Why does Safari crash so much?

I have hated Safari since Tiger. Granted, it was an improvement over IE for Mac but a sneeze or butterfly breeze can cause Safari to crash. Its  slow response to ad servers is infuriating and, OMG! Heaven forbid a webpage like HuffPO, NYTimes or BusinessInsider has a flash ad in its header.

Initially I thought it was specific to my computer, my ISP, or my deodorant. However, I never seem to have the same issues with Firefox. Sometimes Firefox launches and loads a webpage while Safari is still displaying a blank page. (Quite a feat considering I setup Firefox for websbite development and has to load 10 different plugin, no caching ever, deletes its history and temp folder upon closing and is not allowed to store cookies at all.)

Can't blame permissions cause they get reset every night before I back up.

  • First I tried various fixes found around the web:
  • I have tried flushing the dns in terminal  (command: dscacheutil -flushcache)
  • I have tried clearing the cache, the history, etc every few days or so
  • A few days of peace and quiet, and then another crash.

Upgrading to Snow Leopard have alleviated the frequency but its still stalls or freezes.

I have noticed that Safari seems to freak out at flash web ads and it is annoying. I am not too happy with Adobe (the whole Growl thing really pissed me off) but I am equally unhappy with Apple's petty anti-Flash campaign. This, plus their weird Hulu deal, makes the ipad the most coveted thing I will never buy.The idea that I have to launch Terminal and root around the underbelly of my Mac for that sake of a browser is just an insult.

Yeah, I'm venting. Sorry. If anyone can suggest a way to fix this, I would be grateful...


  1. The reason Safari crashes is because whether you have tiger, leopard or snow leopard Apples can’t handle Flash. Hence the creation of clicktoflash. If you open the activity monitor in the Utilities folder and select CPU you can watch as it hits sometimes over 100% of CPU when using flash based websites. Watch also for memory leakage as virtual memory goes up and up and the browser crashes/hangs/ generally pisses you off. Their software is rubbish. Their Hardware reliability is also appalling. When they iron out the CPU problem with updates , clashes can still occur later as you do further updates, dependent upon which version of Flash you have I think if it doesn’t come with the Safari update . I have had this CPU/Hanging problem on Macbook Amateurs sorry I mean Pros and on Powerbooks (although they’re generally better and have no fan noise revving up to full speed issues every time you want to watch a youtube video. ) I had major headache with all these issues and it went away only to return on the Macbook in 2010. I believe it came back cos of a software update when I was on 10.5.something and “upgraded” to 10.5.8. I have the problem on both the Powerbook 10.5.8 and the Macbook 10.6.8 (went back to 10.6.3 and it seemed a little better)..

    I have had 4 replacement Apple laptops from Apple: I have endured owning the first machine (Powerbook) for 5 days before a fatal crash,
    Flickering screens on Powerbook nos 2 not rectified by visiting Apple Service Centre – have made two visits one of which was almost an hour away only to find out from Apple there is a service centre 10 mins from my address,
    Loose battery,
    Very noisy fan on MacBook Pro,
    Memory leaks (Safari slows down/crashes),
    Inability to quit applications so you have to either force quit them or pull the battery out to turn off.
    Preference file (plist) corruption,
    Inability to wake up from sleep mode,
    View corruption/missing folders in Mail,
    loss of data in burn folder operations, (even though guided by Apple Technician)
    Incomplete data transfer in target disk mode, (even though guided by Apple Technician)
    Incorrectly seated memory chip,
    Hard drive failure on laptop number 3 (12 months old) which cost £360 for data retrieval – yes that is correct, 2 out of the 4 Macs I have owned have had Fatal Crashes/hard drive failure.
    3 x Hard Drives in total
    2 x new batteries (one lasted one month past warranty)
    1 x Motherboard
    1 x Screen
    1 x Keyboard
    1 x Screen Bevel and a lot of other stuff I’ve paid for.
    2 x dvd / optical drives – the first replacement lasted 6 weeks past the 12m warranty.

    About 95% of the above relates to the Macbook Pro not the Powerbook.

    CONCLUSION: Apple… the epitome of style over substance…

  2. Unfortunately Flash isn’t the only cause for Safari crashes. I’ve been building an interactive audio based website this week using only html, css, and javascript and safari seems to be the only browser so sensitive that it crashes consistently when it sees things it doen’t like… :(

  3. Easy troubleshooting: Do a clean install on an external drive. Boot from thet drive. Problem gone? – you do the math. Problem still there? – intall clicktoflash.
    I haven’t crashed Safari in months.
    iPad or iPhone? – if the website supports only Flash, the 120 million iOS users move to another website. the tail does NOT wag the dog.
    The guy who wrote Farmville caught on real fast and rewrote it as a standalone

  4. after installing the clicktoflash plugin, it was shocking how much flash is used around the web. what do ipad people do?

  5. Bob Forsberg says:

    Agreed…Agreed! You try and use what Apple provides, but it just doesn’t play well with others in the schoolyard.

    Safari looks nice, but doesn’t work very well. I’m happy their hardware works better than their software.

  6. It’s Flash. Once you get rid of ads your life will be better. Get GlimmerBlocker.

  7. I have gone the more extreme rout and removed the flash plugin from my system. I use the YouTube5 Safari extension by Connor McKay. This converts all youtube videos to HTML 5. For any real flash content I use Chrome, whose built-in flash plugin performs far better than one supplied by Adobe.

    I realize this is an extreme case, but nothing crashes and it keeps flash out of my system folder.

  8. I use ClickToFlash. Safari is lightning fast and never crashes. Time to leave Flash behind.

  9. I had the same problem until I used clicktoflash. Now my Safari crashes, at most, about once every three or four months.

  10. YES! ClickToFlash blocks Flash from loading – unless you want to.

    ClickToFlash DEFINITELY prevents Flash from freezing and crashing Safari.

    Flash is CRAPWARE. It causes nearly all of the crashes in Mac OS X.

    If only someone can create a plug-in that ONLY plays Flash Video, then the full Adobe Flash can be thrown away for nearly all web browsing. The problem is, to create such a plug-in, one needs to pay about $500,000 for the rights to use MP4 technology. Adobe paid this license thus making it free for us to use its crapware, at the expense of crashing Safari AND Mac OS X.

  11. Didier de Roos says:

    Even better than “Click to Flash”: install AdBlock. No advertising anymore, and a much smoother Safari experience (still a few Flash-related crashes, though, mostly related to over-zealous e-magazines…)

  12. i downloaded clicktoflash and will definitely give that a try! Thank you for all the responses!

  13. Safari crashes BECAUSE OF FLASH.

    Once Flash is removed. Safari hardly crashes.

    Blame it on Adobe.

  14. Download and use an app called ‘click to flash’ prevents flash in website from ‘building up’ so to speak and helps speed up safari and prevent crashing.

  15. Sachi Wilson says:

    Two things, both related to Flash. Flash and Safari (heck, Macs in general) don’t get along.

    Get a Hosts file to block most ad servers. I use one from HPhosts. http://www.hosts-file.net/ Second, get Click to Flash, which will prevent all those flash ads from playing automatically. http://clicktoflash.com/

    Give those a try and see how they help.


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