Why is Safari Slow or Frozen? (Reasons and Solutions)

Apple boasts of its proprietary browser, Safari, as the fastest desktop browser, thanks to its turbo fast JavaScript engine. And rightly so. If anyone knows how a browser should work on a Mac like the back of their hand, it would be Mac’s creator.

But what if the Safari on your Mac is not living up to its reputation of being a speedy browser? If you’ve established that your internet connection is fine and dandy but Safari is moving at a snail’s pace, these are the things that you should look into:

1. Buildup of Browsing History Data and Cache Files

The browser cache is meant to improve your browsing experience by storing data from the websites that you visit so that Safari does not have to reload those same set of data on subsequent visits.

Cached data can accumulate gradually and work against your browser if the cache is not routinely cleared. Safari will be weighed down by the massive load of cached files and will trudge along as you surf the Internet.

The Solution: Clear Safari’s cache and history

If you want to clear just the cache alone and keep your browsing history, you may follow these steps:

  1. Launch Safari.
  2. Click on “Safari” in the menu bar.
  3. Select “Preferences”.
  4. Go to the “Advanced” tab.
  5. Tick the box that says “Show Develop menu in menu bar” and exit out of the Preferences window.
  6. Hit “Develop” in Safari’s menu bar.
  7. Choose “Empty caches”.

Alternately, if you’re not concerned about keeping your browsing history, you can get rid of the history, which will also empty the cache, by doing the following:

  1. Launch Safari.
  2. Click on “History” in the menu bar.
  3. Select “Clear History”.
  4. Make your time span selection from the “Clear” dropdown box.
  5. Hit “Clear History”.

If you wish to simplify the process of clearing the cache, you can make use of CleanMyMac X. Not only will it clear your Safari cache, but it will also help you get rid of other junk to improve your Mac’s performance.

  1. Open CleanMyMac X and select “System Junk” from the left menu list.
  2. Click on the “Scan” button.
  3. Once it’s done scanning, hit the “Clean” button.

Clearing your Safari’s browsing history is just as easy with CleanMyMac X.

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Click on “Privacy” on the left-hand side.
  3. Pick Safari from the list.
  4. Tick the items that you wish to delete.
  5. Hit the “Remove” button.

2. Outdated Safari Version

Patches are designed to fix and improve an application’s usability, functionality, and performance. By running an updated version of Safari, we can be assured that the bugs identified from the previous version which can impede your browser’s smooth operation are eliminated.

The Solution: Update Safari to the latest version.

To check if Safari needs to be updated, follow these steps:

  1. Click on the Apple in the menu bar and select “App Store”.
  2. Choose “Updates”.
  3. If you see Safari on the list, click on the “Update” button next to it.

3. Misbehaving Extensions

Extensions are convenient bells and whistles but they can also crank up Safari’s memory consumption and, therefore, slow it down. Also, if they are not updated, they would behave in ways that would not sit well with Safari and could cause it to be sluggish.

The Solution: Get rid of the errant extension

To identify the troublemaking extension, do these:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Select “Safari” in the menu bar.
  3. Click on “Preferences”.
  4. Go to the “Extensions” tab.
  5. Uncheck the extensions one by one and test to see if Safari is now working as it should.
  6. Once you’ve pinned down the offending extension, hit the “Uninstall” button for that extension.

CleanMyMac X’s Extensions module can help you manage your extensions:

  1. After opening CleanMyMac X, select “Extensions” from the left-hand pane.
  2. Click on “View All <number of extensions> Extensions”.
  3. Select “Safari Extensions”.
  4. Check the extensions that you want to remove and then hit “Remove”.

4. Corrupted Preferences File

When you modify the settings in Safari to your liking such as designating a favorite search engine or specifying a homepage, your preferences get stored in a preferences file.

If for some reason the preferences file becomes corrupted, Safari would not work as expected. It could lag or seize up, among other things.

The Solution: Delete the preference file

Deleting the bad preference file gives Safari the opportunity to generate a fresh and uncorrupted preferences file.

Before doing the steps below, take note that deleting the Safari preferences file will clear your preferred settings and you will have to recreate them.

  1. Exit out of Safari.
  2. Launch Finder and press Command + Shift + G.You may also select “Go” in the menu bar and click on “Go to Folder”.
  3. Type in ~/Library/Preferences/in the popup window and hit Enter.
  4. Look for a file named “com.apple.Safari.plist” and then delete it.

If you use CleanMyMac X, however, it’ll check for you first if the preferences file is bad so that you won’t have to needlessly delete the file when it’s a working one all along. To identify if you have a corrupted preferences file and delete it if needed, follow these:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Navigate to “System Junk” on the left-hand pane and click “Scan”.
  3. Click on “Review Details” when the scan completes.
  4. Go to the “Broken Preferences” tab.
  5. If the “com.apple.Safari.plist” file is corrupted, it’ll appear on this tab.
  6. If you see the Safari preferences file on the list, hit “Clean” to get rid of it.

5. Large Volume of Autofill Data

While autofill can remember and make filling out previously filled-out fields a breeze, it can cause Safari to freeze if you have a lot of stored autofill data.

The Solution: Clear the autocomplete history

To manage this feature, just do these:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Select “Safari” in the menu bar, and then choose “Preferences”.
  3. Go to the “Autofill”.
  4. From there, you will be able to disable Autofill on all or certain web forms. You can also click “Edit” so that you can go over the list of stored autofill data and delete the ones that you don’t need.

You can delete your autocomplete data all at once with CleanMyMac X. Simply do the following:

  1. Navigate to “Privacy” after launching CleanMyMac.
  2. Pick “Safari” from the list.
  3. Put a check on “Autofill Values”.
  4. Hit “Remove”.

6. Outdated Plugins

A lot of sites call for Java or Flash to play media. If these plugins are outdated, Safari could run slow when accessing these sites.

The Solution: Update Java and Flash

But only if the website requires you to. A lot of websites are considering dropping Java and Flash partly because they can be buggy.

The safest way to update Java and Flash is to download them from their respective websites. Their websites will identify if your Java or Flash needs to be updated and you just have to follow the on-screen instructions.

7. Corrupted User Account

Unfortunately, sometimes it may not be as simple as it seems. A user account can get corrupted.

To find out if this is the case, log into another user account or create/add a user and log in as that user. If Safari performs much better in another user account, there will be a need to repair your own user account.

The Solution: Run the Disk Utility

Instructions on how to run the Disk Utility can be found here. Just pick your macOS version from the top drop-down box and it’ll give you instructions specific to your macOS.

Slow-running Mac?  Here is A Handy Tool for Cleaning

Safari is installed and updated as part of your macOS. If your Mac is running slow, Safari would consequently exhibit the same behavior. CleanMyMac X’s Smart Scan will optimize your Mac’s performance without the grunt work that manual optimization entails.

The Smart Scan includes these modules: System Junk, Photo Junk, Mail Attachment, iTunes Junk, Trash Bins, Malware Removal, Maintenance (this includes freeing up RAM, running maintenance scripts, and flushing DNS cache). You just have to sit back and let it work its magic.

Do these to take advantage of this feature:

  1. Launch CleanMyMac X.
  2. Select “Smart Scan” from the left-hand pane.
  3. Hit the “Scan” button.
  4. Once it’s done analyzing, it’ll show you three sections: a) Cleanup – the amount of data that can be safely removed, b) Protection – the number of threats it identified, and c) Speed – the number of optimization tasks.
  5. You may click each section to review the items or tasks and uncheck the items that you want to exclude from the Smart Scan.
  6. Click “Run” to complete the Smart Scan.

Final Words

Browsing the internet becomes more enjoyable if pages are delivered at blazing speeds. To achieve this, make sure routine maintenance and cleanups are performed to prevent seemingly benign issues from evolving into something that can cause hiccups in the future.