A variety of factors can cause Safari for Mac OS X to load pages, open new tabs and windows, and perform other operations slowly. Fortunately, there are a few very simple techniques that can provide a dramatic speed boost:
Remove Problematic Third-Party Add-Ons: Quit Safari, then check the following locations for third-party items (The ~ represents your home user folder. To access it, choose Home > Go in the Finder).
- /Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
- /Library/Input Methods/
- ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
- ~/Library/Input Methods/
Remove any third-party items then launch Safari and check for an increase in speed. If the sluggishness is gone, add items back one by one or in groups until you’ve identified the culprit.
Switch DNS servers. Switch DNS servers from those generated by your ISP to those offered by OpenDNS. To do so:
- Open System Preferences and click “Network”
- Select your connection method (AirPort, Ethernet, etc.)
- Enter the following items in the “DNS Server” field: 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124
- Click Apply
Or you can try Google’s public DNS servers: 126.96.36.199 and 188.8.131.52
Uninstall SIMBL. You may also need to uninstall SIMBL by following the same process; download the SIMBL package and run the included uninstaller.
Uninstall APE. APE (Application Enhancer) add-ons may be to blame for some performance issues. As such, you may need to temporarily uninstall the APE system completely. Here are the instructions for doing so, from the Unsanity website:
“Prior to version 2.0:
Click on APE Manager or Application Enhancer in System Preferences. Choose the Uninstall option under the Information tab.
Version 2.0 and newer:
Click on Application Enhancer in System Preferences. Click the “Troubleshooting…” button in the About tab. Click the “Uninstall Application Enhancer…” button and follow the instructions.
Download the Application Enhancer installer from unsanity.com/haxies/ape run it and click uninstall.
Clear AutoFill and favicons Go to Safari > Preferences and select AutoFill. Click the “Edit” option next to “Other Forms” and remove all of the items. Next, navigate to ~/Library/Safari and drag the folder “Icons” to the trash, then restart Safari.
Install ClickToFlash. Flash content may be responsible for a number of performance issues in Safari. To eliminate these issues, you can run Flash on an as-needed basis. This can be easily accomplished with ClickToFlash, This handy utility allows users to–as the name implies–trigger playback of Flash content on web pages via a mouse click. It also swaps out Flash-based YouTube videos for higher-quality H.264 versions (something that can also be accomplished by joining the YouTube HTML5 beta).
Delete cache folder Navigate to ~/Library/Caches (this is the Library folder inside your user folder), and drag the folder com.apple.Safari to the trash. Quit then relaunch Safari.
Reset Safari Although you’ll lose some potentially valuable stored data, this very simple procedure can resolve the slowness in some cases. Simply go to Safari > Reset Safari (in the Safari menu bar) and check all items.
Downgrade to Safari 4.0.5 As a last resort, you can downgrade to Safari 4.0.5 as described here.
Obsessed with tech since the early arrival of A/UX on Apple, Sudz (SK) is responsible for the editorial direction of AppleToolBox. He is based out of Los Angeles, CA.
Sudz specializes in covering all things macOS, having reviewed dozens of OS X and macOS developments over the years.
In a former life, Sudz worked helping Fortune 100 companies with their technology and business transformation aspirations.