back to article Safari 4: Apple's crash-happy shipper

Apple's shiny new version 4 of its Safari browser is causing headaches among many users - including here at The Reg. Ever since we upgraded to version 4 from the remarkably stable beta version, Safari has crashed repeatedly - and we're not alone. Over on deep-Mac-geek website MacInTouch, numerous - but by no means all - …


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  1. LaeMi Qian

    Final compile

    For the final compile, don't all these faceless* IT corporations flip on the --random_crashing flag? I thought it was legally required or something.

    *the 'face' presented by the marketing arm don't count.

  2. Bruce Dath

    No issues with Safari 4

    I installed Safari 4 on 3 G4s, a Cube, 3 G5s and a MacBook. No issues in any case. System 10.4.11 on all of them.

  3. martinX
    Thumb Up

    Another anecdote

    I have to say it's been fine for me. I went with the beta, then upgraded a week after the full 4.0 came out and it's been fine. If anything, the full 4.0 reloads pages faster when using the Back button, which is nice. The only time I have ever had trouble with any version of Safari, it was due to 3rd party plugins. Ditto Quicktime FWIW (Perian plugin was the problem, but it's all good now).

  4. s. pam Silver badge

    Forced Upgrade -- Bad Jobsworth!

    This purported upgrade was forced down all 4 Macs in our house before I'd caught wind of it. Since it has dropped in like a turd in a brown paper bag on your front porch set allight. It tries to second guess (WRONGLY) URL's I'm going to that I know, it incorrectly fills things in, and worst of all, it renders things badly.

    Having been an Apple fan for a very long time, this is worse than mere words can explain. I routinely keep 5-10 browser windows open in the background and through this mess of a supposed upgrade, it keeps losing window history when you restart all windows with the "Reopen all windows from last session" and it's like it has a lobotomy.

    Perhaps I've found Steve's defective liver, I've certainly found a very defective browser!

  5. Jerry Masterson

    So use Firefox then

    ...and quit your whining.

  6. Jeremy Chappell

    Beta upgrade?

    I've got Safari 4 here and it's fine (I for the record my Mac is an old Intel one - Core Duo rather than the newer Core2 Duo). Is the problem related to having run the Beta (I never did)?

    I guess you've tried resetting it? (Middle of the "Safari" Menu) and chucking the Safari stuff from the Library? (Is this all accounts? Or just one?)

    What do the logs say about it?

  7. Edward 1

    Apple never "forced" any upgrade!

    I've got 5 macs between work and home and, while I usually just accept all the Apple upgrades, I decided to wait and see on this Safari 4.0. I've had no problem NOT upgrading to 4.0 while applying all the other recent Apple updates. All you have to do is uncheck one box. I'm glad I decided to wait a couple of weeks. Let's see what 4.1 brings.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo


    Use Firefox.

    Or, you know... IE... has to be more stable.

  9. ZM


    ...just work, don't they?

  10. Jimbo 7
    Thumb Down

    to Jerry Masterson

    totally agree, just use FireFox

    SAFARI is not far from IE ... oh wait it's Apple's Product it has to work without issues, right? Oh yeah and they would never block OGG in HTML5

  11. danny_0x98

    n steps forward n-k steps back

    I've had occasional Safari crashes with 4, but, so far, less frequently than crashes with its predecessor this spring. Feels Flash-related to me. I also haven't turned java back on though I installed the java 5 patch.

  12. David Kelly 1

    no issues here

    Upgraded 3 machines (of different types) at home and none have had any problems. Apple did not force this update. Only a moron who doesn't pay attention to what updates he has left ticked would think that.

  13. CC


    Looks like Bill got tired of semi retirement and went to work for Apple.

  14. Nordrick Framelhammer

    Well, spin my nipplenuts and send me to Alaska

    Yet again that cult know as Apple (aka Jobsientology) have released a flagship product that is so buggy it makes Windows Me look stable.

    When will people learn that Jobsientology is all form over function, as can be seen by the fact the Ipod is so limited in the codecs it can play or the completely stupid design of those mice.

    It should be interesting listening to the fanniboys defend Jobsientology over this one.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    runs ok for me

    runs fine on the macbook pro i got this morning. nothing has crashed so far but being a PC guy, the whole experience sucks big time for me. perhaps i will get used to it in a month or it will get the windows 7 treatment before then.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Big Brother

    No issues here

    On an older Mac Pro. 4 has run fine since the beta. (I have had it since ~March) If I remember 3 correctly 4 has always run better.

    I really don't have anything useful to say - I just wanted to use one of the cool new icons!

  17. Chas
    Jobs Halo

    Same old nonsense...

    A small number of users have problems and everyone starts equating it with the world collapsing. I've installed Safari 4 on both my machines and it's been stable as a rock - faster page loads, faster Javascript and all with a couple of InputManager plugins to boot.

    As the local Mac guru, I've also recommended it to all my clients. Around 60 people in town have it running on a wide variety of hardware of differing vintages - PPC and Intel - and NOT ONE has had a single problem.

    IMHO, Safari 4 rocks!

  18. aL 17

    im sure apple will fix it soon.. removing all the forum posts and threatining all bloggers mentioned the problem :P

    mac just works right? atleast if you ignore the problems :)

  19. Dr Richard

    No problems here ..

    I tried the beta and it had stability problems so I junked it.

    No problems with the full release though under OSX (10.4 and 10.5) on a variety of Apple machines of a variety of ages.

  20. Law

    "just works" here...

    ... not exactly a veteran user though, I didn't touch Safari properly on my system until the latest update, once I realised it works on google docs now and they added the one feature I liked of Opera (speed dial/top sites) I decided to give it a proper go. So far been solid, only plugin I'm using is adblock so maybe it's a compatibility issue with plugins... they should really have tested them though, firefox manages most of the time.

    Oh - I did find it amusing that the official apple discussion board's search box is rendered incorrectly (it renders the rounded ends twice) - I'd have thought somebody over at apple that prowls the boards would have spotted that one at some point and got it fixed already. :S

    A pint of grog - to Steve's health!! CHEERS! *clink*...

  21. PJI

    It does just work ...

    Perhaps it's my fingers being hardened by years of UNIX and my mind being numbed by Windows; but all these Mac-update-crashes ... seem to have passed me by.

    My only gripes are that X window managers no longer work (though the rest of the X utilities seem to be fine) since Leopard and Apple supply a wonderful German/French/whatever language version; but they can not manage a British version of their interfaces (grr. Ubuntu and even Microsoft can and those grim American voices, ugh) and that, to me, is a little bad mannered.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Pile of cack

    Same crap updates Apple seem to be churning out at the moment.

  23. Giles Jones Gold badge


    There's a number of Mac users who like to run hacks and then complain when things don't work.

    If you don't install hacks and tools that reveal hidden settings then your machine tends to work better.

  24. DZ-Jay

    No problems here either...

    In Windows XP and OS X 10.5.7 -- Just works, as it's supposed to.


  25. Alex Harper

    What's new?

    Safari has always been a crash happy, hang happy browser for me, during 10.4 and 10.5 and V4 is no different. It seems to be certain pages that can be problematic so I can't wait for the process separation promised in Snow Leopard but most crashes are caused by flash. I firstly recommend safariadblock to get rid of flash ads but on top of that you can use safaricookies to maintain a whitelist-only cookie list, and my favourite of all, clicktoflash:

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Just like IE

    Anyone that uses Safari is probably the same sort of person that insists on using Internet Explorer under Windows.

    Both are pushed to you automatically and touted as important updates that should not be overlooked under any circumstances, but neither are actually forced on the user.

    I'm sure it's only a coincidence that both browsers from the largest commercial OS producers are shit.

    Suggesting that the Mac OS is shit because it's browser is shit reeks of pot, kettle, black. It is amusing though, and while things like this should probably teach Apple and their fanbois that thing about throwing stones in glass houses, I'm guessing that it won't.

  27. karabuni

    It works, but…

    I have been using Safari 4 since last August (Developer then Public Beta Versions - 10.4.11).

    The Beta versions seemed to load pages faster, and the tabs were along the very top of the window ("Title" bar), and a little + appeared at the top right corner to add a new tab. Which was nice.

    Rather worse than the disappearance of this feature, was that having allowed Software update to update the "final" version of Safari 4, I did not realise that opting to "Shutdown" meant permanently, as the computer would not start up the next day. Had to resort to 10.3 and do lots of reinstalling (countless updates of Java as well) to get back to 10.4.11..

    Having now got Safari 4 installed again, it does not crash, but all bookmarks seem to have been lost.

  28. NogginTheNog

    Ready for Windows 7?

    Maybe MS licensed it for shipping with Win7 in Europe in place of IE8, and thought it really ought to be of the appropriate quality for a new Windows OS release...? :-D

  29. Matthew Barker

    Some things you can do...

    I've installed it on 4 computers, 2 intel, 2 PPC – 1 tiger & 3 leopards.

    My standard operating procedure, when I hear about everyone else having trouble, is to clean all my system caches, rotate logs, scan prefs, etc. before doing the installs.

    To do this, I use (from and applejack (,

    which overlap a bit in function.

    No trouble.

  30. ThomH

    Working fine for me...

    ... on both my work and home machines. Lucky old me.

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    it's generated far less calls than I expected, so personally I'd say there's a certain amount of confirmation bias here. And before you ask, yes I do.

  32. sitruc

    Most stable version of Safari yet...

    I was going to post how this is the only version of Safari I haven't had a bunch of crashes with... then the browser crashed.

  33. Gilbo


    This is well serious. Feel pitty for the ISPs that have just logged a 3% increase in the amount of complaints that Twitter isn't working.

  34. Mike

    It's Hacks and Flash

    As mentioned already here, I am also of the opinion that 99.9% of these frequent crashes are due to 3rd party Safari hacks getting in through the Input Manager route (adblockers, Saft, etc.), or Flash.

    Flash on any platform that does start with a "W" is an utter shitestorm. The number of sites that are now plastered with video-enabled craptacular ads is off the scale. Uncheck "plugins", uncheck "java" and enjoy the web again with the best-of-breed browser.

  35. David Walker
    Thumb Up

    No Problems here

    I have used Safari since it came out - I like the fact that its cleaner and has a more Mac (obviously) UI than Firefox. I had a couple of crashes on my MB Pro unibody after installing v4 but none since then and I have it running on 4 machines from PPC to Intel. The update was optional - and I have waited on one machine - mostly because of laziness and because the beta is pretty good. I wonder what the actual 'failure' rate is. There are a few folks in the comments that have reported specific problems, but the vast majority of comments that are negative are simply that - negative - too much flaming in the comments section in general. Most are positive. I seem to recall that the last major update to Firefox was less than smooth... and Chrome... it hasn't even got a stable port outside of Windows. I look forward to updates to these great products - with the likely bumps in the road. At least these three products have attempted to maintain web standards. For those of you drawing parallels with MS Explorer 8... MS still has problems with CSS1 and 2 - it is hardly a comparison when that product is more than 1/2 a decade behind every other web browser in terms of rendering engines.

  36. Justin White

    Macs just work?

    It wasn't that long enough in the distant past that I had to support several Macs for the graphics arts dept of my company and I truly despised dealing with extensions, fixing things with rezedit, or attempting to force TCP/IP configurations on our blissfully happy Appletalk bunch.

    Glad to see things haven't improved since System 6, 7, or 8. Firefox is brilliant on my work Vista machine and my home Debian Lenny build.

    Mines the one with the "NOT" symbol over the words Apple Snob.

  37. Anonymous Coward

    Still on 4.beta -- wildly stable, like everything else

    I open lots and lots and lots and lots of browser windows: dozens of windows, each with dozens of tabs; iMac & Mini; Opera, Camino, OmniWeb, Safari 4.beta, Firefox; leave them up and running for days while I sort through all the literature... Last time I counted, my record stood at 200 simultaneous open links.

    I haven't had a whisper of trouble in the any of them. The only 'issue' is that Safari doesn't play nicely with my Uni's "Outlook Web Access" server.

    I agree with the theory that it's likely to be slipshod coding of third-party add-ons that confuse matters.

  38. Jimbo 7

    to David Walker

    do you work for Apple or are you just brainwashed?

    let's all clap for SAFARI and let the free open source firefox die .... eeehh maybe not

  39. DefUnct

    Works for me...

    ...both beta and final version working fine on my Macbook Pro and on my work Dell, no crashes to date (but did have some warnings about slow scripts on a few sites). Must say it's rather good most of the time.

  40. Deckchair

    @David Walker

    "...but the vast majority of comments that are negative are simply that - negative - too much flaming in the comments section in general. "

    You mean you expected something else? For more reasoned debate try 4chan.

  41. iamapizza

    Look to the left of this post.

    Do you see the 'fail' icon to the left of this post? The red square that has the world "FAIL" in it?

    That isn't an image. It's Safari.

  42. Anonymous Coward

    Koolaid drinkers of the world unite.

    Wouldn't ya know it, it's not Apple's fault, it's gotta be those pesky add ons that all the nasty hackers use that cause the problems.

    How dare users install software of their own choice and tinker with the inner creamy goodness that is the brave new world of Apple.

    Here's a thought for you Mactards though, my XP SP1a (yeah, rly, I love my Psion Wavefinder and unfortunately the software'd break on SP2 or above) install has been running for nigh on 7 years now, it gets left running for days on end, it doesn't crash or hang unless there's a hardware problem (several PSUs later), it's choc full of 'hacker' tools that let me do things like network discovery, password recovery etc. for clients along with loads of 'tweaks' and hacks that let me use the machine the way *I* like instead of the way Bill wanted me to.

    There's intermittent installs of antivirus, spyware removers etc. and guess what? Never a virus or anything more than a few tracking cookies and trust me, I spend *plenty* of time on the 'net.

    Now toddle along and drink your koolaid like a good mactard or, shock horror, your machine will be unfashionable before you manage to stop it crashing.

  43. The Original Ash

    Serves you all right!

    Smug gits with your virus-free platform, pretty UI, high quality hardware...

  44. Paul 191

    Safari is for the US only you know...

    Safari 4.0 perfectly stable for me, of course I only used it for 3 minutes until I discovered the search bar is hard coded to only return US google results and you cannot in any way select your local region.

  45. Dorf
    Thumb Up

    No problems here

    I use it all day. No problems. Love the debugger. Hasn't crashed once (only in it's beta phase). I loves it you see.

  46. lee harvey osmond

    no problems here either

    Nobody I know has had any problems of note with Safari 4. That's across a company with an average of more than two Macs per person, and all the private Mac owners I know too.

    But then, right at the top of the article were the words "Ever since we upgraded to version 4 from the remarkably stable beta version". Nobody I know installed the Safari 4 Beta n a production machine.

    Perhaps some Mac user at El Reg would like to back up their user data, wipe and reinstall, and then update to Safari 4.0.1? Bet your problems would go away then.

  47. Anonymous Coward


    Jimbo 7. Again. I don't get why you read the Apple articles at all. It's as predictable as rain at Glastonbury that he'll pop up with an inane comment or two - what exactly has Apple blocking OGG in HTML 5 got to with Safari crashing? Are you suggesting it's karma?! Or is that you, Mr Wales? Anyway. "It just works" It does. I presume it's the Windows and Linux fanboys (I run them all - OS agnostic) gloating at that particular piece of schadenfreude. Do you want to know a secret? Software crashes. Firefox took 5 releases at least of 3.0 before it was stable and 2.0 was a washout on most platforms. Mozilla have released the third RC in little over a week of FF 3.5. Chrome wasn't great to begin with. IE fans can come back when it actually renders pages properly. Safari 4.0 has crashed on me once. Well, when I say Safari, I mean Flash. If I can avoid Flash based sites, I do. It's a shit way of rendering web content. It has it's uses and they are mercifully few. So yes, some Apple software occasionally crashes shocker. Well done Rik. Sterling journalism mate.

  48. bex

    i would not know

    seeing as I have always used Firefox on my macbook (in all its flaky goodness) even though I have installed the latest safari it does not get used so no problem here.

    As for blaming third party add-ons , well when internet explorer goes tits up it is usually some plug in that causes it but Microsoft still get the blame. So Apple suck it in and sort it out firefox stops adons running when it knows they cause problems

  49. Barry Lane 1

    Works OK here

    I've installed it on a 2-gig Mac Mini, a similarly equipped iMac, both on 10.5.7 and a 4-year-old 1.67-gig Powerbook running 10.4.8. Runs better than anything else I've tried, including Firefox. Perhaps if folks quit bit-torrenting pron and warez all day their wretched pooters would work more reliably. Then again, I can't persuade Quark 8 to stop crashing every three minutes.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Jobs Halo

    Wroks for me

    Not had a problem with it on any of my Macs (Intel and one PPC - all running 10.5.7) and it even works fine under OSX on my Dell Mini 9.

    Just wish they'd left in the tabs from the betas.

  51. Scott Mckenzie


    Is it ironic that Safari 4 had been perfect on my machine until i clicked on this story, Safari wouldn't load it and then failed to load any other Reg story until i reset the session.

  52. Sean Timarco Baggaley

    It's Adobe's fault.

    Credit where it's due: I've never seen Safari 4 crash. However, I *have* seen it crippled by Adobe's godawful OS X implementation of their bloated "media platform", known to most of us as Flash. Flash-heavy sites will often bring up the dreaded spinning beachball -- sometimes for well over a minute -- while Adobe's pathetic excuse of a plugin hogs all the system's resources for no adequately explored reason.

    Flash is its own worst enemy. No wonder Apple aren't in any hurry to get it onto their iPhone.

    (Incidentally, Safari 4's performance on Windows 7 is much better on Flash sites. And all you FOSS fans need to stop crowing too: Safari is based on the open-source WebKit engine. The same engine used by Android.)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    when I got redirected to one of those crapware for crapos sites (your crapos computer has virus's blah de blah de blah), that prove difficult to get out off.

    I am on Tiger , and also you can pull down version 3 of safari.

  54. John Tuffen

    No Problems with crashing; however...

    ... there's a problem with the parental controls. You can add a site by simply pressing 'cancel' when Safari asks for an administrator password. It's annoying when it worked so well with Safari 3!

    (Macbook rev1, 10.4.11)

  55. Sean Aaron

    No issues here

    I didn't install the beta; I'm running 10.4.11 on an iBook G4. Faster than 3.x and I like the Top Sites page as an alternative to straight tabs.

  56. This post has been deleted by its author

  57. Columbus
    Jobs Halo

    too fast for the web

    running safari 4 on a variety of machines- no problems with stability but rendering is a bit hit &miss. I think it uses a crystal ball given the speed it makes the render attempt though.

    Possibly the Apple programmers have manged to code in the "jobsian reality distortion field" he he

  58. Park

    Safari 4

    Safari 4 has yet to crash on my MacBook Pro. Must be some third-party apps that are not compatible.

  59. Anonymous Coward

    Works on an HP Hackintosh

    Fucked if I would pay the stupid money for an Apple.

  60. Michael C
    Thumb Up

    no issues

    I have it on a OS X10.5, Win Vista EE 32, and an XP pro box. No issued with 4.0 on any of them. I use it almost exclusively (except at work where only IE 6 is approved, ouch).

  61. Mike Moyle

    @ Clint Sharp

    "Here's a thought for you Mactards though, my XP SP1a (yeah, rly, I love my Psion Wavefinder and unfortunately the software'd break on SP2 or above) install has been running for nigh on 7 years now, it gets left running for days on end, it doesn't crash or hang unless there's a hardware problem (several PSUs later), it's choc full of 'hacker' tools that let me do things like network discovery, password recovery etc. for clients along with loads of 'tweaks' and hacks that let me use the machine the way *I* like instead of the way Bill wanted me to."

    ...and the same (with the exception of my -- to date -- being able to update my OS without that pesky software-breakage on dot-updates that you mention having <gr> and no need to upgrade the PSU) could be used to describe my 7+ year-old Mac G4 duallie. So what's your point?

    (Yeah... I know... Why do I even bother expecting logic from someone who posts using the troll icon...? Silly me! ...Pity there isn't some way to block any comment that has the "troll alert"... Oh well -- gotta leave SOMETHING for El Reg's next upgrade!)


    As to the actual subject of the article -- with the exception of one page (an ArcView-based GIS page) that used to load but now fails -- I have had no problems with upgrading Safari on the aforementioned home G4 nor the office G5. I'm still getting used to the moved "refresh" button and, while these fifty-mumble-year-old eyes like the "make the pictures bigger when making the text bigger" function, it would be nice if there were some way to toggle it on and off; otherwise it goes like gangbusters as far as I can tell.

  62. Walt French

    Oh, Great

    Because Idiots blame Apple for problems ("it DOESN'T just work, WTF?!?") caused by poorly-written or merely out-dated 3rd party add-ins (e.g., input managers), the logical thing for Apple will be to eliminate all third-party tools.

    Apple doesn't exactly need a lot of encouragement to close off its systems, for exactly these "user experience" reasons.

    Thanks an overflowing heap.

  63. Jeffrey Nonken

    Safari doesn't crash for me!

    ... Oh, right, that's because I've been using Firefox. Never mind.

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