How to Troubleshoot Safari if It’s Running Slow on Mac

This article shows how you can fix the Safari browser if it is slow on your Mac. The purpose is to help speed up Apple’s Safari or determine why it is running slow. If you are experiencing one of the following issues, you can use this article to address your problem:

  • Safari is so slow and seems frozen.
  • Websites are taking a lot of time to load or videos are lagging.
  • A spinning beach ball frequently keeps appearing when attempting to browse the Web.
  • Clicking the Safari options (history, bookmarks, etc) temporarily causes Safari to freeze or become sluggish.
Safari Slow

There could be many reasons why you experience this issue. Follow the steps below:

1. Is the Mac up to date?

Ensure that your Mac is running the latest versions of the macOS version. Safari is a built-in app and the macOS software includes Safari. This means that updating macOS will also update Safari. You can go to System Preferences > Software Update to check for updates. And if there is an update, click the Update Now button to update your Mac.

Update Mac

2. Is it your Internet connection?

You may feel that Safari is sluggish because you may have a poor or unstable connection to the Internet. Use another browser (Chrome, Firefox, etc) to visit a website. Or try using multiple devices in your home. Do you still experience that your browsing experience is slow? If your answer is yes, then the problem may be your connection. Is the slowness just with one website or with all of the websites you try to visit? If the problem is with just one website, then the problem is that website. However, if all of the websites appear to be slow on all devices and/or using different browsers, the problem may be, again, your connection. If this is the case, try:

3. Too much cache? Clear your cache on Safari on your Mac

As you use Safari to visit websites, cache data will accumulate and this can possibly slow the browser down. Clearing the cache on your Safari browser will ensure that it’s working smoothly and efficiently. The Safari cache is a pile of temporary website data. Here is how you can clear cache in Safari on your Mac:

  • Open Safari.
  • Click Safari > Preferences.
  • Click the Advanced tab.
  • Check the box next to the “Show Develop menu in menu bar” option. Now a new menu item called Develop will appear.
  • Now exit Preferences.
  • Click Develop and Empty Caches.
Safari Develop menu
Safari develop empty caches

4. Are your extensions causing this?

An extension or add-on may cause this problem. Do you have these installed? If your answer is yes, try the following:

We can turn off Safari Extensions temporarily to see if they are causing this:

  • In Safari, click Safari > Preferences.
  • Click Extensions.
  • You will see your installed extensions.
  • Turn all them off by deselecting the checkboxes.

Now check Safari. Is it faster now? If turning off extensions resolves the issue, now determine the problematic extension that is causing this issue. Turn them back on, one by one, until you find the problematic extension. After each extension, you turn it on, test to see if the problem has recurred before turning on the next extension.

Safari Extensions

5. Safe Mode

Restart your Mac in Safe Mode. Safe Mode will clear some system caches. This can improve Safari’s performance. The steps will differ depending on the Mac type you have: Apple silicon or Intel. If you do not know, go to the Apple menu > About this Mac.

Apple silicon:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Press and hold the power button until the startup options window appears.
  • Click your startup disk.
  • Press and hold the Shift key and click “Continue in Safe Mode.”
  • Login.


  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Turn on your Mac and quickly press and hold the Shift key.
  • Release the Shift key when you see the login window.
  • Login.

Your Mac is in Safe Mode. Test Safari. Then exit Safari (just restart your Mac). Then test Safari again.

See also:

Dr. Serhat Kurt worked as a Senior Technology Director. He holds a doctoral degree (or doctorate) from the University of Illinois at Urbana / Champaign and a master’s degree from Purdue University. Here is his LinkedIn profile.

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