When Safari works well, it’s really an excellent browser, given all the integration features between macOS, OS X, and iOS. But when it doesn’t work it’s often a real pain to figure out and fix.
Safari on macOS Sierra and OS X El Capitan come with some pretty interesting features. Much like Chrome, now you pin tabs in Safari. You now also send YouTube videos to your TV via airplay without sharing the whole page. And Safari also lets mute tabs now.
With all these new and fantastic features, it’s really disheartening when users are not able to use them! We really like Safari new features and want to make sure that you are able to use them as well.
- 1 Safari Problems Diagnosis
- 2 FIRST and FOREMOST BACKUP
- 3 Step -> 1. Restart
- 4 Step ->2 Check User Files
- 5 Step ->3 Delete Cache
- 6 Step-> 4 Remove Corrupt Files
- 7 Safari Problems – 5 General Tips
- 8 Reader Tips
Safari Problems Diagnosis
Recently, AppleToolBox’s received numerous emails from our readers who upgraded their macOS and are now experiencing Safari related problems. Thanks to our user Deb Jesch for bringing this issue to our attention.
Safari Problems are unfortunately related to numerous issues and are not the easiest to spot and solve. Consequently, this troubleshooting guide works through various aspects of your Mac system in an attempt to solve common and not-so-common Safari issues.
In MacOS and most of Mac OS X, almost all of the applications are designed to run in 64-bit mode ( the major exception is DVD Player, that is if your Mac even has one.) Oftentimes older and legacy programs or extensions that were written for 32 Bit mode cause problems. So take a look at Apple’s list of compatible applications just to make sure you are running the most compatible software for your Mac.
- Please make sure that your machine is connected to the Internet and the connection is working. You can try to send a test email or iMessage etc to confirm this.
- Please make sure to check that you are running macOS or OS X El Capitan, although the steps highlighted in this article should work for prior OS X versions as well.
- A startup disk that’s extremely low on disk space (12GB or less) leads to slowdowns. Check that you don’t have this issue. If you do, you may need to find space by deleting bigger files and deleting download folders and other cache files.
- Try disconnecting any new USB devices that you may have added to the machine after your last upgrade. Sometimes new USB based devices can cause issues on your Mac.
Options provided in this article are ordered from the least invasive to most invasive approaches.
- The first section of the article focuses around Safari crashing and not being able to start when launched. In the second section, we have tried to address some other Safari experience issues by providing you Tips and
- In the second section, we address some of Safari other issues and
- And lastly, we provide you with an index of our articles on Safari problems over the years for macOS, OS X, and iOS
FIRST and FOREMOST BACKUP
It doesn’t matter how you do it, just make sure you backup your Mac before performing any troubleshooting. Use Time Machine for ease within Apple’s recommended workflow. Or choose your own backup method. Whatever the method, perform a backup before you move to next steps.
Step -> 1. Restart
Restart Safari. Sometimes restarting the application resolves the issue and can improve application speed. If Safari starts but is unresponsive you will have to Force Quit it. There are a few ways to Force quit applications on Mac. One of the ways is via “Activity Monitor”. You can force quit from the apple menu or
Open Finder > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
Select Safari and use the “X” button.
Step ->2 Check User Files
If Restarting Safari did not solve your problem, the next step is to make sure that your user specific resource files are in good shape. Corrupt user resource file can create Safari Problems. In order to rule out the possibility of a corrupt resource file, create a new user on your Mac. You can delete it after the troubleshooting exercise. In order to create a new user on your Mac,
Apple > System Preferences > Users and Groups and create a new user by following the prompt.
Once you have created a new user, shut down your Mac. Start back again and log in using the new user credentials. Launch Safari. If it starts/launches successfully, then you have an issue with your user resource files. If it does not start, we have ruled out the possibility of a corrupt user resource file.
Step ->3 Delete Cache
In this step, we attempt to delete all Cache files related to Safari. While at it, we will examine any browser extension files and delete them as well. In prior OS X upgrades, we have noticed that browser extensions can become a major headache for safari. One plug-in or extension that does not behave well with the new OS X can bring down the entire web browser.
Before moving on, check if Adobe Flash Player is installed on your Mac. Go to System Preferences >Flash Player > Advanced > Delete All > Check the Box for Delete All Site Data and Settings and select Delete Data button at the bottom of the window.
Deleting Safari’s Cache
We give you two options for completing this step, using two different ways. The first path described below is for users who are able to get Safari Launched but then it crashes shortly. In the Second path, we will continue with ways to get it to launch successfully. The second path is targeted at users who cannot even open their Safari browser to get to the settings.
Path 1: Preferences & Settings for Safari
- Open Safari. Click on Safari > Preferences > Advanced and enable the Develop menu.
- Once you do this you will see “Develop” as an option in the Safari menu.
- Click on this menu path and Empty your cache as well as Disable your extensions. Also, delete all your history. Safari >History > Clear History.
- Go to Safari Preferences > Extensions and make sure to turn all extensions off
- Open Safari > Preferences > Privacy > Remove All Website Data
- Open Safari >Preferences > Security and Deselect “Allow all other plug-ins”
- Make sure to turn off any ad-blocker programs such as adblock plus that you might be using. If you are using other programs such as Avast or Norton, please uninstall the program.
It is quite possible that Safari doesn’t give you enough time to do any of the steps above and crashes before you can take care of the above. If you are experiencing this symptom, proceed to Path 2. If your Safari is stable up to now, quit and restart to test the application.
Path 2: If your Safari app is not stable enough to do any of the tasks above, proceed as follows:
- Open your Finder App
- Click on Go > Go To Folder.
- Type in “~Library/Safari/Extensions”. Drag the folder out to your desktop. If you don’t have any extensions installed, it will say file not found. Proceed to the next step.
- Next, we will tackle the cache files
- Type in “~Library/Caches/com.apple.Safari”. In the folder locate the db file and drag it to trash.
- Don’t worry about putting the file to trash, as the application will create a new set of cache files when it starts.
Now that you have tackled the Extension files and the Cache files, Go ahead and give it a try with Safari. If your extensions were the culprit this should pretty much resolve your issues.
If it works, it means that one of your extensions/plugins is causing the issue. The only way to find out the one is to enable one extension at a time till you find the culprit. It is painful, but we don’t know another way to tackle this issue.
Step-> 4 Remove Corrupt Files
We hope that you don’t have to read this step, but oh well, let’s try one more step before you have to read and analyze the diagnostic reports using the console application. Our thinking around this step is that there is a chance that your preferences file for Safari is somehow corrupted. This step will remove the corrupt files. Please note that this is pretty safe and will not cause any problems on your Mac.
A corrupt preference file also can cause other Safari experience problems. The most common one is that it will not allow you to use the “Share” feature in Safari.
- Open your Activity Monitor Utility by following Finder > Applications > Utilities > Activity Monitor
- Click on View > My Processes
- Sort the processes by Process name or you can also use the Search field to make sure that you do not have Safari Running
- If Safari is running as a process, please quit it by selecting it from the list and then clicking on “X” button inside the octagon
- Next, Select “cfprefsd” in the process list and click the quit process button “X” on the left top. OR you can also
- “killall cfprefsd” in Terminal which flushes all settings to plists and relaunches the cfprefsd agent. All apps trying to access cfprefs during this time are blocked.
- A new csfprefsd process will immediately launch and it can happen so fast that you may not notice it.
- Open your Terminal Application and enter the following command to make your Library folder visible.
- chflags nohidden ~/Library/
- Use your Finder now to locate Library > Preferences and look for the preferences file for Safari
- The exact path for the plist file is ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.Safari.plist
- Drag the file to your desktop. You lose your Safari Settings but the system creates a new Preference file when Safari is started. Additionally, it’s best to rename the file and save it so that you can put it back once you are done with these steps. Just add a suffix like “.crpt” (corrupt) for now.
- Once you have removed the preferences file and make sure you kill the “csdprefsd” process
- Restart your machine and Launch Safari
- If Safari is working, move that .plist file to the Trash. If Safari’s not working, move that .plist back to the Preferences folder
If you still have problems with launching Safari or Safari crashing, please contact Apple Genius or Support. We hope that you don’t have any hardware problems such as a failing boot drive. You can run Apple Hardware Test, which is a special utility just to make sure that your hardware is not failing before you go to the Apple Support.
Safari Problems – 5 General Tips
In our experience, third party extensions and plugins are often responsible for sluggishness in your Safari experiences; here are a few general tips that you can check.
Tip 1. Remove AdWare
If you are able to get the Safari up and running, but experiencing general sluggishness, chances are that the machine might be infected with some adware. You can use a free adware removal tool like www.Adwaremedic.com/index.php.
Install the tool, open and run it by clicking “Scan for Adware” button to remove any adware. Once done, quit the app and try running Safari again.
Speaking of free Apps, another good app to explore and evaluate is “MacClean”. You can use the app to enable, stop or remove Safari plugins very easily. It also helps you clean up junk files as well.
Tip 2. Update DNS Settings
Sometimes, the problem might reside in your DNS settings. Please make sure to review this article from the Apple knowledge base. One symptom of this issue is that your Safari starts on El Capitan but when you type in any URL, you will see a very slow Safari.
Since you are looking at the DNS settings, one approach is to also clear your DNS cache. Open Terminal and enter the following command
“sudo dscacheutil –flushcache”
If you are using Yosemite, then use the following command to flush the DNS Cache
“sudo killall -HUP mDNSResponder”.
Also try to disable DNS prefetching to see if that helps to speed things up. In order to disable DNS prefetching, open Terminal and use the following command:
“defaults write com.apple.safari WebKitDNSPrefetchingEnabled -boolean false”
Tip 3. Remove Safari History Files
Following Step 3, path 1 from above, look for the ~/Library/Safari and remove any files that start with “History” in the folder to your desktop. When you do this, please make sure that Safari is not running. Once you have moved the files, please start your Safari and check.
Tip 4. Safe Mode
If none of the above steps work for you, try starting Safari in Safe mode. This will block out any third party programs that you have installed in the past. If it works well in safe mode, consider running a diagnostic tool like EtreCheck, a free tool that explains what is going on inside your Macintosh.
Tip 5. Additional Troubleshooting Resource
Lastly, over the years, we have tried to evaluate Safari related problems and created an index of Safari troubleshooting tips for both iOS and OSX that will be a helpful reference for you. Please refer to this guide.
- We heard from one of our readers who said that every time he opened safari, it would always open the last page from his prior session and he wanted a way out of it.
- This is easily managed in your settings. Go To Safari > Preferences> General and make sure to check the dropdown box ‘Safari opens with’ to make sure it isn’t set to ‘All Windows from the last session”.
- Some users have noticed a funny looking Youtube page when they open it in Safari. Unfortunately, this happens when you have ad-blocking software running. Disable AdBlock plus or other ad blocking software programs that you run and you should be able to see YouTube in its former glory!
We wish you luck, as Safari is one of the hardest Apps to troubleshoot. Please keep us informed via your comments and let us know if you are experiencing any other issues related to your macOS and other OS upgrades.