Safari Isn’t Responding, Keeps Crashing or Freezing, Fix

Safari is not working as expected? This article explains what you can do if Safari doesn’t respond, and keeps freezing or crashing on your Mac. You may also see the rotating color wheel or “spinning beach ball”. A lot of users are also reporting that Safari crashes when they open the Preferences pane.

Safari is a great and stable browser. However, performance-related problems (freezing or crashing) may still occur rarely.

You may also see “Safari quit unexpectedly” messages.

Safari Crash

An unresponsive Safari may cause your Mac to freeze also.

If you are experiencing this issue, please try the steps below. After each step, try to open Safari to see if your problem is fixed.

See also: Safari won’t open

1. Update

Make sure that your Mac has the latest versions of the macOS software. Safari is included with macOS. Updating your Mac also includes updates to Safari. Here is how:

  • If you are using macOS Mojave or later: Go to System Preferences and Software Update. Alternatively, you can click the Apple menu > About This Mac > Overview and then Software Update. And if there is an update available, click the Update Now button then follow the onscreen instructions.
  • If you are using macOS High Sierra or earlier: Open the App Store on your Mac and click Updates.
macOS Update

2. Empty Cache in Safari

Emptying all Safari caches may fix your problem. It is a good idea to do this in Safe Mode because Safe Mode clears your Mac’s system cache and may repair issues. This is also a good idea because if your experience Safari crashes when you want to open Safari Preferences. Please follow the steps below:

  • Turn off your Mac.
  • Turn on your Mac and immediately press and hold the Shift key.
  • Keep holding the key until you see the login screen. Then release the Shift key and log in.
  • Your computer is now in Safe Mode. Your computer may be slower in Safe Mode, this is normal.
  • Now go to the Finder.
  • From the menu bar, click Go and Go to Folder (or press Command, Shift, G keys together).
  • Enter the following and click Go:
Safari cache
  • Delete files by dragging them to the Trash.
  • Now exit Safe Mode by restarting your Mac normally. Do not press the Shift key.
  • When your Mac turns on, and then try to open Safari to see if it now crashes or freezes.

3. Safari Extensions

You may be having this problem because of third party extensions you may have. There are two steps you should take:

  1. First, make sure that if your issue caused by an extension.
  2. If an extension is the problem, then we will need to determine which extensions are causing the problem. Here is how:

Please follow the steps below to turn off extensions to figure out whether they are causing the problems:

  1. Open Safari and in Safari, click Safari and Preferences.
  2. Click the Extensions tab. Then deselect all of the extension’s checkboxes to disable them.
  3. Now exit Preferences and test Safari. If your problem is not fixed, you can now turn on the extensions as they are not the issue. If your problem is fixed, it means that your problem caused by one of your extensions. What you can do is to re-enable the extensions one by one until you find the problematic extension. When you find it, you can remove (by clicking the Uninstall button), update, or contact its developer for further help.
Safari Extensions

If your issue continues to persist, you may want to fully reset Safari.

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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