12 Replies Latest reply: Mar 20, 2014 6:38 AM by bnoof1
M Prewitt Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

Sometime in the last several months, Safari (now at v5.1.2) on my Mac (OS X 10.6.8) stopped being able to view PDFs natively. It will download PDFs if I make it do that, and then I can open them in Preview or Acrobat. But when I try to open any PDF from any website within the browser, I get a blank page (or the current page) with the PDF control bezel overlay, which looks like this:


Screen shot 2012-02-27 at 2.22.21 PM.png


But the PDF content never appears in the browser.


This happens with any PDF file, such as the one at http://www.education.gov.yk.ca/pdf/pdf-test.pdf


The Adobe PDF plugin was removed from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins a long time ago. So that is not the cause of the problem.


Google's Chrome browser will display PDFs in the browser. Firefox will download them and open them in Preview. It is only Safari that is giving me trouble.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,745 points)

    Select Help Installed Plug-ins from the Safari menu bar. Besides the following, what plugins are listed?



    Java Applet Plug-in

    QuickTime Plug-in

    Shockwave Flash

    WebKit built-in PDF

  • M Prewitt Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Besides those, I have the following plug-ins:

    • Flip4Mac Windows Media Plugin
    • Google Earth Plug-in
    • Musicnotes (... a sheetmusic viewer)
    • SharePoint Browser Plug-in
    • Sibelius Scorch (... a sheetmusic viewer)
    • Silverlight Plug-In
    • Speed Download Plugin (... is not set to handle PDFs)
    • Wacom Tablet Plug-In
  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,745 points)

    Quit Safari and remove one of those plugins. Relaunch and test. If you still have the problem, quit Safari again, put the plugin back where it was, and try another one.

  • M Prewitt Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Tried that with all the plugins noted above. The problems occurs regardless of which one is uninstalled.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,745 points)

    Please read this whole message before doing anything.


    This procedure is a test, not a solution. Don’t be disappointed when you find that nothing has changed after you complete it.


    Step 1


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is localized to your user account.


    Enable guest logins and log in as Guest. For instructions, launch the System Preferences application, select Help from the menu bar, and enter “Set up a guest account” (without the quotes) in the search box.


    While logged in as Guest, you won’t have access to any of your personal files or settings. Applications will behave as if you were running them for the first time. Don’t be alarmed by this; it’s normal. If you need any passwords or other personal data in order to complete the test, memorize, print, or write them down before you begin.


    As Guest, test. Same problem(s)?


    After testing, log out of the guest account and, in your own account, disable it if you wish. Any files you created in the guest account will be deleted automatically when you log out of it.


    Step 2


    The purpose of this step is to determine whether the problem is caused by third-party system modifications that load automatically at startup or login.


    Disconnect all wired peripherals except those needed for the test, and remove all aftermarket expansion cards. Boot in safe mode and log in to the account with the problem. The instructions provided by Apple are as follows:



    • Be sure your Mac is shut down.
    • Press the power button.
    • Immediately after you hear the startup tone, hold the Shift key. The Shift key should be held as soon as possible after the startup tone, but not before the tone.
    • Release the Shift key when you see the gray Apple icon and the progress indicator (looks like a spinning gear).



    Safe mode is much slower to boot and run than normal, and some things won’t work at all, including wireless networking on some Macs.


    The login screen appears even if you usually log in automatically. You must know your login password in order to log in. If you’ve forgotten the password, you will need to reset it before you begin.


    Test while in safe mode. Same problem(s)?


    After testing, reboot as usual (i.e., not in safe mode.) Post the results of steps 1 and 2.

  • M Prewitt Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    When logged into the Guest account, Safari can view PDFs in the browser correctly. It appears the promblem is limited to my account.


    However, logging into my account in Safe Mode has no effect; the problem still exists.

  • Linc Davis Level 10 Level 10 (173,745 points)

    Quit Safari.


    In the Finder, select Go ▹ Go to Folder... from the menu bar, copy the text on the line below into the box that opens, and press return:




    Move the selected file to the Desktop, leaving the Finder window open for now. Relaunch Safari and test. If the problem is solved, recreate your Safari preferences and delete the file you moved to the Desktop. Otherwise, quit Safari, put the file back where it was (overwriting the one that will have been created in its place), and post again.

  • M Prewitt Level 1 Level 1 (80 points)

    Deleting the .plist file has corrected the problem. Thanks for the help!

  • Feel4U Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    It worked for me finally after I emptied my caches, and then deleted adobe plugins from the Library..phew.

  • Stephen Bruhn Level 1 Level 1 (20 points)

    Hi, I am having similar problems. Safari insists on displaying a pdf as though it is a Quicktime movie. During the pdf download, it displays the Quicktime icon. If I right click the bottom of the downloaded pdf I get the Quicktime player control panel appear. The only way I can save the pdf is to right click the image and 'Save as Source'.


    I have read through this thread and performed all of the actions specified.

    1) Dumped the Safari plist (as described) - no difference.

    2) Checked for Adobe Reader plug-in in the Mac HD/library/internet Plug-ins but there is no Adobe Reader there.

    3) I logged in as a Guest and the pdf downloads now appear correctly in Safari.


    Okay, so there is something wrong with my account settings, but I am stumped as to know what it is. I have had this problem for a very long time now and have just been putting up with it.


    Please help if you can. Totally frustrated.


    Best Regards


  • David Z. Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I've had this problem as well. I removed two files from the /Library/Internet Plugins folder.


    After I removed AdobePDFViewer.plugin and AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin, restarted Safari and all is well again.

  • bnoof1 Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I'm having the same problem, but I notice I am missing the plug-in called "WebKit built-in PDF." Where can I download this? I tried Apple's site and Adobe's site, but came up empty.