Passwords on Safari: The Spinning Wheel – How to Fix the Lag

Users have described having a problem when they are entering passwords in Safari: When they have to enter a password, they are met with the spinning wheel and have to wait a few seconds (or more) before they are able to continue. Most of the users having this problem are using Macs, however, this problem may occur on iPhone or iPad as well. In this article, we will describe solutions that have worked for some users. We will also give some more general troubleshooting tips which may be helpful.

This problem has taken somewhat different forms for different users and so the solution for one user may not necessarily work for another. Some users have described this problem as occurring after an update, such as Big Sur. Other users have this problem on more than one machine, running different versions of macOS: Big Sur, Catalina or High Sierra. Still other users only experience the issue on certain websites. Two possible sources for the cause of these issues with Safari hanging at password entry are: Apple’s Two-Factor Authentication and iCloud Keychain.

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Many users who did not have 2FA enabled, have said that enabling it fixed the problem for them. To enable two-factor authentication for your Apple ID:

On iPhone or iPad

turn on 2FA
  1. Go to Settings > [your name] > Password & Security. Your name is your Apple ID name at the top of the list in Settings.
  2. Tap on Turn On Two-Factor Authentication, then tap Continue.
  3. Enter your phone number. This is the number at which you will receive verification codes. Choose to receive your codes via text or call.
  4. Tap on Next. You will need to enter a code to verify the phone number you entered.

On Mac (Catalina or later)

  1. Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences. Click on Apple ID.
  2. Under your name on the left, click on Password & Security.
  3. Click on Turn On, next to Two-Factor Authentication.

On Mac (Mohave or earlier)

  1. Go to Apple menu > System Preferences and click on iCloud.
  2. Click on Security and then click on Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

See also: How to Turn Off Two-Factor Authentication?

iCloud Keychain

iCloud Keychain image

Here are a couple of things you can try when you are having problems with Keychain.

Sign Out of iCloud

You might try signing out of iCloud. This has helped some users in the past who were experiencing laggy autofill problems in Safari. Don’t keep a copy of Keychain on your device when you sign out.

  1. Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences. Click on Apple ID.
  2. On the left, under your name, click on Overview.
  3. Near the bottom of the window, click on Sign Out.
  4. Follow the onscreen instructions.
  5. To sign back in, go to Apple menu  > System Preferences > Apple ID and click on Sign In.

Keychain Access Preferences

If your preferences file is corrupt, you may remove it. You can do this by simply moving the file to another location like your desktop, and then testing to see if your problem is resolved. If it isn’t, you can replace the file. This procedure is explained in our article: Keychain Access Not Responding, How to Fix Without Losing Your Passwords.

Check Safari

Install Updates

Check for macOS/iOS/iPadOS updates – they also contain the Safari updates.

  • On Mac: Go to Apple menu  > System Preferences and click on Software Update.
  • On iPhone or iPad: Go to Settings > General > Software Update.

Update/Turn Off any Safari Extensions

To manage your Safari extensions on Mac:

  1. With Safari open, go to the top menu bar and click on Safari, then choose Preferences.
  2. Click on the extensions tab at the top. You can turn off extensions by clicking the checkbox next to their name.

If you got the extension through the App Store, you will use the App Store to manage its updates. If you did not get your extension through the App Store, you may want to check the developers web site for updates.

Test in a Private Safari Window

Using a private browsing window will prevent websites from storing or using stored data such as cookies and data stored in caches. Try using one of the websites where you are experiencing a problem in a private window. To open a private window:

  • With Safari open, go to the top menu and click on File > New Private Window.

If you do not have the problem while using a private window, you will want to remove website data. For more on how to clear cookies, caches and history in Safari on Mac, see the following:

Other Things to Check or Try

Restart your Mac in Safe Mode

Safe Mode is a good general troubleshooting tool on your Mac. For more about using Safe Mode, see:

Check your Network

For more information on how to check and troubleshoot network problems, see: Wi-Fi Not Working after Big Sur Upgrade.

Apple Support

If none of these tips have helped resolve your problem, you may want to contact Apple Support for more assistance.

Dr. Stacey Butler is a tech writer at macReports covering news, how-tos, and user guides. She is a longtime Mac and iPhone user and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Here is her LinkedIn profile.

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