How to fully reset Safari on your Mac

Being the default browser shipped with every Mac, you are very likely using Safari as your main way of accessing the Web.

Therefore, if something goes wrong where Safari either loads and runs slowly, crashes on startup, or is otherwise not functioning correctly, then you might find yourself in a bit of a frustrating situation.

If you need to reset aspects of Safari in order to regain functionality, then even though the options for doing so are somewhat scattered, you can still use them to regain use of your browser.

Remove site history

Safari has its built-in tools for clearing temporary data that may be causing problems.

To do this, go to the Safari menu and choose the option to Clear History and Website Data.

clear-history

If the problem you are experiencing only happened in the last hour or the past day, then you can try choosing the option here for encompassing that timeframe, otherwise you can remove all history data in this menu.

Alternatively, if you are finding problems happening only with one Web site you visit, then you can remove this data on a per-site basis:

  1. Go to the Privacy section of Safari’s preferences.
  2. Click the Details button that appears under the “Remove All Website Data” button.
  3. Search for your site, and then remove only it from the list.

Clear Safari’s Web caches

Apple has somewhat hidden the options for clearing Safari’s caches (temporary local storage for a number of different settings and configurations), but they are still available to clear.

First, go into Safari in the Apple menu bar and then select Settings.

safari-settings

Once you’re in Settings, go to the Privacy option. Here, you’ll find a button for Manage Website Data – press it, then choose to clear however far back you wish to go.

manage-website-data

Disable Extensions

Extensions give additional functions to Safari, but may also cause some problems if they contain bugs.

Therefore, try going to the Extensions section of Safari’s preferences and sliding the setting to “Off.”

Alternatively, you can try disabling Extensions on an individual basis (each should have a checkbox for enabling/disabling), but first turning them off globally and then testing Safari will help indicate whether these are contributing to the problem.

Also be sure you use the Updates button in these preferences to check for and install any new versions of your extensions.

Remove the Safari Preferences File

First, go into Finder, then select ‘Go’ and ‘Go to Folder’ from the Apple menu.

delete-safari-preferences

Type ~/Library/Preferences/ and press Enter. Find the file named com.apple.Safari.plist and move it to the Trash. This will reset your Safari preferences to default.

Finally, restart your device

The last thing that you need to do to fully reset Safari is to shutdown your Macbook, and then restart it.

Once you do this, you should find that your Safari browser – along with history and preferences – has been reset.

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Mac Issues

At Mac Issues, we're dedicated to helping you learn how to use your Macbook properly. With tutorials, how-to troubleshooting guides & real reviews, hopefully we can make your day that little bit easier.

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