Mac Fixes

Safari Keeps Crashing on Mac

Every Mac comes with Safari installed by default, and as a standard part of macOS, it’s about as reliable as you could wish. But it’s not infallible. As with any software, one day, you may find that Safari keeps crashing on Mac—either closing itself down, freezing up, or acting erratically.

 

Before we start

 

Clearing your Safari caches is one of the quickest ways to fix frequent crashes, and there’s no easier way to do that than with MacKeeper Safe Cleanup. As well as removing corrupted browser files, Safe Cleanup clears all kinds of hidden junk that can make your Mac slow and unstable, including unnecessary log files, unwanted apps and extensions, and lots more.

 

Here’s how to use it:

  1. Download and install MacKeeper.
  2. When MacKeeper opens, select the Safe Cleanup utility.
  3. Select Start Scan to find Safari cache files and other junk.
  4. Choose the files you want to remove, be sure to select Caches, then click Clean Junk Files.

Why does Safari keep crashing on your Mac?

No matter what kind of Mac you use, or how powerful it may be, there are many reasons why you might see Safari quitting unexpectedly on Mac. It could be due to corrupted browser files, bad plugins or extensions, odd preferences problems, or incompatible third-party software.

 

Whatever the case may be, there are lots of simple solutions to fix a Safari crash on Mac. So, as long as your Mac isn’t past its best—which may be the case if your MacBook keeps freezing—it shouldn’t be difficult to eliminate the problem and get Safari working again.

How to fix Safari crash on Mac

When you find Safari not working on Mac, here are the fixes you need. Some are much easier than others, so we recommend starting with those first, and then moving on to the slightly trickier solutions if you find that Safari is still freezing or closing randomly.

  1. Force quit Safari
  2. Restart your Mac
  3. Update your macOS and Safari
  4. Boot macOS in Safe Mode
  5. Create a new user profile
  6. Clear Safari caches
  7. Delete Safari history and website data
  8. Uninstall Safari extensions
  9. Remove Safari preference files
  10. Reset PRAM or NVRAM
  11. Run Apple diagnostics
  12. Use Disk Utility

1. Force quit Safari

If Safari has locked up or frozen, you should first try to quit in the normal way, using Cmd + Q. If that doesn’t work, then force quit it instead, like so:

  1. Press Command + Option + Escape on your keyboard.
  2. In the Force Quit menu, select Safari, then click Force Quit.
The Force Quit Applications window in macOS displaying a list of all running applications. To force quit Safari, first select it, then click the Force Quit button.
Select Safari, then click Force Quit

2. Restart your Mac

Sometimes, your Safari crashing problems may be related to macOS rather than Safari itself. That problem may also be temporary, and for that reason, fixing it can be as simple as restarting your Mac.  

  1. In your menu bar, click the Apple icon and select Restart.
  2. Click Restart again to confirm.
The Apple menu on Mac showing a list of basic options. Click Restart to restart your Mac.
Step 1. Click the Apple logo, then select Restart
The Restart prompt on Mac asking the user to confirm they want to proceed. Click the Restart button to continue.
Step 2. Click Restart again to confirm

3. Update your macOS and Safari

Apple regularly releases new macOS updates and security patches. So, if your Safari issues are caused by a bug in the operating system, installing these updates may well eliminate it. Here’s how to update your Mac:

  1. Open the System Settings app on your Mac.
  2. Select General in the sidebar, then click Software Update.
  3. If an update is available for your machine, you’ll see it here. Click Update Now or Restart Now to install it.
The System Settings app on Mac showing the General menu. Select Software Update to update macOS.
Step 1. Select General, then Software Update
The Software Update menu on macOS, which shows any available updates. Click Update Now or Restart Now to update your Mac.
Step 2. Click Update Now or Restart Now

Your Mac will restart once the update is complete, and any Safari updates will have been installed as well. You can now try using Safari again to see if the issue has been resolved.

4. Boot macOS in Safe Mode

In some cases, third-party software can interfere with Safari and other built-in apps, causing them to become unstable. Booting your Mac in Safe Mode stops third-party software from running, which will help you confirm whether this is the problem. See how to do it below.

 

On a Mac with Apple silicon:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold your Mac’s power button until you see the Loading startup options on the screen.
  3. Select your Mac’s startup disk.
  4. Press and hold the Shift key, then click Continue in Safe Mode.

On a Mac with an Intel chip:

  1. Turn on or restart your Mac, then immediately hold down the Shift key.
  2. Log into your Mac when prompted.
  3. You may be asked to log in again to continue.

Note from our team: 

 

When your Mac reboots into macOS, you should see Safe Boot in the menu bar. Try running Safari now to see if the issue is still present. If it’s not and Safari runs normally, you’ll know that another piece of software is preventing the browser from functioning properly when you boot into regular macOS.

 

At this point, you’ll need to figure out which applications or browser extensions you installed before Safari started crashing. Uninstall them one by one, testing Safari each time, until it works without crashing.

5. Create a new user profile

Safari supports multiple user profiles on Mac. If the browser is crashing because of issues with your primary profile, you may find that creating a new one gets things working properly again. Simply follow these steps:

  1. Open Safari, then click Safari > Create Profile in the menu bar.
  2. Click the Start Using Profiles button if it appears.
  3. In the Profiles menu, click the + button in the bottom-left corner to create a new profile.
  4. Give it a Name and set the preferences to your liking, then close the Profiles menu.
  5. You’ll now see a new button on the left of the Safari toolbar that allows you to switch between your different profiles. Click it, then select the new profile you just created to use it.
The Safari menu on Mac with a list of options. Click Create Profile to set up a new user profile.
Step 1. Click Safari > Create Profile in the menu bar
The Profiles menu inside Safari on Mac displaying all available profiles. Click the + button to create a new user profile.
Step 2. Click + to add a new profile
The Profiles button in the Safari toolbar. Select a different user profile to switch to it.
Step 3. Click the profiles button to switch

6. Clear Safari caches

A lot of apps use temporary storage areas called caches, which can help improve performance by making certain information easier to fetch. However, these caches can sometimes become corrupted, which may cause Safari to crash. Clearing them and starting fresh should solve the problem. Try this:

  1. With Safari open, select Safari > Preferences in the menu bar.
  2. Go to the Advanced tab, then check the box next to the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  3. Now click Develop in the menu bar, then select Empty Caches.
  4. After emptying your caches, restart Safari. Hopefully, it’ll have stopped crashing or freezing.
The Safari menu on Mac with a list of options. Select Preferences to start clearing Safari caches.
Step 1. Click Safari > Preferences in the menu bar
The Advanced tab in the Safari Preferences menu on Mac, which shows the Show Develop menu in menu bar option. Check this to enable it so that you can see the Empty Caches option.
Step 2. Enable Show Develop menu in menu bar
The Develop menu inside Safari for Mac where you can find the Empty Caches option. Click this to remove all caches.
Step 3. Select Develop > Empty Caches

Hint from our experts: 

 

An easier way to delete Safari cache files, as well as redundant system logs, temporary data, and other junk, is to use MacKeeper Safe Cleanup. It can not only help solve performance and instability issues but also free up a surprising amount of storage space on your Mac. Here’s how:

  1. Open MacKeeper, then select Safe Cleanup.
  2. Click the Start Scan button.
  3. Select the files you want to delete, ensuring that you choose Logs and Caches, in particular.
  4. Click Clean Junk Files to remove this data from your Mac.
MacKeeper on Mac showing the Safe Cleanup tool. Click Start Scan to find all browser cache files on your system.
Step 1. Select Safe Cleanup > Start Scan
MacKeeper on Mac displaying the Safe Cleanup tool. After selecting Logs and Caches, click Clean Junk Files to remove them from your system.
Step 2. Choose the files to remove > Clean Junk Files

7. Delete Safari history and website data

Although it’s handy to keep a list of sites you’ve visited, clearing your Safari history can help with crashing and freezing issues. Not only does it clear your history, but it also deletes cookies, which store website data that can cause issues from time to time. Here’s how to wipe it all:

  1. Open Safari, then select History > Clear History in the menu bar.
  2. In the drop-down menu, select all history, then click the Clear History button.
  3. Restart Safari to see if your issues have been fixed.
The History menu in Safari on Mac. Click Clear History to remove all history and website data from Safari.
Step 1. Select History > Clear History in the menu bar
The clear history prompt inside Safari on macOS, displaying a list of options. Select all history.
Step 2. Select all history
The clear history prompt inside Safari on macOS, asking the user to confirm they want to delete all website data. Click Clear History to continue.
Step 3. Click Clear History

8. Uninstall Safari extensions

Extensions are a great way to add new features to Safari, but they can cause problems too. Uninstalling extensions that may not be functioning correctly can be a good way to stop Safari from crashing or freezing. Follow these steps:

  1. From the menu bar, select Safari > Preferences.
  2. Open the Extensions tab.
  3. Pick an extension, and click the Uninstall button.
  4. If prompted, click the Show in Finder button.
  5. Delete the extension as you would any other file by deleting it, then emptying the Trash can.
The Safari preferences menu on Mac displaying the Extensions tab. Select an extension you want to remove, then click the Uninstall button.
Step 1. Select an extension, then click Uninstall
Safari on Mac showing a remove extension prompt. Click Show in Finder to remove the extension from there.
Step 2. If prompted, click Show in Finder
Finder on Mac with a Safari extension highlighted. Right-click it, then select Move to Bin or Move to Trash to delete it.
Step 3. Delete the extension like any other file

9. Remove Safari preference files

When you change settings in Mac apps, macOS stores your preferences in .plist files. Deleting your Safari preference files will reset your settings, which will often eliminate issues that have been inadvertently created over time. Here’s how to remove them:

  1. Quit Safari if it’s running, then open Finder and select Go in the menu bar.
  2. Hold down the Option key on your keyboard to reveal the Library option, then select it.
  3. In the Library folder, open the Preferences folder.
  4. Find any .plist files that begin with com.apple.Safari, and delete them, making sure to empty your trash afterwards.
  5. Once you’re done, open Safari again and try it out to see if it’s more stable. Safari will automatically create fresh .plist files as you use it.
The Go menu open inside Finder on Mac. Select Library to go to the Library folder where you can delete Safari preferences files.
Step 1. In Finder, select Go > Library
Finder on Mac displaying the Preferences folder. Here, you'll find all Safari preferences files, which you can delete if you're having issues.
Step 2. Open the Preferences folder
The Preferences folder inside Finder on Mac. Select files starting with com.apple.Safari, then delete them.
Step 3. Delete files beginning com.apple.Safari

10. Reset PRAM or NVRAM

If you have an Intel Mac, it uses PRAM or NVRAM to store certain settings and preferences in a dedicated place. Resetting these using the steps below can clear any issues that have developed, which may solve any problems you’re having with macOS and its built-in applications.

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn your machine back on, then immediately press and hold the Command, Option, P and R keys on your keyboard.
  3. Release the keys after 20 seconds. Your Mac may restart during this time, and you may hear the startup chime or see the Apple logo more than once.
  4. Eventually, your Mac will boot up as normal, at which point you’ll need to adjust any system settings that have been reset, such as display resolution and time zone.
The Apple menu on macOS displaying some system options. Select Shut Down to shut down your machine.
Step 1. Shut down your Mac
A Mac keyboard showing the keys that need to be held to reset PRAM and NVRAM. Turn on your Mac, then immediately hold down Command, Option, P and R.
Step 2. Hold the Command, Option, P and R keys at startup

11. Run Apple Diagnostics

If you’ve tried all of the above and Safari still isn’t fixed, you may have a more serious issue with your Mac. You can run Apple diagnostics to identify potential issues with your hardware.

 

On a Mac with Apple Silicon:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Press and hold the power button on your machine until you see startup options.
  3. Press and hold Command + D on your keyboard to start Apple Diagnostics.
The Apple menu on macOS displaying some system options. Select Shut Down to shut down your machine.
Step 1. Shut down your Mac
A Mac keyboard with the power key highlighted. Press the power button to turn on your computer.
Step 2. Turn on your machine
A Mac keyboard with the Command and D keys highlighted. Press and hold these keys at startup to run Apple Diagnostics.
Step 3. Immediately press and hold the Command + D keys

On a Mac with an Intel chip:

  1. Shut down your Mac.
  2. Turn on your computer, then immediately press and hold the D key on your keyboard.
  3. Release the D key when you see a progress bar, or you’re asked to choose a language.
  4. Wait for Apple Diagnostics to finish.
The Apple menu on macOS displaying some system options. Select Shut Down to shut down your machine.
Step 1. Shut down your Mac
A Mac keyboard with the D key highlighted. Press and hold this key immediately after turning on your machine to run Apple Diagnostics.
Step 2. Turn on your MacBook and hold the D key

Important: If holding down the D key on your Intel Mac doesn’t work, you can try holding Option + D instead.

Once Apple Diagnostics has finished checking your Mac, it’ll show you a reference code. “ADP000” indicates that no issues were found. If you see another code, you can find out what it means on Apple’s website.

12. Use Disk Utility

If you have issues with other stuck software as well as Safari, and Apple Diagnostics tells you that your hardware is fine, you may choose to reinstall a fresh copy of macOS. You can use Disk Utility to do this:

  1. Back up your Mac using iCloud, Time Machine, or whatever method you prefer. You’re going to be wiping your Mac’s startup disk, so any data you haven’t backed up will be lost.
  2. Boot into macOS Recovery. There are two different ways to do this, depending on what kind of processor your Mac has:
    • On an Apple silicon Mac, shut down your machine, then press and hold the power button until you see an Options button. Click Options, then select Continue.
    • On an Intel Mac, shut down your computer, then turn it back on while pressing and holding the Command + R keys.
  3. In macOS Recovery, select Disk Utility, then click Continue.
  4. In Disk Utility, select your Mac’s startup disk in the sidebar, then click the Erase button.
  5. Type a name for your drive, select the APFS format, then click Erase.
  6. When the process is complete, select Disk Utility > Quit Disk Utility in the menu bar to return to the macOS Recovery menu.
  7. Select Reinstall macOS, then click Continue.
  8. Follow the steps on the screen to install a fresh copy of macOS.
macOS Recovery on Mac with a list of recovery options. Select Disk Utility, then click Continue, to wipe your Mac's startup disk and install a fresh copy of macOS.
Step 1. Select Disk Utility, then click Continue
Disk Utility on Mac showing the Mac startup disk selected. Click the Erase button to wipe all data.
Step 2. Select your startup disk, then click Erase
Disk Utility on Mac, which shows the Erase prompt. Select your preferences, then click the Erase button to proceed.
Step 3. Click Erase, then quit Disk Utility when done
macOS Recovery on Mac with a list of recovery options. Select Reinstall macOS, then click Continue to install a fresh copy of macOS on your computer.
Step 5. Select Reinstall macOS > Continue

Wiping your startup disk will remove Safari from Mac, as well as all other applications, files, and other data that may have become corrupted. Reinstalling macOS gives you a fresh copy of all built-in apps, which should eliminate any issues you had before. You can then restore your backed up data to your machine.

How to prevent Safari Mac from unexpectedly quitting

If you find that Safari sometimes quits unexpectedly, this is usually the result of a bug, a bad extension, or a lack of resources on your Mac. To prevent this from happening, try clearing your RAM with MacKeeper’s Memory Cleaner.

  1. In MacKeeper, select Memory Cleaner in the sidebar.
  2. Click the Open button.
  3. MacKeeper will show you how much RAM is being used. Click Clean Memory to clear any data that’s not necessary.
  4. You can also use the Smart Uninstaller to remove any unwanted software from your machine, which will prevent it from running in the background and eating up your system resources.
The Memory Cleaner tool inside MacKeeper on Mac. Click Open to start it.
Step 1. Select Memory Cleaner > Open
The Memory Cleaner tool inside MacKeeper on Mac showing memory stats. Click Clean Memory to remove any unnecessary data from your Mac's RAM.
Step 2. Click Clean Memory

Conclusion

When Safari starts acting up and keeps crashing on your Mac, there’s usually a simple way to fix it. Try the troubleshooting steps we’ve outlined above to get it working normally again. If the easier fixes aren’t successful, you may want to look at reinstalling a fresh copy of macOS or checking for hardware issues.

 

The most effective way to clear temporary Safari caches and other data that can cause your Mac to become slow and unstable is by using MacKeeper’s Safe Cleanup. It takes just a couple of clicks, and it safely removes all hidden junk, freeing up plenty of storage space.

FAQ

1. What to do if Safari won’t open

First, go force quitting Safari or restarting your Mac. If this doesn’t work, try some of the other Safari fixes we’ve outlined in the article above.

2. Can a slow internet connection cause Safari to crash?

A slow or unstable internet connection shouldn’t cause Safari to crash completely. It may be slow or won’t load webpages, but if it keeps crashing, that’s a sign of a bigger problem.

3. Will clearing Safari cache and cookies delete saved passwords?

Clearing your Safari cache won’t delete any saved passwords, but clearing cookies might, depending on how your passwords are saved. If you use iCloud Passwords or another password manager, there’s no need to worry because all your login details will be saved there.

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