How to block popup windows in Mac Web browsers

SafariIconXPopup windows in Web browsers can be one of the more irritating aspects of browsing the Web. While most Web sites to not make use of popups, at times you might be directed to some that do.

In a few cases, these are necessary for the services the site is supplying; however, often these sites are spam sites where you might find yourself flooded with popups when you click a link or two, or even when you initially visit or leave the site.

There are several ways to manage or prevent popups from displaying on your Mac.

First is to temporarily disable Javascript. While this is not a permanent fix for the problem since most Web sites require Javascript, it is a way to quickly prevent an annoying site from capturing your attention or getting you locked in a series of endless popup windows. To do this, you will need to check the box to disable Javascript in your Web browser, which in Safari is in the Security section of its preferences, or in the Develop menu which can be enabled in the Advanced section of Safari’s preferences.

Being a temporary resolution, once Javascript is disabled, you can leave the offending site and then re-enable it.

The next option is built-in popup blocking routines that most Web browsers support. For the major ones here is how to enable this feature:


Safari popup settings

Check this box to block pop-ups in Safari.

Go to the Security section of Safari’s preferences and check the option to “Block pop-up windows.”

Safari does not have an option to manage this setting for individual Web sites.


Chrome popup settings

Chrome supports an exceptions list for sites that require pop-ups be enabled.

Choose Preferences from the Chrome application menu, and then perform the following steps:

  1. Scroll down and click “Show advanced settings.”
  2. Click the Content settings button in the “Privacy” section.
  3. In the “Pop-ups” section, check the option to not allow sites to show pop-ups

In Chrome, you can manage sites on an individual basis, so those you use that require pop-ups can be allowed to run. This can be done by clicking the “Manage exceptions” button.


Opera popup settings

Opera has four popup-handling settings in the General preferences section.

Go to the Quick preferences (Option-F12) and choose from the following four options:

  • Open All Pop-Ups
  • Open Pop-Ups in Background
  • Block Unwanted Pop-Ups
  • Block All Pop-Ups

These can also be set in the General section of Opera’s main preferences panel.


Firefox popup settings

Check this box to block pop-ups in Firefox

Go to the Content section of FireFox’s preferences and check the option to Block pop-up windows.

As with Chrome, Firefox supports an exceptions list, so while Web sites for which you need pop-ups enabled can work properly, those for ads and spam will be blocked.

5 thoughts on “How to block popup windows in Mac Web browsers

  1. B. Jefferson Le Blanc

    This recommendation, to block pop-up windows, is ironic indeed, since I discovered that doing so in Safari blocks my ability to post comments on this web site. There used to be an item in the Safari application menu to turn blocking on and off, which made it relatively easy to do on an as needed basis. But that feature is now only available in Safari’s Security preferences, which makes it far less convenient to access.

    I’m going to try once more to post with pop-up blocking turned on, now that the site automatically puts my google+ information in the details fields. If it works, and you see this paragraph, then it was only necessary to turn off pop-up blocking long enough to get MacIssues’ cookie to register the information.

  2. xAirbusdriver

    I think you may have other add-ons or extensions interfering with MacIssues, maybe even a different version of Safari than I’m using [7.0.3 (9537.75.14)]. Not only do I have Pop-ups blocked, I also have third party and advertiser cookies blocked. However, cookies from MacIssues are being allowed.

    But I don’t rely much on Safari (or most any other browser) to to my blocking, etc. I’ve found Ghostery to be very useful in Safari and Glimmerblocker (blocks Flash just about everywhere) helps a lot, also.

    Hope you find a more user-friendly method to control what destroys your surfing experience! 😉

  3. Joe Gudac

    I find this a very interesting topic. I struggled for over a year with two different Payroll Companies. Both ADP and Paychex require a user to have the “Block Pop-up Windows” turned off to access online reports. What is even worse is that both companies had no clue that this issue existed.

  4. janethudgins

    I blocked ads in Comments in Firefox Preferences long ago but it does nothing to stop the infuriating ads that intrude when trying to work. Safari doesn’t seem so infected but it’s very slow and doesn’t offer as many options. What are the laws—how can I force them out?

  5. hijackthemic

    It seems like not bothering with Safari is the best solution. Chrome and Firefox are much better.

Comments are closed.