When Safari Freezes on Mac: Emergency Response Guidebook

Even though Safari is the most popular and trusted browser on Apple devices, the users still face problems with it from time to time even on the most powerful models like MacBook Pro or iMac Pro. One of the most popular reasons for the browser’s failure is the recent update of Mac OS X to El Capitan, Yosemite, or Sierra/High Sierra. Not all machines are technically ready for such changes. A user may experience all types of issues: from the cyclical/recurrent crashes to the total freeze of the browser. Other times, Safari may simply ignore any requests and fail to launch at all.

As a result, the whole system becomes completely unresponsive, and that is the worst thing you can face. It is very easy to detect whether Safari is the core of the problem. Just check the machine for the following issues:

Keyboard stops responding.


Scrolling a webpage leads to the freeze of your device

Force Reboot is the only way to fix the problem

It is true so far that Apple is updating and improving Safari all the time. However, even the genius fails from time to time. Multiple force rebooting may lead to the worse consequences. Thus, how about learning what to do in such situations?

You will not be able to solve the problem completely without realizing the specific reason for your Safari to act this way.

Why Does Safari Keep Freezing All the Time?

It is obvious that a Mac owner would like to know the reasons for the decreased speed of Safari’s work. If the problem happens constantly, it is easier to understand its cause.

Sometimes, it is difficult to define the factors that force Safari to slow down or crash. The only way is to run an Apple geek analysis in the shape of crash reports. Some native Apple utilities also may help to detect the core problem. Mind that it is not easy or even possible to get those official crash reports. At least, Apple Inc. has shared the most popular reasons to face the issues with Safari.


  1. A user attempted to launch many apps, tabs, or windows at the same time. Multi-tasking may be overwhelming even for Macs.
  2. There is an old extension/plugin that causes the issues with Safari.
  3. The website itself is the reason why neither Safari nor your Mac can load it normally. Perhaps, it is all about the plugin or processing requirements.
  4. The browser is full of caches, downloads, history, and cookies. Probably, the user forgets to clean it regularly.
  5. You have a rather old version of the browser installed on your device.
  6. Improper system update.
  7. The computer itself is doing badly. It may be caused by the filled hard drive or too many things running at once.
Safari Keeps Freezing

5 Proven Fixes to Safari Hangs on Mac

There are 5 most popular fixes, and it is up to you to decide which one should work for your Mac.

1. Upgrading Safari to the most recent version.

As it was mentioned, Apple company updates the browser constantly, so the owners should take the advantages by installing those novelties. Frequently, changing to the current version is the best way to fix a suspicious bug. If you are one of those Mac owners who ignore the system and software updates, stick to the following stages to rule it out:

Select App Store from the Apple menu

Find Updates and set up any version of Mac operating system/Safari available up-to-date

You may wonder, but this solution helps in 80% of cases. The latest OS versions are created to support the most recent Safari versions, so it makes sense the two should balance.

Once the installation is finished, clear the latest web data. Check whether you solved the problem by attending the problematic web pages. Resetting Safari is still a good idea.

2. Force Quit.

Even though it is the most popular option, it is also the least recommended one. Force-quitting regularly may lead to some adverse consequences. Anyway, mind that sometimes it is the only way out.

Go to the Apple menu

Press Force Quit

Another option is to push Option + Command + Esc buttons

Choose the unresponsive Safari and simply quit it

3. Apply Terminal Utility to Solve the Problem on Advanced Level.

Not all Mac owners are ready to apply Terminal as they are not aware of the necessary commands and are scared of doing something wrong and facing adverse consequences. Overall, it is important to type every command carefully. Mind your steps:

Quit the Safari browser

Launch Mac’s Terminal. To do so, find the tool in Utilities from the Applications folder

Type the given code into the terminal window: defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeInternalDebugMenu 1

Push Return button

Next, relaunch the browser

Choose Debug from the offered menu options

Pick Drawing/Compositing Flags

You will need an option titled “Disable Canvas Accelerated Drawing” next. Then, choose “Disable Full Page Accelerated Drawing.”

4. Try a Safe Mode.

To start the Apple computer in a Safe Mode, take the offered steps:

Switch off your Mac

To reboot, switch it on again

Push and keep holding Shift button instantly until the startup chime is heard

Once you let the keys go, notice the Apple logo. In case Safe Mode works, reboot the computer in a normal regime

5. Take care of the preferences.

Escape the browser and launch Finder

Select File -> Go to Folder

Find Go to Folder window and type ~/Library/Safari/ and choose to Go!

Drag and drop everything from the popped up Preferences folder to Trash. Reboot the browser

Extra Tips on What to Do When Safari Freezes on Mac

Those were just the most popular steps to solve the issue with a Safari browser. Let’s go deeper under the hood to explore some other alternatives that often help.

Let your Mac rest a bit

In some situations, the hanging symbol means nothing else than your system is a bit overloaded. Just like any human being gets tired, a machine also can run out of energy. To assist your machine in the recovery process, quit all background apps and processes.

Make sure to close all tabs

First of all, mind the websites that possess heavy animated or video ads. Those are the common culprits of the problems associated with the browser’s performance.

Erase the lagging extensions.

Move to Safari -> Preferences. Navigate to the “Extensions” tab from there. Discover a list of the 3rd-party extensions set up and activated upon your request. Apply Uninstall to delete any extensions you do not use and remove the checks from the corresponding boxes for any useless plugins.

Get rid of caches and cookies

Move to History in the selected browser. Select “Clear History and Website Data.” Often, the stored information, which is supposed to make it quicker and easier to reach the already visited websites, becomes a real pain when it remains for a while. It should be temporary. Select to view All History if you need the complete and most accurate results.

Other useful tips include:

Changing the browsing habits. It means you should prevent the system from the opened tabs you do not need any longer

Stick to a single window if it is possible

Minimize the number of multi-tasking. It will ease the processor’s load

Keep away from the suspicious websites that may overload the browser with pictures, pop-ups, and spam

What about an extra RAM?

It is a measure of last resort, but if you have a plenty of money, you may simply increase the RAM and storage space by connecting an external hard drive or solid-state disk to your Mac. It is the most effective yet expensive solution. That is why we suggest that you read the next big section dedicated to a cheap but yet fats and effective solution to your Safari (and not only!) problem.

External Solution to Heal Your Browser

Heal Your Browser on Mac

In case of a slow Mac, a user has another possible cleaning solution. While manual methods and built-in utilities might take a while, wiping the system with the help of special software is a matter of several minutes or even seconds. Besides, a Mac owner will not have to pick every single item on his own.

A smart cleaning software will work in a background mode without forcing a busy user to respond to its notifications every second. Not only you will speed up your Safari – software will release gigabytes of space for your personal needs. Such applications:

  • Quickly scan the system for all sorts of junk;
  • Detect the largest files and duplicates;
  • Offer quick deletion procedures;
  • Uninstall the stubborn apps.

Almost every third-party tool offers an uninstaller, maintenance, and shredder. Thus, you are the only one to decide how to treat your Safari as well as entire Mac’s system.