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I have been having problems with the Safari on my MacBook Air (Retina, 13-inch, 2018) in the last couple of days. I updated it yesterday to Catalina 10.15.7 and I have Safari Version 14.0.

Now every time I open safari, I get to the favourites page and when I click on a website (like moodle, or websites from my school) it always freezes and the coloured wheel starts spinning and the fans start turning really loudly. I can’t close the browser, and I have to “quit” Safari, but that doesn’t work, so I have to “force quit” it. And when I restart Safari the same thing happens again, so I tried to force-restart my laptop, because Safari is frozen. But when I restart it the same thing happens again. And I just have 1 website/tab/window open, and it used to work fine in the past.

I closed all the other apps, and tried reopening Safari multiple times. And then I tried restarting my mac several times. I tried to run diagnostics on my laptop and that said there were no problems. I deleted all my Safari History and I emptied my Caches. I do not have any extensions.

I usually can’t even log into my university-moodle-account, and when I can, I can’t download any of my homework or watch the video-recordings of the lectures.

I don’t know how to fix it.

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Most issues with web browsers in general, including Safari, can be traced back to just a few things:

  • Damaged/Corrupt cache
  • Damaged/corrupt settings file(s)
  • Damaged/misbehaving add-on/extension

The first thing I would do is close all your tabs then go to the "Safari" menu and select "Clear history..." Change the pop-up menu to clear "all history" and click the Clear history button. Once that is done quit and re-launch Safari.

If this didn't solve your problem, try starting Safari in Safe Mode. Hold the Shift key while launching Safari. This disables all extensions.

If that solved the problem you can launch Safari normally, go to Safari > Preferences... > Extensions and turn all but one off. And see how Safari behaves. It is then a process of elimination of turning extensions on/off to find the culprit. Note that some extensions may interfere with another extension so it may be a combination of 2 or more extensions that are causing the problem.

That didn't do it? OK let's delete some settings/preferences files.

  • Quit out of safari
  • In Finder select the Go menu and if "Library" is not available select Go to folder and enter ~/Library and press enter.
  • A finder window will open, scroll down till you see Preferences. And look for files that start with com.apple.safari
  • Any one or even all of those files could be the culprit. I would start with deleting (or moving to the desktop) the com.apple.safari.plist
  • Re-launch Safari and see if it is better. If it is you will have to re-select your Safari preferences (home page, tabs and other preferences)
  • If that didn't fix it I would (exit Safari first) remove (one at a time if you like) the other com.apple.safari. preference files and re-launch and see if that fixed it.
  • Failing all of that there is one more thing. In the preferences folder there is another folder called "Safari" that holds a lot of preferences, settings and other things Safari uses. Quit out of Safari, move that folder to the desktop and launch Safari again and see if that fixes the issue.

If that fails then it may be time to repair macOS, which is often accomplished by installing the most recent Combo Update released by Apple (only download from apple.com!). This won't do anything but re-apply all the latest fixes to macOS and often fixes a multitude of stubborn Mac OS problems.

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I just had a Macbook Air with Safari that would immediately crash when trying to launch. This was on a Mojave system.

To fix, I would up reinstalling OS (reboot and press and hold Command+R).

Safari is now working fine.

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    there are other simpler things to do first before you jump in and reinstall macOS. it is a valid repair option but I would do a whole bunch more before going through the time/hassle of reinstalling the OS – Steve Chambers Sep 29 '20 at 16:22

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