How to reset Safari?

by Olivia Morelli - -

If malware has altered your regular Safari settings or you simply want to start fresh with a clean, uncluttered web engine, the best option you have is resetting the browser. While in the earlier Mac OS X versions Safari can be reset using the “Reset Safari… “ option, the latest versions including Yosemite, El Capitan, and Sierra do not offer a quick recovery option. Thus, you will need to perform several methods to reset your Safari completely and solve its problems. Please note that during the process of Safari reset, you will be able to remove all the installed extensions, themes, cookies, website permissions, browsing history, reset location warnings also clear the downloads list, and AutoFill text, saved passwords and login names, etc. If you don’t want to lose some relevant information, make sure you backup your data before commencing with the reset. Once you do so, perform methods given in this guide.

Method 1. Clear history in Safari web browser

One of the simplest methods of Safari reset is clearing its history. For that, you can use of its in-built features that will help you clear the web engine’s history, website data and cookies like so:

  1. Launch Safari
  2. Click the Safari menu option in the toolbar on top of your screen
  3. From the drop-down menu choose the entry that says Clear History…
  4. Choose the desired time frame of data removal and click Clear History.Method 1 Step 2

Method 2: Eliminate web caches in Safari web browser

Cleaning up Safari’s web caches is also recommended when trying to reset the browser fully. You should perform this procedure if method No.1 did not help you solve browser-related problems. Note that it may not seem as easy as the first method because it is tucked inside the Develop menu of this web engine. To access it a clear Safari cache follow these steps:

  1. Open Safari
  2. Click Safari menu and select Preferences…Method 2 Step 1
  3. In the Preferences window go to the Advanced tab and tick the checkbox next to Show Develop in menu barMethod 2 Step 2
  4. The Develop tab will appear in the top toolbar. Click on it and select Empty Caches. A quicker way to achieve cache cleanup is by simultaneously pressing Option + Command + E.Method 2 Step 3

Method 3: Uninstall malicious/suspicious extensions on Safari

It is not uncommon that browsers start behaving strangely after the occurrence of new extensions or plugins. This usually happens when extensions and plugins, which suppose to improve browser experience, are employed by shady software developers in order to collect information, redirect users to unfamiliar and often dangerous websites or even phish sensitive login credentials or banking information. If previous methods didn’t help you fix your browser, it is important for you to indicate the malicious browser add-ons and terminate them. To disable undesirable extensions and plug-ins, execute the steps explained below.

  1. In an opened Safari application go to Preferences…
  2. In the pop-up menu select the Extensions tab and carefully go through the list of extensions looking for unfamiliar and suspicious entries and uninstall or disable them. Also, you may disable all the extensions at once and check whether the problems you are experiencing are related to some corrupted browser add-ons or stem from elsewhere.Method 3 Step 1
  3. When you are done with the extensions, go to Security tab and untick the checkbox next to the Allow Plug-ins option. You can also disable plug-ins for specific websites by selecting Plug-in Settings…Method 3 Step 2
  4. Reboot Safari when you are done with these steps.

Method 4. Reset Safari manually

The previously-mentioned methods of Safari reset, which rely on built-in features, are quite convenient when you need a quick clean-up of your browser. However, sometimes they may not be enough to eliminate the problems. Thus, you might need to approach the reset from another angle and restore the program from the very core. To do that, you will first have to move Safari’s configuration folder from the Library to your desktop:

  1. Close all programs and click the Go tab on the top toolbar
  2. Hold down the Option key until Library option shows up and then click itMethod 4 Step 1
  3. In the new window locate Safari folder and move it to your desktop or somewhere else.Method 4 Step 2

Go to the Library folder again and delete the indicated files from the following folders:

  • In the Saved Application State folder look for com.apple.Safari.savedState folder and delete it
  • In the Caches folder find all com.apple.Safari folders and delete them
  • In the Cookies folder locate a file called com.apple.Safari.SafeBrowsing.binarycookies and send it to trash
  • In the Preferences folder eliminate all files that feature com.apple.Safari

A combination of the manual and built-in features should help eliminate issues that are occurring on your Safari browser and allow you to enjoy regular browsing again.

About the author

Olivia Morelli
Olivia Morelli - Ransomware analyst

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