General advice on updating Safari (does not apply to Lion)

Last Modified: Mar 15, 2012 11:22 AM

(The following does not apply to users of Lion OS 10.7)


If your Safari keeps crashing, or if you are updating Safari (or just have) and it is misbehaving:


N.B. Never delete Safari, never run it under Rosetta, don't use proxy settings, and don't change the application's name or move it from the top level of the Applications Folder to a sub-folder.


(If you prefer to download updates via Software Update in the Apple menu (which would ensure that the correct version for your Mac was being downloaded), it is not recommended to allow SU to install major (or even minor) updates automatically. Set Software Update to just download the updater without immediately installing it. There is always the possibility that the combined download and install (which can be a lengthy process) might be interrupted by a power outage or your cat walking across the keyboard, and an interrupted install will almost certainly cause havoc. Once it is downloaded, you can install at a time that suits you. You should make a backup copy of the updater on a CD in case you ever need a reinstall. Alternatively you can download Safari directly:


Safari 4.1.3 for Tiger can be downloaded here:


Safari 5.0.6 for Leopard can be downloaded from here:


Safari 5.1 for Snow Leopard can be downloaded from here:


Make sure you download the correct version for your system.


Also, observe the recommended procedure for installing software: repair permissions and close all applications, install, then repair permissions again.)


Input Managers and other plug-ins from third parties can do as much harm as good. They use a security loophole to reach right into your applications' code and change that code as the application starts up.  If Safari is crashing, the very first thing to do is clear out your InputManagers folders (both in your own Library and in the top-level Library), log out and log back in, and try again.

So, disable all third party add-ons before updating Safari, as they may not have been updated yet for the new version. Add them back one by one. If something goes awry, remove it again and check on the software manufacturer's website for news of an update to match your version of Safari. Remember: Tiger up to 10.4.10 used Safari 2.0.4, Tiger 10.4.11 uses Safari 4.1.3, Leopard uses Safari 5.0.6,  and Snow Leopard uses Safari 5.1.x. If these latest versions of Safari are not the fastest browser you have ever used, then something is wrong!


(Trying to revert to a previous version of Safari  can have repercussions, as previous versions of Safari used a completely different webkit on which other applications like iChat, Mail, Dashboard Widgets etc also rely, but if you really want to do this post back for instructions on the safe way to do so.)


Most errors reported here after an update are due to an unrepaired or undetected inherent fault in the system, and/or a third party ad-on. Add-ons that have been frequently mentioned here, among others, for causing such problems are Piclens, Saft, AcidSearch and Pithhelmet, and the dreaded CT Toolbar. If you have them, trash them, and go the developer's sites to see if new versions are available for the latest version of Safari on your current operating system.


You must also ensure that you have downloaded and installed all the correct version for your Mac of Security Updates. These require a restart and a permission repair.


To reiterate, Input Managers reach right into an application and alter its code. This puts the behavior of the affected application outside the control and responsibility of its developers: a recipe for  problems. That's not to say that issues absolutely will ensue as a result of Input Managers, but you, as a user, must decide. If the functionality of a specific Input Manager or set thereof is really important to you, you may well choose to assume the associated risk.

Again, the advice is to remove all Input Managers from the following directories:

  • Hard Disk/Library/InputManagers
  • Home/Library/InputManagers

especially prior to system updates and updates to Safari (they can always be added back one-by-one later).

Lastly, the Safari updates require a restart of your Mac, and sometimes even a double restart is required.