Reset Safari To Default Settings On Mac and iOS [2023 Guide]

If you’re having issues with your Safari browser, you may be considering resetting it to its default settings. But what does this actually do, and when is it a good idea to do this? Resetting Safari will undo any changes you’ve made to your browser, including your home page, search engine, and installed extensions. It will also disable your saved passwords, clear your browsing history and cookies, and potentially remove any viruses or malware that may have been affecting your browser.

Image: Safari browser redirected to fake update page
Image: Safari browser redirected to fake update page

Resetting the browser settings to their default it’s an easy task if you’re using Google Chrome or Firefox; however, when it comes to Safari, this can’t be done directly because it’s not an option built-in into the browser settings. Restoring the Safari setting can be done by clearing the application data. This will remove all the cookies, cache, and other site settings that may have been saved. So let’s see how we can restore your Safari browser to its factory settings.

How To Reset Safari to Default Settings ( Mac Guide)

Before we reset Safari to its factory settings if you have any bookmarks that you want to save, launch Safari, select the File tab in the top menu bar, and click Export Bookmarks. Set a name for your backup and Click Save to save a copy of those bookmarks.

To reset your Safari settings on a Mac, you can either use the Settings menu or Terminal. If you are using Safari on an iPhone or iPad, tap on the iOS tab to reset the settings.”

Reset Safari for Mac via SettingsReset Safari for Mac via TerminalReset Safari for iOS (iPhone or iPad)
Reset Safari for Mac via Settings
  1. Go to Safari’s “Preferences”.

    On the menu bar, click the “Safari” menu and select “Preferences”.
    On the Menu bar Click on Safari then Preference

  2. Check Homepage.

    This will open a new window with your Safari preferences, opened to the “General” tab. Some browser hijackers may change your default homepage, so in the Homepage field make sure it’s a web page you want to use as your start-up page.

    Change Homepage in Safari

  3. Click “Extensions”

    Next, click on the “Extensions” tab.
    Click on Extensions MacOS

  4. Find and uninstall malicious extensions.

    The “Extensions” screen will be displayed with a list of all the extensions installed on Safari. Look out for any suspicious browser extension that could be behind all the drama – anything you don’t remember downloading or that doesn’t sound like a genuine extension. By default, there are no extensions installed on Safari so it’s safe to remove an extension
    Click on Uninstall to remove malicious extension

  5. Remove spam notifications ads

    Click Preferences, click Websites, then click Notifications. Deselect “Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications”.

    Deselect Allow websites to ask for permission to send push notifications

  6. Remove all data stored by websites on your computer.

    In the Safari menu, choose “Preferences…”, select “Privacy” at the top of the new window that appears, and then click the “Manage Website Data” button.
    Click Manage Website Data

    In the next dialog box, click “Remove All“. It will ask you if you are sure you want to remove all data stored by websites on your computer. Select “Remove Now” to clear data that could be used to track your browsing.

    Click Remove All Website Data

  7. Empty Safari Caches.

    From your Safari menu bar, click Safari and select Preferences, then select the Advanced tab. Enable the checkbox to “Show Develop menu in menu bar“.
    Show Dev Bar

    From the menu bar select Develop, then click on Empty Caches as seen in the image below.
    empty cache

Reset Safari for Mac via Terminal
  1. Open the Terminal app (you can find it easily using Spotlight with Cmd + Space).
  2. Next, open the Apple menu at the top-left corner of your screen. Click Force Quit and select Safari to completely close it.
  3. Enter the below commands, one line at a time. After you run each command, the Terminal will prompt for confirmation to delete said files. Type y to confirm, then hit Enter.
  4. mv ~/Library/Safari ~/Desktop/Safari-`date +%Y%m%d%H%M%S`;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Cache/*;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Caches/Apple\ -\ Safari\ -\ Safari\ Extensions\ Gallery;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Caches/Metadata/Safari;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Caches/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Caches/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Cookies/*;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Cookies/Cookies.binarycookies;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/Apple\ -\ Safari\ -\ Safari\ Extensions\ Gallery;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Preferences/;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/PubSub/Database;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Safari/*;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Safari/Bookmarks.plist;
    rm -Rf ~/Library/Saved\ Application\ State/;
Reset Safari for iOS (iPhone or iPad)

If you’re using Safari on your iPhone or iPad, we will restore its default settings by using the built-in “Clear History and Website Data” feature.
“Clear History and Website Data” allows you to delete the browsing history and website data that is stored on your device. This can include information such as the websites you have visited, your search history, and any data that has been stored by websites you have visited, such as cookies and cache.

  1. Tap the Settings app.
    Open Settings App
  2. Toggle on Airplane Mode to temporarily disconnect your phone from the internet and block unwanted access.
    Enable Airplane Mode
  3. Scroll down and tap Safari.
    Tap Safari
  4. Tap Clear History and Website Data.
    Tap Clear History
  5. Confirm that you want to clear the history and data by tapping “Clear History and Data” in the pop-up window.
    Tap to confirm
  6. While in Safari settings, make sure to toggle on Block Pop-ups and Fraudulent Website Warning.
    Enable Popup Blocker

That’s it, Safari settings will be restored to their defaults. We strongly recommend that you install an a dblocker like AdGuard to block malicious ads.

While resetting Safari will restore the browser’s settings back to default, malicious extensions (that are installed with browser policies) or programs that are installed on your device can hijack the browser. If you are still having problems with your device after completing these instructions, then please follow one of the steps: