The new Safari 6 Web Inspector UI is a usability nightmare for me due to loads of tabs/panes with small icons and no labels.

It also seems to complicate common tasks like showing a list of XHR requests and their responses.

Is there any way to revert the look and feel of the Web Inspector in Safari 6 to (more) how it was in previous versions?

  • 2
    As an aside: it does come with documentation: Safari Developer Tools Guide.
    – Arjan
    Jul 31, 2012 at 12:36
  • ALso, when I hover the mouse, I do get tooltips.
    – Daniel
    Jul 31, 2012 at 12:45
  • @DanielLawson, now I do too, sometimes they don't appear though. I edited that out now.
    – Gerry
    Jul 31, 2012 at 12:46
  • Is postponing a move to Safari 6 an option?
    – bmike
    Jul 31, 2012 at 15:03

5 Answers 5


The new Web Inspector was made to be a bit closer to Xcode.

There is no direct way to get the old one back, without reverting to other means. For example:

  • running Lion in a VM (to run an older Safari).
  • Running a nightly build of WebKit - but this may only have the new inspector
  • Using Chrome (while still WebKit, it still uses something that seemed closer to me like the old inspector).

So no, at this time, it doesn't look like its possible to revert back to an 'older' version of the inspector. The best bet would be to submit bugs at http://bugreporter.apple.com. If it is missing features that the old one had, possibly future revisions would bring some of this back.

  • 1
    Thanks, I came from Chrome to give Safari6 a try with Mountain Lion, but it seems that at least for debugging I'll go back to Chrome.
    – Gerry
    Aug 2, 2012 at 7:47
  • 1
    I personally like the new changes to the Web Inspector, I just wished there was some better documentation online about all of the new stuff.
    – jmlumpkin
    Aug 2, 2012 at 11:58
  • +1 for submitting feedback. Also try: apple.com/feedback/macosx.html Oct 23, 2012 at 20:24

just install the latest nightly build of safari: http://nightly.webkit.org/ Then, you'll have the option to "Use Webkit Web Inspector". Yeah!

  • The menu item changed the UseWebKitWebInspector key, but defaults write com.apple.Safari UseWebKitWebInspector -bool true didn't seem to have any effect in Safari 6.0 on 10.8.
    – Lri
    Aug 12, 2012 at 15:47

There IS a way to have your old web inspector back.

  1. Quit Safari (or other apps that use the web inspector)

  2. Go to Finder, then hit "CMD-Shift-G". Alternatively, click "Go" from the menubar, then "Go To Folder".

  3. Enter this and hit Enter: /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/WebInspector.framework/Versions/Current/Resources

    I recommend that you backup the contents of this folder before proceeding

  4. Move contents of the folder "inspector" from the zip-file which you can download from the link below. Enter password if asked and replace already existing files.

    Copy the contents of the inspector-folder, not the folder itself.

  5. Start Safari again and inspect away! :c)

Download the files here (Zip file).

Everything you need is inside. Hope this helps!

  • This worked perfectly for me, thanks! I also had to remove a few lines to fix Sources tab, as explained here.
    – Dan
    Dec 24, 2012 at 17:07
  • It just broke today so I wouldn't advise it after all.
    – Dan
    Dec 25, 2012 at 23:37

You can in fact switch to the "old" inspector.

Just simply go to the Develop menu > Use WebKit Web Inspector

But there's a big UI bug with the traditional Inspector. Every time you switch between the different panels the UI gets redrawn, creating multiple layers of the icons and search field.

Obviously something went wrong when they added the new Inspector.

  • I don't have this menu entry?
    – Gerry
    Aug 2, 2012 at 13:41
  • Ah, you need to check "Show Develop menu in menu bar" within the Preferences. It's in the "Advanced" section.
    – ttaiyo
    Aug 2, 2012 at 13:42
  • 2
    Develop menu was enabled already, it just doesn't have an item "Use WebKit Web Inspector". Are you using the same version/build?
    – Gerry
    Aug 2, 2012 at 13:43
  • 3
    I've got 8536.25 on Mountain Lion, and Xcode was also installed. The menu item is definitely not there on ML.
    – Gerry
    Aug 2, 2012 at 13:48
  • 1
    Hmm, maybe it's specific to Lion... This it the "Use WebKit Web Inspector" menu item: d.pr/i/6CaI
    – ttaiyo
    Aug 2, 2012 at 13:50

Here is a guide on how to revert Safari 6 to WebKit Web Inspector, if you don't want to run the nightly build. I recommend using r121872, as suggested by jarek-foksa in the comments; that way you won't need to fix CSS and JS, and you get working Styles.

This even works with the iOS 6 Develop menu (the main reason I to use this method rather than the nightly build, which still uses the new Safari 6 Web Inspector for debugging iOS devices).

  • 3
    Consider summarizing or quoting from the page you linked to in the body of your answer. This is recommended so that if the link dies (which is likely to happen eventually), the post is still useful. Oct 10, 2012 at 7:18

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