’d be in heaven! ;-)

  24. Steven Fisher Says:

    The one problem I’m having with this extension is that it’s preferring the comments feed on my blog to the article feed. I guess it’s just picking the first feed?

    Oh well, it’s still good. :)

  25. Barbara Says:

    I am having a problem as I do not have a dedicated RSS Reader installed. Previously when I subscribed to RSS feeds I used Mail to read them. According to OS X Daily your extension should open the RSS feed in Mail if I don’t have a different reader. Is this the case? If not what is a good reader to use with the Mac?

  26. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    For folks who are having trouble with the wrong app opening, or no app opening, it all boils down to how Mac OS X is configured to handle “feed://” URLs. This should correlate to settings in whatever app you use for whether it is the “default app” for news or RSS feeds.

    I don’t think there’s anything the extension can reasonably to do either cause or prevent the issues with no app being configured to handle the feed URL properly.

  27. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    For folks who are running into issues with the wrong e.g. the comments feed being chosen over the main feed, this is something I am going to be looking in to. If you don’t have at least 1.0b3 of the extension, make sure to re-download it from the link above. It doesn’t have a fix for that problem, but is set up so that Safari can automatically update the extension in the future.

  28. Brett Johnson Says:

    There is an extension that directs mailto links to a specified email service (, so it seems like it would be possible to to direct feed links too, right?

  29. Christopher Says:

    Thanks. Fills the void.

  30. john philpin Says:

    absolutely essential
    absolutely love it
    absolutely great

    thankyou daniel

  31. Ted Says:

    Thank You!

  32. Georg Portenkirchner Says:

    Thanks a lot Daniel!
    Wish you also could find a way to set Google Reader as the default news reader.

    @ Darwin: Rob Wilkerson’s Add to Google Reader extension does not work anymore as Safari’s RSS button is gone! :-(

  33. Brook Says:

    This is great, but I’d love to have it open up in Google Reader. If you hosted the project on github, I would happily add the option.

  34. DJM Says:

    I have no dedicated RSS reader. Click on extension in Safari and I go to Mail, but then I get error message: No associated application could be found. Directions for the rest of us are needed

  35. sjk Says:

    To open in Google Reader, RSS Menu Extension for Safari notes says:

    – Can open feeds either online in Google Reader or in your native news reader app (Vienna, Reeder, NetNewsWire etc.)

    I haven’t tried it or Daniel’s extension.

  36. sjk Says:

    Missing URL for RSS Menu Extension for Safari:

  37. Calum Says:

    If you want to change your default RSS reader in Mountain Lion, the easiest way is the excellent RCDefaultApp prefpane. Hasn’t been updated in a while, but v2.1 still works fine for me.

  38. Eric Says:

    @sjk – Thanks – that extension works for me.

  39. Ben Says:

    Thanks. Just what I wanted.

  40. Praveen Says:

    THANK YOU! Now… Any chance to get a Retina version of the icon? Pretty please? :)

  41. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Praveen – glad I could help. I do want to get a retina-compatible version out soon. Just be sure to check for updates often or let Safari auto-check for you.

  42. parapeue Says:

    yes get it back.

    What about syncing notes with mail and iTunes ?

  43. Richie Says:

    Every time I try to open a RSS feed in new safari, it opens my Thunderbird app. I am not able to open an RSS feed, even with your extension installed :-(

  44. laurent Says:

    And I was using Safari instead of Chrome exactly because of the rss button. What a poor choice from Apple to remove it, and thank you very much for your extension! Now I miss a built-in rss reader… sniff

  45. Rob Wilkerson Says:

    I wrote an extension for Safari 5 that allowed a user to subscribe to RSS in Google Reader by clicking the RSS button that used to exist. If that will serve as a prototype for you, the code is on Github at

  46. MXM Says:

    VEry useful, thanks. But not exactly what I was looking for. I removed the browser extension from Safari; however, the “Subscribe to feed” RSS behavior remains. How can I uninstall? Thanks.

  47. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    @MXM: for any Safari extension, you can uninstall it simply by clicking the “Uninstall” button in Safari’s Extension preferences. Is that what you did when you say you removed it from Safari?

    I’m not sure what the remaining behavior is. Is the extension’s icon still in the toolbar?

  48. MXM Says:

    @Daniel Jalkut: Thanks for the response. I (wrote) too soon. It uninstalled fine. I misinterpreted another browser behavior. My mistake.

  49. Yukon Jack Says:

    This is a real handy extension but there’s one problem. When it shows the orange bar at the top and when I click the “Application” button, it doesn’t show a list of possible applications, rather it simply adds it to the current database open in DevonThink Pro Office. I am rather addicted to Pulp and the only way I see to add feeds to Pulp via your extension is to copy/paste the feed URL shown in the orange bar. Any idea how to select Pulp?


  50. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    @Yukon Jack: It should be adding to whatever your default RSS app is. It sounds like your computer is confused and thinks that DevonThink is that. My extension doesn’t do anything to display a URL or show any orange bar. That must be happening independently of the extension.

    If you want to try to manually set Pulp to be the default news/RSS reader for your Mac, try RCDefaultApp:

  51. Yukon Jack Says:

    Thanks Daniel. It wasn’t my computer that was confused; I’ve been confusing your extn with another similar extn called “RSS Menu” by Calum Benson. I’m terribly sorry for my ignorance. I’ll go try your recommended default app app.

  52. Beth Says:

    Thanks for sharing this much-needed feature. I was heart-broken when the new OS X blew up my morning routine by ditching my RSS feeds from Safari & Mail! Like others, I’m eager for your app to offer me a site’s main feed, rather than comments — or give me a choice. I’ve subscribed to your Comments RSS Feed so I’ll be in the know. Brilliant! Thanks again.

  53. Daniel Jalkut Says:

    Hi Beth – thanks for the feedback. I do plan to update the extension soon to support multiple feeds on a site. Stay tuned!

  54. Tak Says:

    I posted something about the feeds here. Seems there is a security issue that caused them to disable feeds….

  55. Reiner Says:

    Thank you very much for this extension. Works perfectly with NetNewsWire on my setup.

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