Apple advertises Safari as the fastest browser, which may be true for iOS, but I regularly use Chrome on my Mac because Safari is too slow. Sometimes the web page won’t load, or I can’t navigate between pages, or I can’t scroll without delay.
This is very frustrating considering Safari is included with OS X and you’d expect it to just work. When it does, it’s a great browser, but when it doesn’t, you literally have to switch to a new browser.
In this article, I will walk you through all the possible ways to speed up Safari on Mac. If you have any suggestions of your own, let us know in the comments.
First method – cache, history and plugins
If you are actively using the Internet and your Mac is running low on space, it might be worth clearing your cache, disabling extensions, and clearing your history to make Safari easier to load. To do this, you first need to go to Safari and then to Preferences.
Click the Advanced tab and select the Show design menu in menu bar check box at the bottom of the dialog box.
Exit the Preferences dialog and click Develop from the Safari menu. Go ahead and click on Clear Caches. When the cache is empty, click Develop again and select Disable Extensions.
Finally, click on Safari and instead of preferences as we chose above, click on Clear History.
Make sure all history is selected in the dropdown list, and then click the Clear History button.
Method 2 – Manually clear Cache.DB file
The above steps should clear the cache in Safari, but if something doesn’t work as expected, it might not be right. In this case, you can do it manually. Open Finder, then click “Go and Go to Folder” at the bottom.
Now copy and paste the following path into the text box and click Go.
~ / Library / Caches / com.apple.Safari / Cache.db
Finally, right-click the Cache.db file and select Move to Trash. At this point, make sure Safari is closed.
Method 3 – install the latest OS X version
I’ve noticed that quite a few people who buy Macs simply don’t update their systems to the latest version of OS X. Even though we’re on El Capitan right now, I have friends working on Mountain Lion, Mavericks, Yosemite, and even Snowy. leopard!
If you don’t update to OS X, you won’t get the latest version of Safari either. This means that you can get stuck several versions behind and miss out on all the improvements and optimizations of the latest version.
The easiest way to update is to go to the App Store and click on the link for the latest version of OS X, which is usually on the right.
Fourth method – turn off the dashboard
If you are still using an old Mac (2010 or earlier), you may have a video card issue. You can try something simple to see if it helps in Safari. I’m talking about disabling the Dashboard feature in Mission Control.
To do this, open “System Preferences” and click “Flight Control”. Select Off from the drop-down list next to the Control Panel.
This is not the correct solution, but it worked for some people including me. I have a mid 2009 MacBook Pro and the dashboard is definitely lagging.
Fifth method – change the search settings
You can also try changing your Safari search settings. Open Preferences in Safari and click the Search tab.
Try changing your search engine to Bing, restart Safari and see if there is a difference in speed. Change it back to Google and then check again. You can also try unchecking all options like search engine suggestions, Safari suggestions, quick site search, preloading, etc. to see if it matters.
Sometimes, on very slow internet connections, all these additional features can cause Safari to run even slower.
Method 6 – Change the network service request
If you have a computer connected to both WiFi and Ethernet, the problem can be caused by connecting to the network in two different ways. To see your connections, go to System Preferences and click Network.
You can try disabling one network source and see if it matters or not. Switch only to another and check too. If you want both to be connected, read on.
By default, one connection will take precedence over the other. As you can see above, my WiFi connection has been given a higher priority than the Ethernet connection. You can change this by clicking the little settings icon (gear) at the bottom of the list.
Click Set Maintenance Order and another popup will appear where you can change the order of the connections by dragging them.
I moved Ethernet to the top and then clicked OK. After that, don’t forget to click Apply To in the System Preferences dialog box.
Method 7 – Delete the preferences file
It probably won’t matter much, but it’s worth a try. Go to Finder, click Go and then Go to Folder. Enter the following path:
~ / Library / Preferences
Scroll down to com.apple.Safari.plist and delete this file.
The eighth method – use different DNS settings
Sometimes the problem might not be with Safari, but with the DNS settings. By default, you will use the DNS provided by your ISP, which is fine in most cases. However, using public DNS can speed up browsing.
My favorite is Google Public DNS, which I use on all my computers. Check out my article on the best public DNS servers you can use for free. To change the DNS server for your connection in OS X, you need to open System Preferences, click on Network, select a connection and then click on Advanced.
Go ahead and click on the little + icon and then enter the IP addresses of the new DNS servers. Using Google allowed me to speed up browsing not only in Safari but also in other browsers.
Method 9 – Log in to another account
Sometimes the problem is related to the user account you are currently using. It’s worth creating another user account (takes 1 minute), logging in and launching Safari. If it suddenly becomes faster, then there is a problem with your account. You can try to fix the problem with Disk Utility. You can go to Spotlight and type Disk Utility to quickly open a dialog box.
Click on your hard drive in the left pane and then go to the First Aid tab. You are asked if you want to run First Aid on your hard drive, so click Run.
Method ten – reinstall OS X
This might sound a little extreme, but it’s like having to reinstall Windows every year or so because it bloats a lot. Unfortunately, OS X suffers from some of the same issues, especially if you’ve always updated to the latest version of OS X without doing a clean install.
I switched from Mountain Lion to Mavericks, then Yosemite and El Capitan before doing a fresh install of El Capitan, which made things much faster. It’s definitely worth it because it loads all other apps much faster.
These are all possible solutions I could find to fix the slow Safari issue. If you have any other suggestions, let us know in the comments. Enjoy!