In rare cases Apple's built-in web browser Safari may get corrupted in some way, preventing the user from logging in to various web accounts. As with all software on the Mac it could be enough to reinstall the program to solve the issue. Or perhaps it’s simply that you have a personal preference for another third party browser, and don’t want unwanted software taking up space on your hard drive.
Whatever the case, it comes down this: you want to remove Safari, and are looking for a way to do so. Well in this regard we have some good news and some bad news; the good news is that Safari can be removed, but the bad news is that we really don't recommend doing it.
Before you make the ultimate move of uninstalling Safari, you should know that Mac optimization apps such as CleanMyMac can help improve the browser's performance. Apple doesn't recommend removing Safari, because it is developed by the company itself and therefore works with the entire Apple system. If you try to remove it the ordinary way – by dragging it into trash – you'll receive a warning message that reads “Safari can't be modified or deleted because it's required by macOS”. So beware: by removing Safari, you might remove critical files that are necessary for Mac system processes and apps that rely on Safari.
By removing Safari you also disable the only way to get help online when in Recovery Mode.
Our advice is: don't delete it, just don't use it. If unused and therefore kept clean, Safari is a small app and doesn’t take much space. The only aspect that affects its demand for disk space and performance is the cache that builds up over time as it is used, which is necessary for it to function as expected to help make your internet use more efficient.
Before You Uninstall Safari
Every browser, even the lightest and fastest, can suffer from corrupted data. And if you install extensions or plug-ins then the potential problems increase even more, so consider deleting the cache and cookies and disabling plug-ins and other add-ons to try to first learn whether any of these are causing the issues you’re having, rather than jumping straight onto the uninstall route from the start.
Uninstall Safari the Hard Way
Despite the warning message that macOS displays when you try to remove Safari, it is still possible to remove the built-in Apple application. Some tutorials may suggest otherwise and that's because with the introduction of another layer of security, the System Integrity Protection (SIP), Apple prohibits modifying system items on Macs.
Since this aims to protect the Mac from superuser powers, SIP limits the actions users can perform on Macs that are protected by this high layer of security. But SIP can be disabled, and in doing so it leaves the door open to the superuser, who, with some knowledge of powerful commands, can remove any of the default Apple apps, Safari included.
To uninstall Safari the hard way:
- Disable SIP following our guide.
- Launch Terminal and type the following command: “sudo rm -rf Safari.app/”
- Re-enable SIP to protect your Mac from malware.
Uninstall Safari the Easy Way
Having a Mac optimization app to hand, such as CleanMyMac, has various advantages:
- It keeps your machine in optimal shape by removing junk files and emptying the cache from time to time.
- It will keep an eye on other data and warn you if it notices any problems.
- It allows you to uninstall apps you don't need, including Safari for OS X 10.10 Yosemite and earlier.
To completely remove Safari from a Mac, follow the steps as described below:
- Launch CleanMyMac.
- Press the Command +, keys or click CleanMyMac > Preferences from the menu bar.
- In the “Ignore” tab click “Uninstaller”.
- Uncheck the box next to “Ignore system applications”.
- In the CleanMyMac app click on the “Uninstaller” section.
- Locate Safari.
- Click on “Complete Uninstallation”.
- Click on the “Remove” button.
CleanMyMac will now remove every file associated with Safari, and Apple's built-in web browser will be gone. If you are running macOS Sierra or later, this won't work due to the SIP protection that Apple has implemented, and so you need to do it manually as detailed above.
How to Reinstall Safari
Annoyingly, reinstalling Safari isn’t any easier than removing it, and it requires some basic geek skill. You will need to reinstall macOS, which is done from the specific system management environment, macOS Recovery, an area that you won't need to visit very often unless you have problems such as reinstalling Safari, fixing a hard drive issue, or the like.
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