How to clean Safari on a MacBook

If Safari on your Mac runs very slowly, takes far longer than it should to load pages, or crashes often, you might need to reset it. However, resetting Safari is not something you should do without care as it makes significant changes to the experience of using it. In fact, Apple removed the one-click, Reset Safari menu option, possibly for that reason.

When you reset Safari on Mac, it:

  • Removes installed extensions
  • Deletes browsing data
  • Gets rid of cookies
  • Forgets saved login names and passwords
  • Scraps auto-fill data

The result is that Safari is clean and should behave as if you’ve just installed it. If you use iCloud Keychain, login names and passwords can be retrieved from there, and if you use iCloud Contacts, auto-fill data will be taken from there. So, while resetting Safari is a big step, it’s not the completely clean slate or inconvenience it used to be. However, you will notice that there’s nothing in the History menu and if you’ve left items in a checkout trolley at an online store, they will no longer be there.

How to reset Safari on Mac

Now that the Reset Safari button is gone, it takes several steps to achieve the same result.

Step 1: Clear Safari history

Tip: If you’re looking for an easy, two-clicks way, you can use CleanMyMac X to delete data like cookies, history, saved passwords, and auto-fill information.

If you want to clear the history manually, follow the steps:

  1. Launch Safari and click on the Safari menu.
  2. Choose Clear History…
  3. Click the menu next to clear and choose a time period — if you want to completely reset Safari, choose all history.
  4. Press Clear History.

Step 2: Clear Safari cache

  1. With Safari open, click the Safari menu.
  2. Choose Preferences.
  3. Click the Advanced tab.
  4. At the bottom of the window, you should see a checkbox labelled Show Develop menu in menu bar, check it.
  5. Click on the Develop menu and choose Empty caches.

Step 3: Remove Safari extensions

Extensions are third-party add-ons that provide additional functionality to Safari, such as saving web pages to Evernote or Pocket, or downloading videos from streaming sites. However, they can also cause problems, particularly if you let them get out of date or the developer stops updating them, so here’s how to remove them.

  1. In Safari, click on the Safari menu and choose Preferences.
  2. Click on the Extensions tab.
  3. In the window that opens, you’ll see a list of installed extensions. To completely reset Safari, click on each extension in turn and press Uninstall.

Step 4: Switch off plug-ins

  1. In Safari, click on the menu and choose Preferences.
  2. Click on the Security tab.
  3. Remove the checkmark from the Allow Plug-ins checkbox.

Step 5: Delete plug-ins

The above steps allow you to switch Safari plug-ins on and off and to control how they behave with specific websites. To delete them completely, however, you’ll need to manually move them to the Trash. MacOS stores plug-ins in two places, your user Library folder (~/Library) and your Mac’s main system Library folder (/Library). In both cases, plug-ins are stored in a folder called ‘Internet Plug-ins.’ 


If you think you might want to use the plug-ins again at later date, you can move them to another folder (maybe create one called ‘Disabled plug-ins’) and move them back when you need them. However, given that it’s very important to keep plug-ins up to date, you’d be better off deleting them and then reinstalling them from the developer’s website if you need them again.

  1. In the Finder, click on the Go menu and choose Library. If you can’t see it, try holding down the Alt key when you click; or in the Go menu, select Go to folder and type: ‘~/Library’
  2. Click on the Internet Plug-ins folder in Library.
  3. Drag the plug-ins you want to delete to the Trash.
  4. Click on the Go menu in the Finder again and choose Computer.
  5. Click on the name of your Mac and select the Library folder; or Click the Go menu, choose Go to folder, and type: ‘/Library’ (note, there’s no ‘~’ this time).
  6. Repeat steps 2 and 3 above.

Reset applications the easy way

There is an easier way to clean up Safari, particularly if you want to reset other browsers, like Chrome or Firefox, as well as Safari. CleanMyMac’s Privacy tool allows you to quickly view each browser you have installed and, by ticking a box, delete data such as cookies, history, saved passwords, and auto-fill information. 

Safari Extensions in Extensions module of CMMX

In addition, the Extensions tool makes it very easy to delete extensions from both Safari and Chrome, just by clicking the name of the browser, checking a box next to the extensions you want to remove and pressing the Remove button. It couldn’t be easier! You can download CleanMyMac X and try it out free here.

Also, CleanMyMac can also reset applications, reverting them to their original state. To use it, launch CleanMyMac and click on the Uninstaller tool. Use the search box to find the app you want to reset and click on it. Now, click on a small arrow next to the app logo. Click the Application Reset button.

As you can see, it’s not difficult to reset Safari and return it to its original state. And thanks to iCloud Keychain and Contacts, doing so doesn’t mean that your saved logins or autofill data is gone for good. It is a significant step, however, and you should think carefully before you proceed.

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