Most Mac users have experienced slow load times on Safari at least once. You open one too many windows or you go to the wrong website, and suddenly you see the “spinning beach ball of death”. Once this colorful spinning wheel appears on your screen, you can only hope that the Safari application doesn’t quit responding, forcing you to quit Safari altogether. While some of these timeouts are isolated incidents, others are the first in a series of slow web browsing sessions.
Fortunately, there are ways to reverse the trend of progressively slower load-times when using Safari:
1. Make sure you’re running the latest version of Safari.
Apple’s software developers are constantly creating newer, faster versions of the Safari browser. To ensure that you have the latest approved version of Safari, run a software update.
You can run a software update by following these steps:
A. Go the the Apple symbol in the upper left-hand corner of your computer screen.
B. Select the Software Update option from the drop down menu.
C. Approve the installation of the new software update.
D. Repeat the process until no new updates are found.
While running regular software updates is always a good idea, you can also check to see which version of Safari you’re running by clicking on Safari > About Safari in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
There are ways to get the newest version of Safari before its official release date. Perform a Google search to see if Apple has released a beta version of their newest Safari upgrade. These versions are available for free download about a month before the official launch.
2. Clear the cache.
If you’ve never cleared the cache data on your Safari browser, now might be the time to start. Simply put, the cache on your computer is information that allows Safari to access certain aspects of your commonly viewed websites more easily. Unfortunately, Safari and other web browsers have a tendency to accumulate a large amount of data in their cache. This slows down your loading times as your computer compares the information held in the cache with the website begin loaded.
To clear your cache data, go to Safari > Empty Cache in the upper left-hand corner of the window when you have the Safari browser open.
3. Reset Safari
This option is more extreme and should only be undertaken if your load time is severely diminished. Resetting Safari will erase cookies, saved passwords, the cache, the web history, the downloads menu and several other data files.
To find the Safari reset feature, go to Safari > Reset Safari in the upper left-hand corner of your screen. A screen will appear with a list of files that will be erased in the reset process. You can uncheck the boxes beside the ones you want to save. All the rest will be dumped.
Users who don’t want to lose saved usernames and passwords can simply uncheck these categories before going ahead with resetting Safari. Getting rid of the cookies and other files will go a long way to streamlining your page loading.
4. Change your Safari loading defaults using the Terminal.
Enter the following into your Terminal to shorten Safari’s load time.
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitResourceTimedLayoutDelay 0.0001
Results won’t be phenomenal, but it will speed up the overall load time. If you’re still not seeing some improvement, enter this second command into the Terminal.
defaults write com.apple.Safari WebKitInitialTimedLayoutDelay 0.25
Which one works best will depend on which version of Safari you’re using and your current system specs.