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How to Get Rid of Top Hit in Safari iPhone and Mac?

The Safari browser displays the Top Hits suggestion when searching for any matching term or website in the address bar we have either visited or saved as a bookmark. Unfortunately, there is no explicit option to disable this feature. Hence, the only way to stop Top Hit’s recommendation is to clear the stored browsing data.

Modern web browsers have incorporated some nifty features that make it relatively easy and efficient to carry out the intended tasks. More often than not, these functionalities are welcomed with open hands by everyone alike.

However, in some instances, it could well spell out an infuriating experience for some users. And the Top Hit feature of the Safari Browser probably falls in this domain.

Top Hit feature in Safari browser

For the unaware, as soon as you type in the keyword in the search bar, the browser will automatically bring up its related site as the first result in the Top Hit.

It also preloads that page so that when you click on that result, you shouldn’t have to wait for the page to load.

In hindsight, all this results in the faster loading of the sites, which saves our precious time, so where’s the issue?

Well, the thing is, it’s not every time that one always clicks on the first results in the search result. But since the browser would load it anyways, it leads to quite a few issues.

First, your workflow will be uninterrupted with search results that you are least interested in. For example, one of my friends lives in Singapore and wants to access Apple’s site corresponding to his region only. Unfortunately, the browser would always show the root site first, followed by what he intends to visit.

Moreover, the automatic pre-loading of the first search results (which you have no plan to interact with) would also lead to unnecessary network bandwidth consumption. Not to mention that your data would now be in the hands of even more websites, most of which would be the ones you wouldn’t have even opened.

There are quite a few problems lined up with this feature; hence, many users are looking to get rid of the Top Hit feature in their Safar browser. If you are on the same page, this guide shall help you.

Remove Top Hit in Safari Mac

There isn’t any universal toggle that would straightaway turn off this feature. However, there do exist a few workarounds that have been known to work out for many users. And you can also turn off the pre-loading of top hits to save bandwidth.

The Top Hit retrieves the site URL suggestion from the saved bookmarks/favorites, browsing history, and reading list. The Top Hit suggestion will be removed if you clear all these stored data.

Here are the steps to turn off top hits in Safari mac:

  1. Launch the Safari browser app on a mac computer.
  2. Select History from the menubar options.
  3. Choose the Clear History… option under the History menu.
  4. It will open the Clear History dialog window.
  5. From the drop-down, select the date range that you want to delete.
  6. Hit on the Clear History command button to remove history from Safari.
    Clear History from Safari MacOS computer

However, if you wish to take a more aggressive approach, consider deleting your entire search history. Doing so will delete all the autocompleted URLs.

There’s no direct approach to carrying out this task, and deleting the search history seems to give out the best mileage for rectifying this issue.

You can follow this guide to manage bookmarks/favorites and reading lists in the Apple Safari browser. Once you remove the site from the Bookmarks and Reading list, it won’t appear on the Top Hit.

To stop preloading Top Hits, visit the Safari Preferences menu and switch to the Search tab. Disable the checkbox for Preload Top Hit in the background option.

Preload Top Hit in the background disabled in Safari browser

Disable Top Hit in Safari iPhone

Similarly, we can also clear history, bookmarks, and reading lists from Safari on iPhone to stop Top Hit suggestions.

Turning off this feature on iOS is a two-step process. It calls for disabling the Top Hit feature and then deleting your search history, as outlined below:

  1. Launch the Settings app on your iPhone.
  2. Select Safari from the list and go to its Search section.
  3. Within that, disable the Preload Top Hit toggle.
    Disable Preload Top Hit in Safari iOS iPhone
  4. Once that is done, go back to the Safari settings.
  5. Tap on the Clear History and Website Data options.
    Clear History and Website Data from Safari iPhone
  6. Confirm to clear history and website data.

That’s it; combining both these tweaks should be enough to prevent the Top Hits from appearing in Safari’s search bar.

It would help if you also considered deleting the Safari bookmarks from your iPhone.

Bottom Line: Safari Top Hits Suggestion

So with this, we conclude the guide on how to get rid of the Top Hits in the Safari browser on Mac and iPhone. The underlying issue seems to be the browser’s behavior to load the site’s root directory first, followed by its sub-directories.

For example, if you prefer to visit www.example.com/abc, it would still show www.example.com as the first result in the Top Hits.

On Top of all this, the lack of a direct approach to disable this feature might infuriate the users even further. Safari should have the explicit option to disable the Top Hit feature under the Search section, just like Preload Top Hit option.

Fortunately, the workarounds mentioned in this guide seem to rectify this issue. With that said, if you still have any queries, do let us know.

Lastly, here are the recommended web browsers for computer and mobile phone that you should give a try.

Windows MacOS iOS Android Linux
Chrome Windows Chrome Mac Chrome iOS Chrome Android Firefox Linux
Firefox Windows Safari Mac Safari iOS Edge Android Chrome Linux
Edge Windows Firefox Mac Edge iOS Samsung Internet Edge Linux

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8 thoughts on “How to Get Rid of Top Hit in Safari iPhone and Mac?”

  1. Top Hit website still shows up despite following these instructions. Furthermore, in addition to disabling the Preload Top Hit followed by clearing History and Website Data I also disabled Search Engine Suggestions, disabled Safari Suggestions, and set Quick Website Search to Off; all followed by clearing History and Website Data.
    Top Hit website still shows up.
    There doesn’t seem to be a way to disable it.
    I’m running an iPhone 12 Pro Max, Software Version 14.8

  2. Totally rubbish that safari won’t let you do this when it seems such an obvious problem. My solution is I use safari for work browsing then use duck duck go for private browsing, its very easy to turn off autofill on duckduckgo. I hope that helps

  3. Just select the top hit page you want to delete at History page ‘cmd+Y’ and delete via right click or ‘cmd+backspace’… easy peasy

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