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How to Fix: Safari not working on Mac as expected

Learn how to fix the Apple Safari not working on Mac computer browser. We can try different troubleshooting techniques like to resolve the Safari Mac problem.

Apple Safari is the default pre-installed browser on Mac computers. But, the browser may get issues during software updates, which leads to a stop working as expected. It may not load the website correctly due to misconfigurations. Hence, a few troubleshooting steps like restarting the system, updating to the latest version, deleting cache and browsing data, removing the extensions and preference file can help in sorting out issue.

Fix: Safari browser on Working as Expected

The default browser on Mac, Safari, comes with quite a few nifty features. Unifying tabs and the URL bar, grouping similar tabs using Tab Group, website tinting, and a built-in translator are noteworthy features.

Moreover, its handy integration with other linked devices will streamline your workflow if you are in the Apple ecosystem.

However, not everyone can make use of these features. A slew of complaints is lined up across various forums where the users cannot open any website on the Safari browser.

For others, the browser is continuously changing; in some cases, it isn’t even launching on their Mac. If you are also facing any of these issues, then in this guide, we will make you aware of various methods that shall help you troubleshoot and fix the issue of Safari not working on the macOS.

Do note that there’s no universal fix as such. You will have to try out each of the below-mentioned workarounds and then see which one spells out success for you.

Restart Mac Computer

Before proceeding with any advanced fixes, you should start with the basics. In this regard, your first action should be restarting the PC.

  1. Click on the Apple apple logo from the menubar.
  2. Select Restart from the sub-menu that appears.
    Apple Mac Restart menu under Apple Logo
  3. Confirm rebooting the Mac device with the Restart command button.
    Restart Mac Computer Confirmation box

Once it boots up, check whether the Safari is not working issue has not been fixed. It will mostly resolve the underlying issue with unsuccessful updates and make Safari normal again.

Force Quit Safari

If any browser’s background processes aren’t working along the expected lines, the browser will face adverse consequences. Therefore you should consider stopping all these processes by force quitting the browser and then letting it work in a new environment from scratch. Follow the steps to force quit the Safari browser:

  1. Click the Apple apple logo in the menubar.
  2. Select Force Quit from the drop-down menu.
    Mac Force Quit menu under Apple LogoIt will open the Force Quit Applications window.
  3. Select the Safari app from the list.
    Force Quit Safari Applications from Mac Computer
  4. Click the Force Quit button.

It will immediately terminate the Safari processes in the foreground and background. Just relaunch the browser normally to check if the issue with Safari is resolved.

Install software updates

Apple regularly releases software upgrades for its OS, which comes bundled with updates for the browser. These updates may or may not add new features but optimize the browser’s performance, enhance security, and iron out all the underlying bugs.

Therefore, it is recommended to download and install these updates immediately when available. Here are the steps to do:

  1. Click on Apple apple logo and select the System Preferences… sub-menu.
    It will launch the System Preferences window.
  2. Select the Software Update program from the list.
    Apple System Preferences > Software Update macOS
  3. Click on the More info… link.
    Software Update More Info Link
  4. Select the checkbox against the Safari browser to install updates.
    Safari update is available for your Mac
  5. Hit the Install Now command button.

The download will begin, and the Safari update installation will finish automatically.

Downloading new updates - Mac Software Update

Once done, restart your PC and launch Safari to verify whether it’s working on your macOS. If your answer is still negative, here are a few other tweaks you should try.

Delete Safari Cache

If a lot of temporary data accumulates over time, it will slow down the browser and conflict with its functionality. Therefore, you should consider deleting these cache files.

Here are the steps to empty the browser cache:

  1. Launch the Apple Safari browser.
  2. Click on the Safari menu and select the Preferences/Settings sub-menu.
  3. Switch to the Advanced tab.
  4. Enable the check box for the Show Develop menu in the menu bar.
    Apple Safari Advanced Preference Show Develop MenuIt will enable a new Develop menu in the Safari menu bar.
  5. Click on the Develop menu on the menu bar.
  6. Select Empty Caches from the drop-down menu.
    Empty Caches from Develop menu in Safari browserIt will clear and empty all the cache files stored within the Safari browser.

Upon deleting the cache files, the browser might take a few extra seconds to load the websites. However, this would be a one-time delay and could prove worth the wait if it rectifies the underlying issue.

Delete Browser Data

If the browser’s app data is corrupted, deleting the cache might not be the best bet. Instead, you will have to delete all its data files as well. The browser will then re-populate these data from your Apple ID, which could resolve the issue that we are currently facing.

  1. Launch the Safari app on Mac.
  2. Click on the Safari menu and select the Preferences/Settings sub-menu.
  3. Switch to the Privacy tab, and click on the Manage Website Data… button.
    Manage Website Data under Privacy tab in Safari PreferencesIt will open the stored website data and cache.
  4. Hit on the Remove All option.
    Remove all stored website data from Safari on Mac
  5. Click on the Remove Now button and hit on the Done button.

Now restart the browser and check if it can fix the Safari not working issue on macOS.

Deleting the website data would sign you out of all the logged-in sites and remove the saved information. So make sure you sign in to the browser via your Apple account to restore all those data.

Disable Safari Extensions

In some instances, third-party add-ons could break the browser’s functionality. The best way to verify if that is the case is to disable all the extensions and then try using the browser.

If the issue no longer appears, then the culprit was one of those extensions, and you should consider disabling or uninstalling the issue-causing one right away.

  1. Launch the Safari browser on your system.
  2. Click on the Preferences option from the menu bar.
    It will open the Preferences window.
  3. Switch to the Extensions tab.
    It will list all the extensions installed on the browser.
  4. Deselect the checkbox located right next to the extension to turn it off.
    Uncheck Safari Extension to Disable in Safari browser

There’s no denying that these extensions tend to add more features to your browser. But if it is behind the root cause of an issue, it’s better to bid farewell to these add-ons.

If disabling any extension has resolved the problem, you may try to find an alternative and uninstall the existing one.

Uninstall Safari Extension from Mac computer

Delete Safari Preferences

The browser’s preferences file mainly contains the homepage, new tabs, default search engine, etc. However, if any of this data gets corrupted, it could spell out trouble for the browser.

Therefore, you should consider deleting this file and letting the browser create a new instance. Here are the steps to delete the Safari preferences file:

  1. Launch the Finder window on Mac.
  2. Press and hold the Option key and select the Go menu.
  3. Select the Library option from the drop-down menu.
    Mac Finder Library Folder from Go menuIt will launch the Library folder within the Finder window.
  4. Navigate and open the Preferences folder.
    Mac Finder Library with Preferences folder
  5. Find and delete file from the preferences folder.

Once the file has been moved to the trash, restart the browser. Safari will create a new Preferences file and start using it. And upon doing so, it would have resolved the issue as well.

Bottom Line

It was a troubleshooting guide on fixing the Safari not working issue on your macOS. No matter how efficient and well-designed an app or software is, there’s no denying that they are still prone to issues and bugs.

Apple’s browser is no different in this regard, though the frequency of such issues is lower. Besides, its browser’s inability to work along the expected lines seems to be the most common issue bugging the users as of late.

But now that you know of different methods to rectify this problem, you shouldn’t have trouble if it reappears.

On that note, we round off this tutorial on fixing when Safari is not working on Mac. Please feel free to drop in if any other solutions have worked for you apart from those mentioned.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback on How to Fix: Safari not working on Mac as expected, 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.

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