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Mac Basics: Safari unexpectedly quit. Now what?

In this basic troubleshooting tutorial, you will learn how to uncover the issues behind Safari unexpectedly quitting.

In this basic troubleshooting tutorial, you will learn how to uncover the issues behind Safari unexpectedly quitting. Safari can quit for a variety of reasons, the most common of which are explained here. First and foremost, be sure you have the latest version of Safari, currently 4.0.3.

When you are sure Safari has been updated, the next place to check for issues is with third-party plug-ins. To test for this:

  1. Open Safari and navigate to Safari > Preferences (Command + , ).
  2. From the Preferences window, select Security.
    Screenshot by Joe Aimonetti

  3. Deselect the box to "Enable plug-ins" and continue using Safari normally. If you find that the program acts normally, you need to update or delete one or more of your third-party plug-ins.
To determine which plug-in(s) are the cause of Safari quitting:
  1. Be sure you are logged in to an administrator's account on your Mac.
  2. Select Finder and select from the menu bar > Go > Go to Folder. Enter the following:
    ~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins
  3. Move all the plug-ins in these two folders to a different location (a folder on your Desktop works well for this).
  4. Recheck the "Enable plug-ins" box in the Security section of the Preferences window.
  5. Continually add one plug-in back to its original folder and test Safari to see if it quits. Once you find the culprit you must either update or delete it to have Safari return to normal functionality. Note: Input Managers could also be a cause of Safari unexpectedly quitting. Troubleshoot Input Managers just as you have your plug-ins. The folder for Input Managers is located at:
    /Library/InputManagers and ~/Library/InputManagers
Resetting Safari
To reset, from the Safari menu bar > Safari > Reset Safari.

Select as many options as you want and click Reset. Keep in mind that some options delete preferences and saved passwords.

Other troubleshooting
Web Clip widgets can cause Safari to unexpectedly quit. Go to Dashboard on your Mac and remove your Web Clip widgets. Return to Safari and see if the quitting persists. You can then access the original website of your Web Clips and make new ones.

Create a new user account. From System Preferences click Accounts. Click the (+) button and fill in the information to create a new user on your Mac. Be sure to give the new user Administrator access. Doing this will help you determine if your Safari issue is system-wide or restricted to your original user account.

Checking your ISP or Internet connection can help you determine if your issue is on your Mac or the fault of your Internet service provider. If possible, attempt to connect your Mac to a different Internet source and see if the issue persists. If it does not, contact your home ISP for assistance.

Reinstalling Safari can help overwrite issues if you happened to download and install a corrupt version of Safari.

Download and install the latest version of the Mac OS X Combo Update package. Even if you already have the latest version installed, the Combo Update package for your Mac may provide the appropriate fix for your issues.

As a last case scenario, you may need to completely reinstall Mac OS X. Of course, if you get to this step, be sure to have a stable backup of all your important data.

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