How to Reset Apple Safari

UPDATE: In Safari 8, the default Web browser for OS X 10.10 Yosemite, Apple replaced the "Reset Safari" menu item with one called "Clear History and Website Data," which does NOT reset the browser. Users of Safari 8 should try going into the Safari Preferences menu and manually resetting the home page and default search engine, but that may not work against persistent browser hijackers.

If your Apple Safari Web browser suddenly has an unwanted toolbar, its home page has changed without your permission or your search results appear in a search engine you never chose, it may be time to reach for the browser reset button.

Many legitimate pieces of software, especially freeware, slap on third-party, browser-hijacking extensions when you install them. The easiest fix is a full browser reset.

MORE: 7 Scariest Security Threats Headed Your Way

Resetting Safari won't kill your bookmarks, and you can fine-tune which settings get reverted to their defaults. You may want to select them all to make sure you get rid of unwanted add-ons.

1. Click on the 'Safari' heading at the top left of the computer screen.

2. Select 'Reset Safari.'

3. Click 'Reset' in the confirmation pop-up window after unchecking the items you'd like to keep. (The question mark in the bottom left tells you about each item.)


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Paul Wagenseil

Paul Wagenseil is a senior editor at Tom's Guide focused on security and privacy. He has also been a dishwasher, fry cook, long-haul driver, code monkey and video editor. He's been rooting around in the information-security space for more than 15 years at, SecurityNewsDaily, TechNewsDaily and Tom's Guide, has presented talks at the ShmooCon, DerbyCon and BSides Las Vegas hacker conferences, shown up in random TV news spots and even moderated a panel discussion at the CEDIA home-technology conference. You can follow his rants on Twitter at @snd_wagenseil.