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I recently upgraded to 10.13 High Sierra, and one thing I noticed almost immediately was that the downloads dialog in Safari was incredibly slow. When I click the icon next to the address bar which should show the recent downloads, it takes about 5 seconds to show, during which the browser is unresponsive. After clicking somewhere else to dismiss the recent downloads box, the browser is totally unresponsive for another three seconds or so. In addition to this, when I click a link to start downloading something, the browser is unresponsive for a few seconds, and also upon finishing a download there are a few seconds of unresponsiveness.

Note that this is not about the speed of the downloads themselves. I don't have any browser extensions installed (I used to have the Zotero extension installed, but that broke after upgrading to 10.13).

Does anyone know of a solution to this? I access downloads a lot (for academic papers), and this is driving me mental.

  • what is your Safari version – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 5:37
  • I have Safari version 12.0. – Joppy Sep 27 '18 at 5:39
  • Let's try to isolate possible causes first. Can you create a new user on your Mac and try it in the new account? Does the problem occur there as well? – nohillside Sep 27 '18 at 6:09
  • that pesky Zotero could be still there, but broken as you say. Lets look for it in Terminal with mdfind zotero – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 6:15
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    @nohillside Well, it seemed like deleting Library/Safari did the trick. It didn't delete my history though (who knows where that is stored). I also found out that while you can drag folders of bookmarks out of Safari to the desktop, you cannot drag them back in to Safari (it works with individual bookmarks, but not folders). Yay for consistency... At any rate, this did fix the problem, so thanks for your help. – Joppy Sep 27 '18 at 8:27
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If clearing history etc from within Safari doesn't help, try the following

  • Export all bookmarks
  • Quit Safari
  • Open Terminal and run cd ~/Library && rm -r Safari
  • Restart Safari
  • Import bookmarks
  • Hi @nohillside♦, thanks for your help. This did fix the problem for a day or so, but now I find the downloads dialog lagging out again, it's back up to 2/3 second pauses on any interaction with it. – Joppy Sep 29 '18 at 3:16
  • @Joppy bad news indeed. Any extensions in Safari? Does it happen with any sites or just some. Does it change if you switch sites/close tabs while the download is going on? – nohillside Sep 29 '18 at 7:09
  • No, it lags pretty consistently regardless of the site, size of the download, etc. As I said before, it only lags when "interacting" with the download, being starting it, finishing it, or opening/closing the dialog box. – Joppy Sep 29 '18 at 7:10
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First lets clean it up.

Exit the Preferences dialog and click on Develop in the Safari menu. Go ahead and click on Empty Caches. Once the cache is empty, click again on Develop and choose Disable Extensions.

Finally, click on Safari and instead of Preferences like we chose above, click on Clear History.

I think you have some broken parts of the Zotero still active. If I understand its function, it will use the Download function for its work.

Try to find it with mdfind zotero in Terminal

  • What does "Reset Safari" mean? – Joppy Sep 27 '18 at 5:34
  • sorry, that would mean to reinstall the OS X. – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 5:42
  • Reinstalling the OS will not help if the problem is with the user settings in ~/Library. If you assume an installation issue, reinstalling Safari 12 (which is a separate download for 10.13 anyway) would be enough. – nohillside Sep 27 '18 at 6:11
  • @nohillside I agree with you, and think it is some left over from the Zotero extension that broke. – Ruskes Sep 27 '18 at 6:17
  • @Buscar웃 I tried using mdfind zotero, but it didn't return anything Safari-related. – Joppy Sep 27 '18 at 6:35

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