Safari not responding on mac

It’s an early morning; the sun is yet to peek over the horizon, and you’re settled comfortably with your hot cup of coffee. In the tranquil silence of your home office, you open your Mac, ready to delve into a wealth of research for your next big project. You click on the familiar compass icon, anticipating a flood of information to grace your screen, but instead, you are greeted with frustration. ‘Safari not responding on Mac’ is the digital wall you unexpectedly hit. That spinning rainbow wheel mocks you, the seconds tick by, and your perfectly planned day threatens to unravel.

A sense of urgency swells. You have deadlines to meet, emails to send, and articles to read. Safari has been your trusted ally, and this sudden rebellion seems out of character. ‘Why now?’ you wonder, echoing the sentiments of countless other Mac users who’ve found themselves in similar straits.

We understand the feeling, that moment of digital despair. A hiccup in your routine, the browser equivalent of the car not starting when you’re already running late. But fear not. In the vast world of the internet, you’re far from alone, and help is at hand. There’s a roadmap for this rough patch of the digital landscape. Whether it’s a pesky glitch, an outdated version, or something more complex, you can navigate through it. Rest assured, this is a hurdle you can overcome. So, brace yourself and prepare for a journey into the underbelly of macOS troubleshooting. Now, without further ado, let’s explore the necessary steps to get you back on track.

Safari not responding on mac

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How to fix Safari not responding on mac

1. Check Your Internet Connection

An unstable or non-existent internet connection could potentially lead to your browser not functioning correctly. Here’s how to check:

  1. Wi-Fi: Look at the top right corner of your Mac. If your Wi-Fi icon is not filled in, it means you’re not connected to a network. Click the icon and select your preferred Wi-Fi network.
  2. Try a different site: If your Wi-Fi connection appears stable, try visiting a different website. If other sites load, the problem might be specific to the site you were trying to reach initially.
  3. Other devices: Check if other devices connected to the same network are experiencing similar issues. If they are, you might need to reset your router or contact your Internet Service Provider.

2. Restart Safari and Your Mac

Sometimes, a fresh start is all you need. It’s the digital equivalent of “have you tried turning it off and on again?” Here’s how to do it:

  1. Quit Safari: Choose Safari > Quit Safari from the top left of your screen. If Safari is unresponsive, press Option-Command-Escape to force quit the application.
  2. Restart Your Mac: Click the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen, and select “Restart…” This will refresh your system and could solve minor software glitches causing Safari to act up.

If Safari continues to misbehave after these steps, it’s time to venture deeper into the world of troubleshooting. Remember, every problem has a solution, and your browser hitch is no exception.

3. Looking for Updates: Is Your Safari and macOS Up-to-date?

Software updates are vital for maintaining the health of your system and ensuring optimal performance. They bring in new features, security patches, and importantly, fixes for known issues. If your Safari is acting up, it’s possible you may be running an outdated version of Safari or macOS.

How to Check for Safari Updates

With newer versions of macOS, Safari updates are included within system updates. Here’s how to check:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top-left corner of your screen.
  2. Choose “System Preferences” from the dropdown menu.
  3. Select “Software Update.” If updates are available, you will see a message stating, “Updates are available for your Mac.”

How to Update Your macOS

If an update is available, it’s a good idea to back up your data before proceeding with the update. Once you’ve done that, follow these steps:

  1. In the same “Software Update” window, click on “Update Now.”
  2. If multiple updates are available, click on “More info” and select the ones you want to install.
  3. Click on “Install Now” to start the update process. Your Mac might need to restart to finish the installation, so ensure that you’ve saved all your work.

Remember, running the latest software is key to keeping your Mac, and Safari, running smoothly. If you’re still having trouble after updating, fear not, there are more troubleshooting methods to explore.

4. Force Quit and Relaunch Safari

When Safari is unresponsive, a simple quit might not do the trick. In these situations, you can force quit the application:

  1. Press Command-Option-Escape on your keyboard to bring up the Force Quit Applications window.
  2. Select Safari from the list of applications.
  3. Click on the Force Quit button.

After forcing Safari to quit, relaunch the application to see if it’s working normally again.

5. Clear Safari’s Cache and Browsing Data

A cluttered cache or browsing data can sometimes cause Safari to become unresponsive. Clearing these can often resolve the issue:

  1. Open Safari. From the menu bar, click on Safari and select Preferences.
  2. Click on the Advanced tab and check the box at the bottom that says Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  3. From the menu bar, click on Develop and then Empty Caches. This will clear your Safari cache.
  4. Next, from the Safari menu, choose Clear History…. You can select how far back you want to erase your browsing data. For comprehensive cleaning, select all history, then click Clear History.

These steps might seem a bit technical, but they are an essential part of the troubleshooting process. If the issue persists, don’t lose heart! There are still other steps to explore.

6. Safe Mode: Starting Your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode, also known as “Safe Boot,” is a way to start up your Mac so that it performs certain checks and prevents some software from automatically loading or opening. Starting your Mac in Safe Mode and checking Safari can help isolate the issue.

What is Safe Mode?

Safe Mode is a diagnostic tool in the Mac operating system. It limits the operation of the system to the basic functionalities to help troubleshoot issues related to software and hardware. When you start your Mac in Safe Mode, it checks your startup disk and attempts to repair directory issues, if necessary. It also prevents startup items and login items from opening automatically. If the issue doesn’t occur in Safe Mode, you can infer that the default settings and basic device drivers aren’t causing the issue.

How to Start Your Mac in Safe Mode and Check Safari

Starting your Mac in Safe Mode is a relatively simple process:

  1. Shutdown your Mac: Click on the Apple logo in the top left corner of your screen, and select “Shutdown.”
  2. Start in Safe Mode: As soon as your machine begins to restart, press and hold the Shift key. Once you see the login window, you can release the Shift key.
  3. Log in: You may need to log in twice if your disk is encrypted with FileVault.
  4. Check Safari: With your Mac now in Safe Mode, open Safari and check if it’s functioning as expected.

Remember, if Safari works fine in Safe Mode, it’s likely that a software conflict is causing Safari to be unresponsive under normal conditions. If it’s still unresponsive in Safe Mode, the issue might be more complex. Regardless, each step brings you closer to a solution.

7. Disabling Extensions: Could an Extension be the Culprit?

Browser extensions can add a wealth of functionality to Safari, but they can also be the root cause of many issues, including the browser not responding. An outdated or incompatible extension can lead to performance issues and even crashes.

How to Identify Problematic Extensions

The best way to identify whether an extension is causing your issue is by disabling them all and then re-enabling them one at a time. Here’s how:

  1. Open Safari. From the menu bar, click on Safari and select Preferences.
  2. Click on the Extensions tab.
  3. Note the list of your installed extensions.
  4. Uncheck the box for each extension to disable them all.

Once all extensions are disabled, try using Safari again. If it works normally, it’s likely one of your extensions was the culprit.

8. How to Disable or Remove Extensions

To identify the problematic extension, you need to disable or remove them one at a time.

  1. Go back to the Extensions tab in Safari’s Preferences.
  2. Check (enable) the box for the first extension, then close Preferences.
  3. Test Safari’s functionality.
  4. If Safari becomes unresponsive, you’ve likely found the problematic extension. You can select this extension in the list and click on Uninstall.
  5. If Safari is still running smoothly, repeat this process with the next extension.

Remember to keep your extensions updated, as updates often include bug fixes. If you discover that an extension is causing issues, consider reaching out to the developer or checking if there’s an update available that resolves the issue. If Safari is still unresponsive, there are still a few steps left in the troubleshooting process. Don’t lose hope; you’re getting closer to a solution.

9. Check Safari Settings

Sometimes, a small adjustment in Safari’s settings can resolve a non-responsive issue:

  1. Open Safari. From the menu bar, click on Safari and select Preferences.
  2. Go through each tab (General, Tabs, Autofill, etc.) and ensure the settings are as they should be. Particularly, under the Websites tab, check the settings for pop-up windows and auto-play.

10. Check iCloud Private Relay

iCloud Private Relay is a feature that provides additional privacy when you’re browsing with Safari. However, it could cause issues:

  1. Open System Preferences and click on Apple ID.
  2. Select iCloud from the sidebar and look for Private Relay. If it’s enabled, try disabling it to see if that resolves the issue.

11. Close Other Apps in the Background

Too many open applications can consume system resources, causing Safari to slow down:

  1. Use the Command-Tab keyboard shortcut to switch between open apps.
  2. For any apps you’re not currently using, press Command-Q to quit.

12. Disable Apps Opening on Startup

Some applications open automatically when you start your Mac, which could impact Safari:

  1. Click on the Apple logo in the top left of your screen and go to System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups, select your user account, and go to the Login Items tab.
  3. Select any apps you don’t want to open at startup and click the minus button to remove them.

13. Remove Safari Preferences

Corrupt preference files could cause issues with Safari:

  1. Quit Safari.
  2. In Finder, press Command-Shift-G to open the ‘Go to the folder’ dialog.
  3. Enter ~/Library/Preferences/ and click Go.
  4. Look for any files that start with and move them to your desktop (as a backup).

14. Remove Junk Files on Mac

Over time, your Mac accumulates junk files which can slow down your system:

  1. Consider using a reputable Mac cleaner software to find and remove these files safely.
  2. Alternatively, you can manually clean out your downloads folder, empty your trash bin, and delete old, large files you no longer need.

By exploring these additional troubleshooting steps, you can further narrow down the causes of Safari not responding on your Mac, and find the most effective solution.

15.  User Accounts: Is the Issue User Specific?

Sometimes, the problem might not be Safari itself, but specific to a user account on your Mac. Corrupt files or settings in your user profile could be causing Safari to freeze or crash. To troubleshoot this, we’ll create a new user account and test Safari there.

How to Create a New User Account for Testing

Creating a new user account is simple and can provide valuable insight into the issue:

  1. Click the Apple logo in the top left of your screen, and select System Preferences.
  2. Click on Users & Groups.
  3. Click on the lock icon in the bottom left corner to make changes. You’ll be prompted to enter your password.
  4. Click the + button below the list of users to add a new user.
  5. Choose a Standard or Administrator account from the dropdown menu, and fill in the required fields.
  6. Click on Create User.

Testing Safari in a New User Account

Once you’ve created a new user account, it’s time to test Safari:

  1. Log out of your current user account (Apple logo > Log Out [Your Name]).
  2. Log into the new account you just created.
  3. Open Safari and test if it’s working correctly.

If Safari works without issues in the new user account, the problem likely lies within your original user profile. If Safari is still not responding, it indicates a more systemic issue. Regardless, you are on the path to diagnosing the problem and finding a solution.

16. Resetting Safari: A Fresh Start

Resetting Safari is akin to giving your browser a clean slate. It can resolve a multitude of issues, including Safari not responding, but it’s usually considered as one of the last resorts because it will remove your history, cookies, cache, and more.

What Does Resetting Safari Do?

Resetting Safari essentially restores the browser to its original, out-of-the-box state. It clears out your browsing history, removes cookies and cache, disables extensions and plugins, and resets your homepage. It’s important to note that resetting Safari does not delete your bookmarks.

How to Reset Safari on Your Mac

Follow the steps below to reset Safari:

  1. Open Safari. From the menu bar, click on Safari and select Preferences.
  2. Click on the Privacy tab and then on Manage Website Data. Click Remove All to delete all cookies and website data.
  3. Now, go to the Advanced tab and ensure the Show Develop menu in menu bar box is checked.
  4. From the menu bar, click on Develop and then Empty Caches.
  5. Next, clear your history. From the Safari menu, choose Clear History. Choose all history and click Clear History.
  6. Lastly, turn off your extensions. Click on the Extensions tab in Safari’s Preferences and uncheck the box for each extension to disable it.

Remember to backup any important data (like saved passwords, which can be found in Preferences under the Passwords tab) before you reset Safari.

Resetting Safari can often resolve the most stubborn issues. But if you’re still having trouble, there are a few more avenues to explore. Keep in mind, you’re narrowing down the possibilities with every step you take.

17. Seeking Professional Help: When to Contact Apple Support

Even after methodical troubleshooting, some issues may persist. If your Safari is still not responding on your Mac, it’s probably time to reach out to professionals who can help.

Symptoms That Indicate It’s Time for Professional Help

While minor glitches can often be resolved with the steps outlined above, some signs suggest it might be time to seek professional help:

  1. Persistent Issues: If Safari continues to freeze or crash, even after you’ve reset it and checked for any issues with your user account, it’s time to contact Apple Support.
  2. System-wide Problems: If the issue isn’t confined to Safari and you notice that your Mac is frequently freezing, crashing, or running slower than usual, professional help may be needed.
  3. Hardware Issues: If you suspect a hardware problem (like a failing hard drive or faulty RAM), reach out to Apple Support.

How to Contact Apple Support

Apple offers several ways to get support:

  1. Online Support: Visit the Apple Support website ( where you can find a wealth of troubleshooting articles or initiate a chat with a support agent.
  2. Phone Support: You can call Apple Support. The number varies by region, so check the “Contact Apple Support” page on their website for the correct number.
  3. Apple Store: Schedule an appointment with the Genius Bar at your local Apple Store.
  4. Apple Support App: If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download the Apple Support app from the App Store.

Remember, Apple Support is there to help, so don’t hesitate to reach out if you’re having persistent issues. Meanwhile, there are steps you can take to maintain your Mac and Safari’s health to prevent future issues.

Preventive Measures: Keeping Safari Running Smoothly

After dealing with the frustration of Safari not responding on your Mac, you’ll want to take steps to prevent similar issues from cropping up in the future. A little preventive maintenance can go a long way in ensuring a smoother, more enjoyable browsing experience.

Regularly Updating Your Software

Keeping your software up-to-date is one of the most effective preventive measures:

  1. Safari and macOS Updates: Regular updates often include bug fixes, security patches, and new features that can improve the stability and performance of Safari. Make it a habit to check for updates periodically.
  2. Extension Updates: If you use extensions, make sure they’re also kept up-to-date. Updates to extensions often include important bug fixes that can prevent issues like freezing and crashing.

Safe Browsing Habits and Extension Management

Practicing safe browsing habits can also help keep Safari running smoothly:

  1. Mindful Browsing: Be cautious of the websites you visit. Some sites can cause Safari to slow down or freeze due to excessive ads, pop-ups, or poorly optimized scripts.
  2. Extension Management: While extensions can add functionality to Safari, they can also slow it down if you have too many installed. Regularly review your extensions and remove any that you no longer use or need.

Taking these preventive measures can help maintain your Safari’s health and ensure a smooth and secure browsing experience. However, keep in mind that issues can still occur, and when they do, the steps you’ve learned here will guide you towards a resolution.


Safari’s responsiveness on your Mac is paramount for smooth browsing. Addressing any glitches early prevents major headaches later. Regular software updates, mindful browsing habits, and strategic extension management are crucial. Always remember, when problems persist, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from Apple Support. Your troubleshooting journey narrows down possibilities, inching closer to the perfect solution. Enjoy a smoother, more reliable browsing experience with these handy tips in your tech toolkit!


1. What can cause Safari to stop responding on my Mac?

Issues can range from outdated software, cluttered cache, problematic extensions, or issues with your user account.

2. Can updating my Safari and macOS resolve the non-responsive issue?

Yes, updates often include bug fixes and enhancements that can improve Safari’s performance and resolve issues.

3. How does safe mode help in troubleshooting Safari?

Safe mode limits macOS to its basic functions, allowing you to check if an issue stems from added software or extensions.

4. Could an extension be causing my Safari issues?

Definitely. Some extensions may cause Safari to freeze or crash, especially if they’re outdated or incompatible.

5. When should I reach out to Apple Support for Safari issues?

If troubleshooting steps don’t work, persistent issues continue, or system-wide problems emerge, it’s time to contact Apple Support.