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Fix: Black Screen Window in Safari browser

Are you experiencing a black or empty screen in Safari without content loading? Here's how to troubleshoot and fix this issue to restore your browser to normal functionality.

The Safari browser uses WebKit to render the content.

However, due to malfunctioning, the rendering engine could fail and result in a black screen or blank window.

In such a situation, you can downgrade the display settings, close the system apps sharing render engine, turn off conflicting extensions, and keep checking for system updates for a fix.

FIX: Black Empty Screen in Safari browser

Safari uses the WKWebView as a rendering engine that helps transform the data and files downloaded from the web server into viewable content on the browser window. However, there can be any problem with the rendering engine that can result in issues.

There are multiple reports from Mac users that Safari is not loading content and displays a blank screen. The window doesn’t load properly even after multiple hard refreshes and clearing the browser cache.

Most users have encountered the problem after the system software updates and cannot find a proper resolution. However, there are a few working solutions some users have suggested that you can try on your system to see if it works for you.

The following guide is an excerpt of the suggested solutions and troubleshoots that help in resolving the black screen issue on the Safari browser.

Basic Safari Troubleshooting

It’s best to start with the basics when dealing with technical difficulties or browser issues. A quick device restart can often solve the problem.

If you’re having trouble with Safari’s empty or black screen, try restarting your Mac.

Apple Mac Restart menu under Apple Logo

You should check for network bandwidth to ensure enough browsing speed to load the web content.

Refer to our troubleshooting guides in detail before moving to advanced methods.

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Note: Taking a system backup using Time Machine before proceeding with advanced troubleshooting methods is recommended.

Downgrade Display Settings

The MacBook and Macs are set to the highest possible settings (XDR, ProMotion, Retina, True Tone, etc.) by default. Hence, the system applications like the Safari app, Mail app, Notes app, etc., try to render the highest quality images and display HTML elements using the most system memory. In such cases, the rendering engine might get failed, resulting in a blank screen.

An easy solution is to downgrade the display settings to suppress the rendering process. Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the Apple apple logo in the menu bar and select the System Settings menu.
    Apple Menubar with System Settings highlighted
  2. In the left pane, scroll down to select Display settings.
    It will open the Display setup page.
  3. Depending on your Mac device, customize it to lower performance.
    MacBook Default Display Settings

On Macbook 14 M1 Pro, I can:

  • Turn off the True Tone
  • downgrade Refresh Rate to 60 Hertz and
  • change the Preset level to Apple Display (500 nits) instead of XDR Display (1600 nits).
    MacBook Downgraded Display Settings

It will reduce the performance stress on the system’s memory, GPU, and rendering engine but with a compromised display output.

It would be best if you considered customizing your Display settings to have an optimal effect on performance without much compromise.

Downgrading the display settings can also help fix the image loading issue in the Safari browser.

Close System Apps

As mentioned, the macOS has multiple system applications, like Safari, Notes, Mail, etc., that rely on the Apple WKWebView to render the HTML elements and support scripts.

If you’re simultaneously using these apps, WebKit is heavily utilized for rendering. And sometimes, it fails to render the pages, resulting in blank screens or distorted layouts.

Here, it would be best to consider closing less useful system applications like Notes, Mail app, etc., for better resource allocation to help page rendering in Safari browser. The Force Quit program or Activity Monitor can kill the other apps.

Kill Safari process from Activity Monitor in macOS

Few users have reported that closing other system apps has helped them temporarily fix the issue.

Update Safari browser

If you’ve started encountering the rendering issue after a macOS update, the last update might have broken the functionality. Keep checking for another update release with the fix. Here are the steps to check for updates:

  1. Click the Apple apple logo menu and select System Settings from the drop-down menu.
    Apple Menubar with System Settings highlighted
  2. Switch to the General tab in the left pane, and select the Software Update option.
    Software Update menu under General tab on macOS
  3. Click on the More Info link.
    More Info option with Software Updates Available on macOS
  4. Select the Safari updates, if any are available, and hit the Install Now button.

After you install the Software updates, make sure to restart your Mac computer. It will fix the issue with the WebKit Rendering Engine on your Safari browser. Check if the issue persists.

Turn Off Extensions

The browser extensions can conflict with page rendering, causing the black screen. It would be best to consider temporarily disabling the Safari extensions as a troubleshooting method.

  1. Open the Safari app on your Mac computer.
  2. Click on Safari from the menubar and select the Settings menu.
    Apple Safari Settings menu
  3. Switch to the Extensions tab in the Settings window.
  4. In the left pane, uncheck the checkbox to Turn Off the corresponding extension.
    Enable or Disable Extension in Safari on macOS

If you find the extension causing the empty screen issue, you can hit the Uninstall command button to remove it.

If disabling extensions does not fix the issue, you can Turn On to continue using them.

Switch to Safari Alternative

Switching to Safari alternatives is recommended if none of the troubleshooting methods worked.

Some browsers, like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, etc., use different Rendering Engine, which is fully compatible with macOS.

Meanwhile, keep checking for updates to get the fix from Apple, and switch back to Safari if required when ready.

Bottom Line

The blank or black screen issue is limited to the Safari browser and other WKWebView applications. And users are frustrated with the ongoing issue and looking for quick solutions.

It is recommended to keep checking for new system updates that can potentially fix the loading issues.

We have recommended general troubleshooting to fix the rendering issue and a few user-suggested methods; if you’ve anything else that has worked, please write us in the comment.

Lastly, if you've any thoughts or feedback, then feel free to drop in below comment box. You can also report the outdated information.

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Kushal Azza

Kushal Azza

Kushal Azza is a Google Certified IT Professional, Digital Content Creator, and Go-To Digital Marketer with Engineering Degree. He has over a decade of experience solving tech problems, troubleshooting, and innovating digital solutions. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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