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With the "Look up & data detectors" setting turned on, you can three-finger tap links in Safari to open a preview of the link. Many articles online announce this feature, but don't say much beyond instructing you how to do it. They don't say what is functionally happening when you preview a link.

Beyond appearances, does Safari handle a previewed link any differently than an opened link?

For example:

  • Is bandwidth different? I expect not, but could imagine some files aren't loaded.
  • Are you always seeing the most current version of the site, or is it cached?
  • Are cookies stored? – Would paywalls count the visit? – Is responsive design processed differently/disabled?

There are many more ways, I'm sure, that a preview could be handled differently than a new tab or window. Do we know if the preview is in fact functionally different?

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  • Apple refers to link previewing as 'visiting websites on a Mac'. My guess is this is exactly the same as launching the page in a Safari tab but I don't have any technical proof for this so I'm not adding it as an answer (yet). – fsb Aug 11 '20 at 15:47

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