Safari is the default browser on Mac and yet, its performance wears off rather considerably over time. Users install numerous plug-ins and extensions which bring down the efficiency of the iconic Apple browser. If you are experiencing a slow Safari on your Mac, especially one that has slowed down in the recent, these simple tips will help you achieve the optimal performance levels that Safari was able to put out when you first used it on your new Mac.
1. Clear cache and log files
Cache helps websites load faster by storing relevant information pertaining to frequently accessed web pages. Every time you visit the same website, your system need not download all elements on the page like scripts, images, thumbnails, icons etc. Cache is designed to improve the browser’s performance but the same system can also sometimes pull down performance.
Over time, the cache grows and takes up a lot of memory on your system which eventually affects the performance of Safari. The expediency of your cache then diminishes. Hence, it is important to empty your cache frequently, maybe once in a month or once in two weeks.
Select ‘Empty Cache’ under the Safari menu to clear the cache once in two weeks. It is also a good practice to clear log files to free space. Try using cleaning tools such as CleanMyMac or Onyx to periodically remove temporary internet files and other unnecessary junk on your Mac’s hard disk.
2. Delete your Safari’s browsing history
Safari maintains a history of every website that you visit. Safari’s history grows constantly and after a while it brings down the performance. A bloated history makes it difficult for Safari to manage information.
Deleting history periodically will improve your Safari’s performance. Alternatively, you can set the history to be stored for shorter periods in your Preference. You can remove your entire history by clicking on ‘Clear History’ from your Safari’s History menu.
3. Disable Extensions
You must exercise caution while installing plugins and extensions in Safari. Although they are useful in many ways, they clog the performance of your browsers. Extensions are one of the main reasons for encountering an unresponsive browser.
Plugins and extensions run several scripts in the background which can cause your browser to crash. Hence, it is advisable to install only those extensions that are necessary and remove the rest. Also, ensure your extensions are up to date.
Open Safari’s preferences and go to Extensions tab to disable extensions that are not required. You can individually enable/disable extensions from here.
4. Simply Relaunch Safari
Sometimes, a slow and unresponsive Safari experience can be resolved by simply restarting Safari, preferably after restarting your Mac as well. If you have left Safari open for a long time then, there is possibility for memory leaks to have occurred. Safari would be hogging system resources which would in turn bring down the performance of the whole system.
Exit Safari immediately after you are done with your internet browsing. This will release system resources that are required for other apps. Closing Safari when you are not browsing the internet will also minimize the risk of attacks from unscrupulous websites that can otherwise possibly pass on malware or viruses (thought the risk is low on a Mac).
5. Streamline Auto-Fill Option
Auto-fill option provides great convenience while filling forms on the web. On the other hand, it can cause a performance hit when it is not used wisely. You can disable auto-fill option completely but then it would be prudent to set the right preference and use the auto-fill option judiciously.
You can set the preferences by choosing the AutoFill tab under Preferences of Safari menu. Turn off auto-fill options for those fields that you don’t require suggestions to boost the performance of Safari.
6. Remove Safari’s Property List File
Safari’s property list file (.plist) gets created every time you launch the application. Deleting the Safari’s preference file can improve the launch time considerably. If you have a corrupted property list file then, deleting the file will help improve the speed.
The downside of deleting the property list file is it will disable your auto-fill preferences and Homepage settings. You can locate the property list file under ~/Library/Preferences. Remove the file named com.apple.Safari.plist
7. Reset Safari if all other remedies fail!
Finally, if nothing else improves the speed of Safari then, go for a complete reset. Yes, a complete reset. Not many people actually know about the reset. You can reset Safari from the main menu. You can also select the items that you want to reset within Safari.
Resetting Safari will restore it to its original settings. So, if you have been facing a slow Safari with numerous issues then, this option would set it right.
Remember, resetting your Safari will remove history, preferences, and other data. Hence, go for it only if you are sure of not losing important settings.
If you have recently upgrade to Yosemite and are facing slow or disconnecting WiFi problems, don’t put the blame on Safari. It could have something to do with Yosemite itself! This post of ours talks about Yosemite WiFi fixes if you need it.