Safari picks up WebM support in the current macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta

What you need to know

  • The latest macOS Big Sur 11.3 beta adds support for the 11-year-old WebM video format.
  • It isn’t clear why Apple decided that 2021 is the time to add support.

Apple got there eventually.

Apple’s upcoming macOS Big Sur 11.3 update will add support for WebM video playback in Safari if the current beta is any indication.

As spotted by The 8-Bit, support for the Google-backed web-based video format appears to now be functional in the second beta of macOS Big Sur 11.3, released to developers yesterday.

Google first launched WebM back in 2010 but Safari is only just jumping on board. There’s no telling why Apple decided that 2021 is the year to add support for something that’s been around for so long. The move does follow last year’s addition of the WebP format, however – the image-based version of WebM.

The benefits of WebM include:

Optimized for the web. Serving video on the web is different from traditional broadcast and offline mediums. Existing video formats were designed to serve the needs of these mediums and do it very well. WebM is focused on addressing the unique needs of serving video on the web.

Low computational footprint to enable playback on any device, including low-power netbooks, handhelds, tablets, etc.

Simple container format

Highest quality real-time video delivery

Click and encode. Minimal codec profiles and sub-options. When possible, let the encoder make the tough choices.

Nobody yet knows when Apple will release macOS Big Sur 11.3 to the public but it’s unlikely many people are waiting for its arrival so they can watch WebM content.

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