On certain websites I visit Safari has a consistent problem. Using the back button brings up an old cached version of the page. Refresh works fine. An example is http://forum.porsche356registry.org/viewforum.php?f=1. If I read the threads on that page and click back, it will eventually start bringing up an old cached view of the page without refreshing the list of threads.

I enabled the Develop menu in Safari and watched what happened in the inspector's network tab, when clicking back vs. clicking refresh (of the same page). They do different things. Refresh always runs the script viewforum.php, which I assume refreshes the list of topics. Clicking back often did not run that script. Looking for an explanation...


I think the explanation is that Safari often uses the cached version of the page when you use the back button. If you want to force a refresh, you hit refresh. If you are on a forum and want to go back to the thread listing, you can usually click on a "breadcrumb" link near the page header. That will have the same effect as using the back button and hitting refresh, because Safari will understand your click to signal a new page visit.

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  • That is a workaround, and sometimes not very convenient. i.e. if a thread is long, the "breadcrumb" link has scrolled off. There is still an unanswered question: why didn't Safari update the cached version of the page when it was last refreshed or visited? The cached version that gets restored often appears to be days old. What is it that triggers a cache replacement? It would make it a bit easier to deal with if I could refresh the cache for that page at will. – user69083 May 12 '16 at 16:14
  • I've never seen it go days old -- unless maybe you've had the same tab open that long. – samh May 12 '16 at 16:22
  • Which I usually do. i.e. this is a desktop computer, so I expect it to handle lots of windows, lots of tabs, and I like it that way since I set it up with the websites I visit often. – user69083 May 17 '16 at 19:22

Sometimes, website will run a lot of javascript for ads, trackers, etc. Each time one of these run, it can do a load of a section of the web page.

When you hit the back button, you're seeing the page as it was before that piece of script ran. Most of the time, the page will look exactly the same because only a small part of the page was changed (and it's probably something you didn't look at anyway). You think either a)the page didn't do anything, b)the Back button didn't do anything, or c)I'm seeing a cached version of the page.

If you hold down the back button you'll likely see bunch of pages there all named the same. You have to hit the back button many times to get to the place you were before you hit this page.

I would guess this is what's happening with the site you mentioned. Many sites like that run small ads that refresh every few seconds.

  • See the comment I made above. The cached version of the page that "back" takes you to is often many days old. Also, for all the forums I see the problem on, the list of pages in the back button history has no intermediate pages as you suggest, there are no redirects, etc. – user69083 May 12 '16 at 16:21

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