Why is Safari So Slow on Mac and How to Fix It

Apple claims Safari is the fastest browser. And that claim certainly isn’t baseless. Not only is Safari extremely well-optimized for Mac devices, but Apple implements regular updates to make the browser better. 

Unfortunately, no browser is perfect. As the internet expands and more tools and services migrate to the online world, we use browsers to navigate the endless sea called “The World Wide Web.”

And that’s precisely why we need a fast browser. But the speed doesn’t always depend on the browser. Sometimes, our Mac is the reason why Safari is so slow on Mac. 

Hi, I’m Andreas, a tech whizz who loves Safari. Over the years, I’ve noticed the browser acting up and becoming slower than usual. I’m here to show you why Safari might be slow on Mac and how to fix it.

As this guide will show you, there are several reasons why Safari is so slow on Mac. The reasons could be down to the browser, your Mac, a combination of both, or something else entirely. Stick around to find out. 

5 Reasons Why Safari is So Slow on Mac

I will outline several reasons why Safari is so slow on Mac. Let’s jump into it.

Reason 1: Packed Cache and History

Every website you visit is stored in your history. Unless you happen to be browsing in Private Mode (Private Browsing), your browsing history is a form of information that can clutter the browser.

In addition, Safari stores elements from each website in the form of a cache file. With each cache file stored on your browser, Safari makes pages load faster. But as you might expect, too much cache and browsing history can burden the browser. This might be the reason why Safari is so slow on Mac. 

Reason 2: Bad Extensions

Chrome pioneered the use of browser extensions. Extensions are third-party applications, like small tools that improve our browsing experience. However, in the endless sea of extensions, there are bound to be a few that might cause issues. 

Since some extensions directly interfere with Safari’s native tools, it can damage the browser’s performance, effectively slowing it down. 

Reason 3: Outdated Browser

You’re supposed to keep applications up to date. Regardless of how much you dislike new changes or decommissioning specific tools and features, applications are meant to be used in their current version.

So, if Safari is outdated, that might be the reason why it’s so slow on your Mac.

Reason 4: Too Many Tabs Open

Every tab you open on your Mac consumes hardware resources. Most predominantly, RAM (random-access memory). The more tabs you keep open, the more RAM the browser requires to sustain the tabs. That might be the reason why Safari is so slow on your Mac. 

Reason 5: Too Many Processes in the Background

Much like having too many tabs open on your Mac, having multiple applications open on your device will slow it down. This is especially true if you have an older model, such as a 2013 model. 

If your Mac has inadequate hardware, it will have a difficult time computing tasks from several applications at the same time. Let’s assume you have Safari open and a resource-demanding application like a photo or video editing application.

If your Mac cannot handle the processing demands for these apps, it will start cutting back. And it just so might happen that your Mac will make Safari run slower to meet the needs of the photo or video editing application. 

Now that you know the possible reasons, let’s dive into the fixes.

5 Solutions to Fix Safari’s Speed on Mac

What better way to lay out the solutions than to tell you how to fix the possible reasons why Safari is slow on Mac. Let’s do that.  

Solution 1: Delete Cache and History

To delete Safari cache and history, do the following.

  • Deleting History

Step 1: Launch Safari, go to the “History” menu, and click on “Clear History.”

Step 2: Select how far back you want to go and click the “Clear History” button.

  • Deleting Cache

Step 1: Launch Safari, click on the “Safari” dropdown menu, and then go to “Preferences.”

Step 2: Click on “Advanced” and tick the “Show Developer menu” option. 

Step 3: Now click on the “Develop” dropdown menu and select “Empty Cache.”

These few steps delete the browsing history and cache from Safari. Even though these files are tiny and perhaps insignificant, it might be the cause why Safari is so slow on Mac. 

If you haven’t deleted history and cache in a very long time and are using an older Mac, it might solve the issue altogether. 

Solution 2: Delete Bad Extensions

I’ve mentioned why bad extensions are a problem. Some extensions could directly impact the browser’s performance, making it very slow. So, an easy thing to do is to delete these extensions. Here is how to do that.

Step 1: Launch Safari, click on the “Safari” dropdown menu and choose “Preferences.”

Step 2: Select the “Extensions” panel, and you’ll be given a list of every extension downloaded on your Safari browser.

Step 3: Disable the potentially bad extensions by unchecking the box next to the extension.

Extensions play a key role in improving our browsing experience. But some are doing more harm than good. Make sure to delete the bad ones.

Solution 3: Update the Browser

Another potential solution is to update the browser. Unfortunately, an outdated browser isn’t as effective as its updated version. So, here is how to update Safari.

Step 1: Go to the “Apple” dropdown menu and choose “System Preferences.”

Step 2: Click on “Software Updates.”

Step 3: Apple updates the Safari browser through macOS updates. So, if you see a macOS update, click on the “Upgrade Now” button. Ideally, ensure the “Automatically keep my Mac up to date” option is on. 

Solution 4: Close Excess Tabs or Other Resource-Demanding Applications

You can uncover exactly how much resources each application consumes on your Mac. Since the reason why Safari is so slow on Mac could be due to inadequate hardware or having too many tabs and applications running in the background, you can close tabs and apps to make it go faster. 

Here is how to check application memory on Mac and close applications.

Step 1: Click on “Utilities” In your “Go” dropdown menu. 

Step 2: Choose “Activity Monitor” and go over to the “Memory” tab where you can see all the applications that are consuming RAM on your Mac.

Step 3: Close the ones you don’t need to give Safari more memory and hopefully make it go faster.

Solution 5: Change the Search Engine Settings

This unconventional solution might ramp up Safari’s speed on Mac. Namely, the logic behind this solution is a form of troubleshooting where you change Safari’s search engine to Bing and revert it back to Google.

Here is how to do it.

Step 1: Launch Safari and click on “Preferences.”

Step 2: Click on the “Search tab” and then under “Search Engine,” change to Bing.

Step 3: Restart the browser, navigate to the “Search tab,” and revert to Google.

Conclusion

This concludes the short guide on the five reasons and fixes why Safari is so slow on Mac. I hope the guide thoroughly explains the issue and provides you with the answers to speed up the browser’s performance. 

Do you have any other fixes for the issue? If so, leave them in the comments.

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