Speeding up Safari

7 September 2015, 06:38

I’ve written before about Safari’s strange slowdowns that I’ve experienced across several Macs.

Put simply, I get the following two issues — and these might be unique to the fact I live in the UK, I don’t know, because I don’t see a lot of people reporting similar:

  1. Typing a search term into the search field at the top of the Safari window (aka the omnibar) sometimes means a five second wait with a blank screen while … well, something is going on, but the search results take irritatingly long to appear.
  2. Vising Facebook is slow, slow, slow and often the page doesn’t even load correctly, because its style sheet doesn’t load properly.

Anyway, I think (fingers crossed) I found a decent solution.

For the Google problem, simply download and install the PopSearch extension. Once installed, open Safari’s Preferences dialog box and click the Extensions icon, click PopSearch, and put a check in the Click To Open PopSearch Settings. Then ensure Google is selected in the Default Search Engine field around halfway down the list of preferences.

Why does this seem to work? Well, PopSearch is designed to let you customise searches by providing your own search URLs. It has one of these for Google, and this seems to bypass however Safari ordinarily passes its queries to Google — a method that is insanely slow sometimes.

As for Facebook, I haven’t found an ideal solution but I now use App For Facebook, which is a very simple menubar app that accesses the mobile version of Facebook. This is simply faster than the desktop site. Indeed, you can try accessing the mobile version of the site from Safari directly — http://m.facebook.com — but it looks a little ugly that way.

Know better?

A simpler alternative to the Google search problem: In Safari: Preferences>Search then select DuckDuckGo. Its fast and completely respect for Privacy (unlike Google that has been proven in he European Courts of Law to be tracking and compiling an illegal history of online user activity, to sell to advertisers).

As for the Facebook issue: clear out the Safari Cache. In older versions of Safari you could do this from the Safari menu which offers to Reset Safari. Newer versions of Safari only offer to Clear History so you can quit Safari then use Yosemite Cache Cleaner or Cocktail or OnYx to clear out the Safari cache.

Dr Bob · Sep 7, 01:45 PM · #

Thanks for the feedback, Bob!

I didn’t mention that an obvious solution to the problem is to switch to a different search engine. I tried hard to make DuckDuckGo work but despite what you say it remains slow and the results also aren’t localised, and I live in the UK. Google sadly remains the best.

As for clearing the cache, I’ve done it a thousand different times and a thousand different ways to try and solve the problem. For example, take a look at this posting I wrote a few weeks ago:


It doesn’t work.

It comes down to this: There’s something wrong with the way Safari and/or OS X is accessing HTTPS, or perhaps sites with mixed content across HTTPS/HTTP. Again, this might just be for people here in the UK.

Keir · Sep 8, 01:33 AM · #