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Reset the Apple Safari browser

Are you looking to reset the Safari browser on your device? Learn how to reset and restore the browser app to default settings and data.

Apple Safari is a popular web browser by Apple Inc. preinstalled on macOS and iOS/iPadOS devices. To reset the browser, clear the data from Safari’s Settings menu on your devices. Safari allows you to delete cookies, cache, and browsing history. You can even use Empty Cache under Develop menu on Mac, and Reset Device Settings for iPhone or iPad.

Data and Settings Reset in Safari browser

The Safari browser operates on a distinct set of preferences or settings and utilizes WebKit technology as a rendering engine, which differs from Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, Firefox, etc.

There is no dedicated setting within the browser to reset or restore the original default. However, we can manage the site data, which will help reset the browser and fix any issues.

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Note: Resetting the Safari browser is destructive and will delete the saved and stored data. Make sure to take a backup with iCloud and Time Machine before proceeding.

The following guide will help you to reset Safari on Mac and iPhone or iPad devices. Resetting involves manually removing the data from the browser.

Reset Safari on Mac

As mentioned, the Safari browser has no option or feature to reset the browser to its original. Instead, we can clear the saved or stored data from the app. It will ensure that any browser-related issues are ironed out.

Delete Website Data

Safari on macOS keeps a record of all the sites we visit; it also stores the data, such as cookies and cache, which helps enhance the user experience by keeping us signed in and loading the page faster. However, this data can get outdated, leading to issues; hence clearing the website data is recommended and part of the reset process. Here are the steps:

  1. Open the Safari browser app on your Mac computer.
  2. Click on the Safari menu from the menu bar and select the Settings option.
    Apple Safari Settings menu
  3. Switch to the Privacy tab and click on the Manage Website Data… button.
    Manage Website Data button on Privacy tab in Safari macOS Settings
  4. Hit on the Remove All command and then the Done button.
    Remove All cache and cookies data stored in Safari Mac

It will immediately empty the browser storage with cached files and site cookies. It’s probably the most effective way to clear out the junk collected over time.

Empty Cache from Develop menu

File cache is one of the browser caches stored in Safari that the Manage Website Data option can clear. However, a few other caches are stored in the browser, like the DNS cache, which needs to be empty from the developer settings. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Launch the Apple Safari on your Mac.
  2. Click on the Safari menu, and select the Settings sub-menu.
    Apple Safari Settings menu
  3. Switch to the Advanced tab and enable the check box for the Show Develop menu in the menu bar option.
    Show Develop menu in menu bar on Safari macOSIt will enable a new Develop menu in the Safari menu bar.
  4. Click on the Develop menu on the menu bar and select Empty Caches from the drop-down menu.
    Empty Caches from Develop menu in Safari browser

It will ensure that all the cache is flushed and the browser is completely free of obsolete data.

For resetting Safari on Mac, you should clear the website data, flush the cache, and remove browsing history to yield the best results.

Reset Safari on iPhone or iPad

Like Mac, Safari on iPhone or iPad has no Reset option. We again need to clear the data from the device manually.

Delete Website Data

You can wipe out Safari’s browsing data from the device settings app. It will reset the browser by removing cache, cookies, and stored browsing history. Here are the steps:

  1. Launch the iPhone or iPad Settings app on your device.
  2. Select Safari in settings and scroll to the bottom to choose the Advanced option.
    Advanced options in Safari on iPhone Settings
  3. Tap on the Website Data option.
    It will display the list of all websites and corresponding data.
  4. Tap on the Remove All Website Data command.
    Remove All Website Data from Safari Settings Advanced tab on iPhone
  5. Confirm to clear the website data.

It will remove the browsing history log, cookies, and cache data stored in the Safari browser.

After clearing the cookies and cache, you must sign in with your online accounts and find pages loading slowly in the first few instances.

Clear Browsing History

When we use the Remove All Website Data option, it sometime might not remove all the history logs. In such cases, we can manually check in the History tab and even clear the browsing history. Follow these steps to reset the complete Safari browser history:

  1. Launch the Safari app on your device.
  2. Tap the Bookmarks open book icon on the menu bar and switch to the History tab.
  3. Tap the Clear command on the History page.
    Switch to History tab under Bookmarks menu on the Safari iPhone
  4. Select the Time Range as All Time option.
    Clear browsing history for time period on Safari app on iPhone

The browsing history and other site data will be removed entirely from the Safari browser. It will also ensure that no data is available in the browser.

Reset iPhone Content and Settings

If the above methods don’t fix your problem, you might need to reset your device completely. Resetting the device is time taking process and will reset the Safari settings to the original defaults.

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Caution: The reset option will delete all the personal data and settings, including photos and videos, so taking the device backup is highly recommended.
  1. Open the Settings app on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap the General settings, and scroll to the bottom to select the Transfer or Reset iPhone option.
    General Settings menu in iPhone Settings app
  3. Tap on Erase All Content and Settings command.
    Erase All Content and Settings menu in iPhone Settings
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to perform the factory reset of the device.

After the reset, the iPhone or iPad will automatically restart and ask to set up as an unboxed device. Sign in with your iCloud account to restore the data and settings.

Bottom Line

The browser reset often helps resolve significant issues like pages not rendering or Safari errors caused due to misconfiguration. Resetting the Safari browser is a cumbersome process. It involves manually deleting each stored data from the browser.

If you are having any issues with your Safari, you should first consider trying basic web browser troubleshooting methods before proceeding to reset the browser. Reset should be considered as a last option only if nothing else works.

You can also consider Safari alternatives on Mac and handheld devices like iPhones or iPad if the problem persists after resetting.

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. He has over a decade of experience solving tech problems, troubleshooting, and creating digital solutions. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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