Safari is the default browser in the Apple ecosystem, and more often than not, users seem to be satisfied with its offerings.
It comes baked in with all the required feature set as well as handy cross-device support across all your linked devices. On top of that, it tends to get blessed with regular updates.
Getting regular updates straightaway translates to improved performance and security aspects and welcoming new features aboard. However, there’s another side to this. In some instances, the update might be buggy or accompany a few underlying bugs.
Along the same lines, the latest version might break a few extensions and even result in issues with older websites that aren’t yet optimized to adapt to this newer build. So one fix for this issue seems to be to roll back to an earlier version of Safari.
However, it is easier said than done. This browser is deeply integrated into the OS (well, it looks more like a system component rather than an app). As a result, to perform this rollback, you might have to interact with the operating system.
And this is where the hesitancy arises, as not everyone is comfortable in dealing with the OS.
Well, if you have any concerns, then this guide helps you downgrade Safari to an older version in the simplest of ways possible. But, it’s recommended to proceed with caution and make sure that you’ve pre-requisite and read through before starting the rollback.
Stop Automatic Mac Updates
We have listed out two different methods to carry out the said task. Go through both of them, and then try out the one you find more comfortable to deal with. But before starting, there are two important prerequisites that you need to check-mark off the list — disable the Automatic Updates feature and take a backup of all the data on your Mac.
If you don’t disable the auto-update feature, then the OS will again install the latest version of Safari, thereby making the entire process futile.
So head over to > System Preferences > Software Update, and disable the Automatically keep my Mac up to date option. Once that is done, you may proceed with the below steps to downgrade Safari to an older version.
Restore with Time Machine Backup
If you had taken a Time Machine backup before Safari got automatically updated, then you shouldn’t give any second thought and restore that backup right away.
For the unaware, The Time Machine progressively restores the data. It will only restore those data that had been unchanged since the last snapshot.
Here are the steps to restore the Safari browser using Time Machine backup:
- Head over to the Applications folder and select Utilities.
- Select the Migration Assistant app.
- Select From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk
- Hit on the
- Select the Time Machine backup made before the Safari update, and click the
- Select Applications checkbox under the Information to transfer dialog box, and hit
The restoration process shall now begin and could take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour, depending on the size of the backup.
Once done, you would have successfully downgraded to an older Safari version. To be on the safer side, re-verify that the Auto-updates feature is still disabled after the restoration.
The Time Machine method is a straightforward approach; there’s a caveat involved. It would help if you created a Time machine snapshot before the Safari browser was updated.
However, many users out there wouldn’t have such a backup satisfying this requirement. If you are also part of this group, then do check our next method listed below.
In this process, we will be downgrading macOS to the earlier build, the one that originally shipped with your device. It will then automatically downgrade all the pre-installed apps to their earlier versions, including Safari. However, the process will wipe off all the data, so make sure to take a backup beforehand.
Here are the steps to downgrade the macOS on the computer:
- Keypress the + to boot your Mac to Recovery mode.
- Select Reinstall macOS <version-name> from the Utilities menu.
- Proceed with the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
Moreover, if it asks whether you want to install Macintosh HD or Macintosh HD – Data, choose Macintosh HD.
As soon as the installation is complete, disable the auto-update feature under System Preferences. It will make sure that Safari doesn’t get automatically updated to the latest build. At the same time, don’t forget to install all the other updates manually.
The reinstall process is a more time-consuming method than its previous and would also result in wiping off all the data from your Mac. So only proceed with this approach if you don’t have a Time Machine backup.
Bottom Line: Downgrade Safari Browser
So with this, we round off the guide on how you could downgrade to an older Safari version. We have shared two different methods for the same. While both do their job quite effectively, it could prove to be a little bit complicated for the newcomers.
Making changes to the operating system just for the sake of downgrading to an earlier build of an app might not prove to be a cup of tea for everyone. Apple should have provided an easier approach towards carrying out a rollback.
Talking about easier approaches, a couple of third-party apps do exist that claim to do this job. However, they tend to give varying degrees of success. So the above two methods seem to be the best route forward.