I have a(n embarrassingly) large number of windows and tabs open in Safari on Mavericks right now, which I'd like to save, and I'd also like to do an OS upgrade sometime this week.

I have "restore windows" turned on, and Safari re-opened them for me a couple of weeks ago when my Mac crashed and rebooted.

Can I be confident that the same will happen after installing El Capitan? If not automatically, is there a cache file or folder I can save before the install/dig up afterwards to restore the windows? Should I just bookmark all the tabs?

3 Answers 3


I wouldn't count on it. Specifically, I had several machines not rejoin WiFi after the upgrade, so the tabs didn't load with no network. I would save all open tabs to an HTML document and save it just in case if you really can't afford to lose your workspace.

Bookmarking is overkill and this tool will be useful going forward without needing to clean out your bookmarks after the update.


When I finally got around to the install, I used the tool that bmike recommended just in case, but it turned out to be unecessary.

Safari did not automatically reopen the windows, but they were still available in the history and popped right open when I selected "Reopen all windows from last closed session" in the "History" menu.


It should save (it has for me). You can backup these files ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.safari ~/Library/Safari. You should make a backup of your entire Macintosh HD (just to be safe).

  • Is there a specific file in there that I need? Presumably there will be some different preferences content for the new version of Safari, and the old version might not be completely compatible. (Full backup is done, by the way, but the reminder is appreciated.)
    – jscs
    Sep 30, 2015 at 19:51
  • @JoshCaswell I just backup the entire folder (and pref file). Each new version of safari replaces the old data, with the new data. There are no old files.
    – At0mic
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:14
  • Right, but if I then replace the new version's entire preferences folder with the older copy that I saved, might not new Safari miss something it expects and either complain, exhibit a problem, or just re-overwrite the preferences anyways, thus losing the saved window data?
    – jscs
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:18
  • @JoshCaswell when the update finishes, open safari and see if the windows are restored. If not, just copy the original files back.
    – At0mic
    Sep 30, 2015 at 20:21

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