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How to Downgrade to Older or Previous Safari Version

Learn how to downgrade the Safari browser to previous or older versions on Mac computer. Safari version rollback is difficult but not impossible.

Safari is a pre-installed browser on Apple devices. It’s not easy to uninstall or remove the browser; this is also applicable with downgrading to previous or older versions. The downgrade is technically challenging but doable if we have all the required setups for re-installation or migration assistant support. Please proceed with caution, as it might break your system.

Downgrade to Older Version on Safari browser

Safari is the default browser in the Apple ecosystem, and users often seem satisfied with its offerings.

It comes with all the required feature set and 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 and welcoming new features aboard. However, there’s another side to this. Sometimes, 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 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 dealing with the OS.

If you have any concerns, this guide helps you downgrade Safari to an older version in the simplest ways possible. But, it’s recommended to proceed cautiously and ensure you’ve prerequisite and read through before starting the rollback.

Stop Automatic Mac Updates

We have listed two different methods to carry out the said task. Go through both, and then try the one you find more comfortable dealing with. But before starting, you need to check mark off the list of two essential prerequisites: disable the Automatic Updates feature and backup all the data on your Mac.

If you don’t disable the auto-update feature, the OS will again install the latest Safari version, making the entire process futile.

So head over to apple logoSystem 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.

Disable Automatically keep my Mac up to date

Restore with Time Machine Backup

If you took a Time Machine backup before Safari automatically updated, you shouldn’t give it any second thought and restore that backup immediately.

For the unaware, The Time Machine progressively restores the data. It will only restore those data unchanged since the last snapshot.

Here are the steps to restore the Time Machine backup:

  1. Head over to the Applications folder and select Utilities.
  2. Select the Migration Assistant app.
  3. Select From a Mac, Time Machine backup, or startup disk
  4. Hit on the Continue button.
    Migration Assistant app in MacOS
  5. Select the Time Machine backup made before the Safari update, and click the Continue button.
    Transfer information to this mac Migration Assistant
  6. Select the Applications checkbox under the Information to transfer dialog box, and hit the Continue button.
    Select the information to transfer using Migration Assistant

The restoration process shall now begin and could take a few minutes to an hour, depending on the backup size.

Once done, you will have successfully downgraded to an older Safari version. To be safer, re-verify that the Auto-updates feature is still disabled after the restoration.

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Note: The Time Machine method is straightforward; there’s a caveat involved. It would help if you created a Time machine snapshot before the Safari browser was updated.

However, many users wouldn’t have such a backup satisfying this requirement. If you are also part of this group, check out our following method.

Downgrade macOS

In this process, we will downgrade macOS to the earlier build that initially 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 backup beforehand. Here are the steps to downgrade:

  1. Keypress the Cmd + R to boot your Mac to Recovery mode.
  2. Select Reinstall macOS <version-name> from the Utilities menu.
    Reinstall MacOS on Mac
  3. 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.

When the installation is complete, disable the auto-update feature under System Preferences. It will ensure that Safari isn’t automatically updated to the latest build. At the same time, don’t forget to install all the other updates manually.

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Note: The reinstall process is a more time-consuming method than previously and would wipe off all your Mac’s data. So only proceed with this approach if you don’t have a Time Machine backup.

Bottom Line

So with this, we round off the guide on downgrading to an older Safari version. We have shared two different methods for the same. While both do their job effectively, it could be a bit complicated for the newcomers.

Making changes to the operating system just to downgrade to an earlier app build might not be a cup of tea for everyone. Apple should have provided a more straightforward approach to carrying out a rollback.

Talking about more accessible approaches, a couple of third-party apps 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.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback on How to Downgrade to Older or Previous Safari Version, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.

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Sadique Hassan

Sadique is a Bachelor of Computer Application in Computer Science and an MBA professional. He became a tech writer by choice and has continued pursuing it for the last 7+ years. He is keenly interested in open-source technology like Android and also loves troubleshooting the tech. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

2 thoughts on “How to Downgrade to Older or Previous Safari Version”

  1. “Apple should have provided a more straightforward approach to carrying out a rollback.” I couldn’t possibly agree more heartily. I was a PC use for many years and got so fed up with update problems and security issues that I bought a mac because “it is much more stable and secure” to quote about a million users. Now I’m fighting with poorly tested OS and Safari updates! Apple MUST provide an acceptable way to rollback to previous versions that even we non-techies can initiate.
    I can’t even view my current telephone bill! I can log in but trying to download the statement takes about 5 minutes and then it is only partial – then I get “must reload due to signicant memory usage” arggggghhhh! I finally had to use Chrome – thanks Apple!

    1. Hi Gary, I firmly believe that every browser should have option to rollback (just like Update feature). Given the fast development releases for each version upgrades, the developers are releasing the hastily tested browser that often causing the breakdown. That’s when the users actually look out for other alternatives.

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