How to fix Safari not downloading files on iPhone, iPad, and Mac

You may, at times, encounter an issue where Safari refuses to download photos, videos, audio, PDFs, documents, and other files from a website. In this article, we’ll explore common reasons why Safari may not be downloading files on iPhone, iPad, or Mac and provide solutions to help you get back to downloading with ease.

List of Safari downloads on iPhone

The issues you may be facing

  • Clicking the download link opens a new blank tab, and no file download starts.
  • Safari is refusing to begin file downloads from one or all sites.
  • File download starts, but it fails immediately in a second or two.
  • The download happens up to a point and then fails midway or just before completing.
  • Safari downloads a file but opens it and then deletes the original files (this happens with ZIP and other compressed files).

The solutions below should help fix all the above issues and also ones similar to them.

Before you begin

It’s possible that you’re not following the right steps to download the file. On Mac, it’s super easy, but on iPhone and iPad, downloading files may not be as obvious. With that said, even if the file has been downloaded, you may not know where it’s saved and how to find it. So, look at these tutorials, if needed:

  • How to download videos from Safari on iPhone and iPad
  • How to download files and documents to iPhone or iPad
  • How to access downloaded files on iPhone and iPad

Retry the download

In many cases, initiating the download again does the trick. Try hitting the download link again, and it should work. If not, refresh the webpage and click the download button again.

Note: Some websites put downloads behind a login wall. So, make sure to honor that.

Pause and resume the download

The download may look like it has started, but it will pause or fail in a few seconds. If that happens, hit the tiny retry button a few times, and it should start the download. If not, hit the download link again on the website.

Check your internet

Make sure your iPhone, iPad, or Mac is connected to a stable Wi-Fi, Cellular Data, or Ethernet connection and the internet is working properly.

Some useful tips

  • Turn off VPN if you’re using one.
  • Restart your Wi-Fi router.

Troubleshooting internet problems

  • How to fix cellular data not working on iPhone or iPad
  • What to do when your iPhone or iPad can’t connect to Wi-Fi
  • Internet not working on your Mac? Here are 16 solutions to fix it

Allow the website to download files

When you try to download a file from a website for the first time, it doesn’t start immediately. Instead, you will see an alert asking your permission to allow this site to download and save files locally or not. Make sure you allow that. If you choose to block the download, follow these steps to fix it:

On iPhone and iPad: Hit the download link again on the website and tap Allow or Download when asked. If you don’t see the Allow button, clear your browser data.

Allow and Download popup alert in Safari before downloading a file

On Mac: Open Safari and click Safari > Settings from the top menu bar. Now, go to Websites > Downloads > click the drop-down menu next to the website name and choose Allow . While you’re here, also make sure it says ‘ Ask ‘ or ‘ Allow ‘ next to ‘ When visiting other websites .’

Allow websites to download files in Safari on Mac

Force Quit and reopen Safari

On iPhone and iPad: Swipe up from the bottom of the screen and hold or double-press the Home button to enter App Switcher. From here, drag the Safari app card all the way up to close it .

On Mac: Save your work in any other open Safari tabs. Next, click the Apple icon  and choose Force Quit . Here, select Safari and click Force Quit .

Now reopen Safari and try downloading the file again.

Use alternate download links

You may see more than one download link on a website. If one link fails to work, try the other one. Note: Sometimes, picking a different download quality (for a video, audio, or image) should do the trick.

Choose different download quality for image, video, and audio

Set Safari download location to anything other than iCloud Drive

If you have set Safari to download files to iCloud Drive,  switch it to any other local storage folder using the steps below:

On iPhone or iPad: Settings > Safari > Downloads > On My iPhone or Other .

On Mac: Open Safari and click Safari > Settings from the top menu bar. From the General section, select Downloads , Desktop , or any local folder next to ‘ File download location .’

File download location in Safari on Mac

Stop Safari from automatically opening files after download

By default, Safari on Mac is set to open files after downloading them. That means if you download a ZIP file, Safari will automatically unzip it after downloading. In rare cases, this may cause the download to fail, not complete successfully, or not even start in the first place if the file you’re trying to download is incompatible. Therefore, it’s best to turn it off from Safari Settings > General > uncheck ‘ Open “safe” files after downloading .’

Restart your device

If Safari is unable to download files due to minor glitches, save your work and do a restart .

Make sure your device has sufficient free space

New file downloads will only succeed if your iPhone, iPad, or Mac has enough free space. So go to Settings, and check how much free storage you have. If it’s full, use these tutorials to free up space:

  • 50+ tips to free space on your iPhone and iPad
  • 30+ ways to free storage space on your Mac

Clear Safari history and cache

One of the most reliable solutions to fix Safari issues is clearing its history and website data .

On iPhone and iPad, you can do this from Settings > Safari > Clear History and Website Data .

On Mac, click History from the top menu bar and select Clear History .

Try disabling a recently installed Safari extension

If you could download files earlier but can’t after installing an extension, then that extension is likely the culprit. Remove it, restart your device, and now you should have no problem downloading files.

On iPhone and iPad: Head over to this guide on installing and removing Safari extensions .

On Mac: Go to Safari Settings > Extensions > select the extension and click Uninstall .

Uninstall extension from Safari on Mac

Update Safari

Safari updates are tied to system updates on iPhone and iPad. So, go to Settings app > General > Software Update and get the latest version of the operating system.

On Mac, you can update Safari from System Settings .

Update your Mac

If you’re on an older version of macOS, consider updating to the latest version, which should improve your computer’s overall working and stability.

On macOS Ventura and later, go to System Settings > General > Software Update . And on macOS Monterey and earlier, go to System Preferences > Software Update .

Safari User Guide

  • Change your home page
  • Import bookmarks, history and passwords
  • Make Safari your default web browser
  • Go to websites
  • Find what you’re looking for
  • Bookmark web pages that you want to revisit
  • See your favourite websites
  • Use tabs for web pages
  • Pin frequently visited websites
  • Play web videos
  • Mute audio in tabs
  • Pay with Apple Pay
  • Autofill credit card info
  • Autofill contact info
  • Keep a Reading List
  • Hide ads when reading articles
  • Translate a web page
  • Download items from the web
  • Share or post web pages
  • Add passes to Wallet
  • Save part or all of a web page
  • Print or create a PDF of a web page
  • Customise a start page
  • Customise the Safari window
  • Customise settings per website
  • Zoom in on web pages
  • Get extensions
  • Manage cookies and website data
  • Block pop-ups
  • Clear your browsing history
  • Browse privately
  • Autofill username and password info
  • Prevent cross-site tracking
  • View a Privacy Report
  • Change Safari preferences
  • Keyboard and other shortcuts
  • Troubleshooting

safari not showing downloads

If you can’t download an item from the web using Safari on Mac

Safari can download most types of files, but if you have trouble with a file, try these suggestions.

Open Safari for me

If Safari is still downloading the file, wait for it to finish. You can’t open a file while it’s being downloaded.

safari not showing downloads

If you see a message that the app can’t be opened because it’s from an unidentified developer or wasn’t downloaded from the Mac App Store, you can open the app by overriding the settings in Security & Privacy preferences .

Sometimes a download is incomplete because the file was damaged. Try downloading it again.

Make sure you have the app needed to open the file. If you do, the file may have been corrupted during the download. Delete it, then try downloading it again.

The downloaded file may be a compressed archive or disk image that contains the file you want. If the file is from a trusted site, double-click it to decompress it.

Where to Find Downloaded Files in Safari on a Mac and How to Manage Them

After downloading a file, it's not always easy to find where it saved. Here's how to find and manage Safari downloads on your Mac.

While browsing the web in Safari, it’s common to need to download files from different websites. But sometimes it can be a challenge to find where these Safari downloads are saved.

Below are several ways to find and manage Safari downloads on your Mac.

How to Download Files Using Safari

There are different ways to save items from Safari to your Mac , depending on the type of item you want to save. While some items in webpages can’t be downloaded, files, images, software, and apps often come with a dedicated download button. Otherwise, Control-click or two-finger tap an item to save or download it.

It’s best not to download software or apps if they aren’t from a trusted source.

Where to Find Safari Downloads on a Mac

Unless you’ve chosen otherwise, items that you’ve downloaded from Safari automatically go to your Downloads folder. To find this, open Finder and click Downloads from the sidebar or press Cmd + Option + L .

You can change where your downloaded files save, if you want:

  • Head to Safari > Preferences .
  • Click the General tab. Go to File download location , then choose from the popup. Select Ask for each download if you want to be in more control of each download.
  • If you want to select a specific destination, click Other and select your desired folder.

File Download Location Options on Safari Preferences

Use the Downloads Button in Safari

Quickly access your downloads in Safari by clicking the Downloads button, a downward arrow enclosed in a circle icon on the top-right of the Safari window. Note that this won’t appear unless you’ve recently downloaded an item.

Downloads List on Safari

Open the Downloads Stack in the Dock

Another way to immediately access your downloaded files is through the Dock. Your recent downloads are often found on the right side of the Dock in a stack. Hover over it to preview the contents or click to expand it.

Open the Downloads Folder in Finder

As we already mentioned, you can also find your Safari downloads using Finder. This is a valuable utility to locate items on our Mac. Simply click the magnifying button on your menu bar and type "downloads," or go to your Dock and click Finder to open the Finder window.

You can usually find the Downloads folder in the sidebar, under Favorites.

Downloads on Finder Sidebar

How to Manage Your Safari Downloads

There are several ways to manage your in-progress or completed downloads in Safari. To perform these actions, open the Downloads menu in Safari itself. Here’s what you can do:

  • Pause Downloads: If you’re currently downloading, click the stop button beside the file name to pause the download, then click the resume button to resume it again.

Magnifying glass in Downloads

  • Remove a downloaded item: If you want to remove a single item from the list, Control-click the item and select Remove from List . You can also remove all your recently downloaded items by clicking Clear in the top right of the popup.

Remove Download from List on Safari

By default, Safari automatically deletes downloaded items after a day. If you want to change this:

  • Go to Safari > Preferences .
  • Click General , then go to Remove download list items . Choose from After one day , When Safari quits , Upon successful download , or Manually .

Manage Your Safari Downloads

There is a lot of content you can download on the web, and simply knowing how to download it is usually half the battle. But once you’ve done that, you can use the tips in this guide to find and manage your Safari downloads with ease, even customizing your download preferences to get fuller control over where your files save and when they get deleted.

Guiding Tech

We explain and teach technology, solve tech problems and help you make gadget buying decisions.

9 Best Fixes for Safari Not Downloading Files on Mac

The Safari browser on your Mac lets you quickly download files like photos, videos, documents, etc. You can organize your files using Finder . But what if you could not download any files on Safari?

safari not showing downloads

There can be situations when you cannot download an important file from the web while using Safari on Mac. To help you solve that, we bring the solutions to fix Safari not downloading files on your Mac.

1. Check Your Internet Connection

First and foremost, you should check the strength of your internet connection . If you are downloading large files, it is ideal to be connected to a faster Wi-Fi network to save time. If you have a Dual-Band Wi-Fi router, we suggest connecting to a 5GHz frequency band and sitting closer to the router. If you are using a Hotspot with your iPhone, you can read our solutions to fix iPhone Hotspot not working on your Mac .

2. Check Internal Storage of Your Mac

Next thing you’ll need to check whether you have enough free space on the internal storage of your Mac. If you have to download multiple files on Safari, you’ll need to check if there’s enough storage space available. Here’s how.

Step 1:  Press Command + Spacebar shortcut to open Spotlight Search, type Storage,  and press Return.

safari not showing downloads

You will see a breakdown of all the file types that occupy most of the internal storage of your Mac.

Step 2:  To clear storage, click the ‘i’ icon next to the category of file.

safari not showing downloads

Step 3:  Select the file that occupies the maximum storage and is no longer required.

safari not showing downloads

Step 4:  Click on Delete in the bottom-right corner.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  Click on Done in the bottom-right corner to confirm.

safari not showing downloads

Repeat the same steps to clear storage of your Mac. Then, close the window and open Safari to check if the problem is solved.

3. Check Privacy and Security Settings

Safari lets you restrict downloads from a particular website. So if you are still unable to download files on Safari, here’s how you can check the Privacy and Security settings.

Step 1:  Press Command + Spacebar shortcut to open Spotlight Search, type Safari,  and press Return.

safari not showing downloads

Step 2:  Click on Safari at the top-left corner.

safari not showing downloads

Step 3:  Select Settings.

safari not showing downloads

Step 4:  Click on Websites at the top of the Settings window.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  Scroll down and click on Downloads from the left menu.

safari not showing downloads

Step 6:  Scroll down on the right side and look for the website from which files are not downloading.

Step 7:  Click the drop-down to the website name and select Allow.

safari not showing downloads

Step 8:  Close the window and check if the problem is solved.

4. Check Default Downloads Folder

You can also check your default Downloads folder for Safari on your Mac. It is possible that downloads are already allowed from the website and the files have downloaded. But you cannot find the location of that folder. Here’s how to check the same.

Step 4:  Under the General tab, check the File Download Location.

safari not showing downloads

If you wish to change the download location, click the dropdown menu and select your folder.

You’ll need to check if ‘Open Safe Files After Downloading’ is enabled. You might think that the files are not downloaded if this feature was disabled previously.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  Close the window and check if the problem is solved.

5. Change DNS Servers

If you are still unable to download files on Safari, here’s how you can try changing the DNS servers on your Mac. This will help in improving internet speeds and avoid random connection errors.

Step 1:  Press Command + Spacebar shortcut to open Spotlight Search, type System Settings,  and press Return.

safari not showing downloads

Step 2:  Click on Network from the left menu.

safari not showing downloads

Step 3:  Click on Wi-Fi.

safari not showing downloads

Step 4:  Click on Details next to the name of your connected Wi-Fi network.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  In the Details window, click on DNS from the left menu.

safari not showing downloads

Step 6:  Click on the Plus icon under DNS Servers.

safari not showing downloads

Step 7:  Add a new DNS entry from free public DNS service providers like Google , Cloudflare , or Quad9 .

Step 8:  Close the Network window, open Safari and check if the problem is solved.

6. Allow Downloads Outside the App Store

As part of the Security and Privacy features, you can restrict the download of apps that are not available on the App Store. But in the case of Safari not downloading files on your Mac, here’s how you can disable the feature to check if the problem gets solved.

Step 1: Press Command + Spacebar shortcut to open Spotlight Search, type System Settings,  and press Return.

Step 2:  Select Privacy and Security from the left menu.

safari not showing downloads

Step 3:  Scroll down and under Security, select App Store and Indentified Developers.

safari not showing downloads

Step 4:  Close the window, open Safari and try downoading your file again.

7. Clear Safari Cache

Clearing Cache from Safari is also worth giving a try. An outdated Cache of your browser can be the possible reason behind this issue. Here’s how to do it.

Step 4:  Click on Advanced at the top-right corner.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  Enable the option for ‘Show Develop Menu in the Menu Bar.’

safari not showing downloads

Step 6:  Close the window and click on Develop in the top Menu Bar.

safari not showing downloads

Step 7:  Click on Empty Caches.

safari not showing downloads

Step 8: After that, check if the problem is solved.

You can read more about how to clear Cache and Cookies in Safari .

8. Disable Safari Extentions

Extentions can add extra features to Safari on your Mac. But at the same, some faulty extensions can cause issues like restricting file downloads. Here’s how you can check and remove faulty extensions from Safari.

Step 4:  Click on Extensions in the Settings window.

safari not showing downloads

Step 5:  Choose an extension from the left menu.

Step 6:  Click on Uninstall.

safari not showing downloads

Step 7:  Close the window and check if removing the extension solves the issue.

If not, repeat the steps for removing faulty extensions.

9. Update Safari

While Safari does get regular updates, you can update the macOS version, if you’re using an older one on your Mac. This is the last step if nothing has worked for you till now.

Step 1:  Press Command + Spacebar shortcut to open Spotlight Search, type Check For Software Updates,  and press Return.

safari not showing downloads

Step 2:  If an update is available, download and install it.

Step 3:  Open Safari again after installation and check if the problem is solved.

Download Your Files

These steps will help you troubleshoot and solve the problem of not files not downloading in Safari on Mac. It’s generally a permission error or your Mac running out of space. After fixing the error, you can easily continue to download the necessary files.

Last updated on 16 December, 2022

The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.

safari not showing downloads

DID YOU KNOW

safari not showing downloads

Paurush Chaudhary

Paurush dabbles around iOS and Mac while his close encounters with Android and Windows. Before becoming a writer, he produced videos for brands like Mr. Phone and Digit and worked briefly as a copywriter. In his free time, he satiates his curiosity about streaming platforms and devices like Apple TV and Google TV. On weekends, he is a full-time cinephile trying to reduce his never-ending watchlist, often bumping it longer.

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PSA: Websites asking you to allow downloads? Here’s the solution …

Avatar for Ben Lovejoy

An increasing number of people are finding a wide range of websites – including ours – are asking permission to allow downloads to your Mac from googlesyndication.com …

The problem is a rogue ad that has made it through to the Google ad network, which is used by a great many websites. If you do allow the download, it’s just a harmless text file, but it’s annoying to have to keep hitting Cancel to block it.

Fortunately, there’s a simple way to stop the alerts. In Safari , go to the Safari menu, select Preferences and then Downloads from the left-hand menu. Beneath the list of Allowed and Denied sites is an option: When visiting other websites . Just set this to Deny.

You may need to explicitly grant permission for sites you do want to be able to offer you downloads. Simply visit those website and they will appear at the top, under Currently Open Websites. For each of these, select Allow or Ask as desired. They will then be added to your Currently Configured Websites list.

safari not showing downloads

We can also reassure Dave Mark that no cats are involved.

This just popped up on my Mac. My cat was next to my computer, my back was turned, no idea what just happened. 😲 pic.twitter.com/TvmSvtNI7T — Dark Mode Dave (@davemark) September 23, 2020

Google should soon block the specific ad causing the problem, but this is a useful thing to configure anyway.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.

Check out 9to5Mac on YouTube for more Apple news:

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Safari

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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Technology Explained

Safari downloads not working 10 troubleshooting tips and fixes to try.

' src=

Safari Downloads Not Working

1. check your default downloads folder.

  • Click Safari in the menu bar and choose Settings.
  • Select the General tab.
  • Expand the File download location dropdown box.
  • Select Other, then when your Mac displays your local folders, select Downloads from the left sidebar (or whatever folder you’d like to use) and click the Select button.

Safari Downloads

Image by https://www.makeuseof.com/

2. Check the “Open Safe Files” Box

safari not showing downloads

  • Go to Safari > Settings from the menu bar.
  • Make sure you’re on the General tab.
  • Check the small box next to Open “safe” files after downloading.

Safari Downloads

3. Check Your Wi-Fi Network

  • First, make sure you’re actually connected to a Wi-Fi network and that your Mac is close to the router.
  • You can often speed up your Wi-Fi connection by changing your router’s channel.

Safari Downloads

4. Change DNS Servers

  • Click the Wi-Fi status icon on the macOS menu bar and select Wi-Fi Settings.
  • Make sure that Wi-Fi is selected in the sidebar. Then, click Details, located on the right-hand side of the name of your currently connected network.
  • Click OK to save your changes. Your Mac may prompt you to verify your identity first in order to save.

Safari Downloads

5. Check for Paused Downloads

Safari Downloads

6. Try Downloading Again

7. clear the safari cache.

  • Head to the Advanced tab.
  • Check the box next to Show Develop menu in the menu bar.
  • Select Develop on the menu bar.
  • Click Empty Caches.

Safari Downloads

8. Check Your Mac’s Security & Privacy Settings

  • Launch Finder.
  • Type the name of the app you want to open into Finder’s search bar.
  • Click This Mac to search your entire system.
  • Control-click the app in question and click Open.

Safari Downloads

9. Disable Safari Extensions and Plugins

  • Click Safari > Settings in the menu bar.
  • Select the Extensions tab.
  • Uncheck the extensions or plugins you want to disable.

Safari Downloads

10. Ensure You Have Adequate Storage Space

Safari Downloads

Enjoy an Easier Time Downloading Files in Safari

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14 Ways to Fix Safari Not Downloading Files in iOS 17 on iPhone and iPad 

Downloading files in Safari is as simple as it can ever get. Notably, the stock web browser also offers a neat way to manage the downloaded files in order to keep the clutter away. So long as you don’t hit a roadblock, the whole process seems to be smooth sailing.

Recently, a handful of users have reported that they can’t download files in Safari on their iPhone. If the Apple browser is also misbehaving on your device, try out these effective tips and tricks to fix Safari not downloading files on iPhone and iPad.

Fix Safari Downloads Not Working on iPhone and iPad

So, what are the reasons why Safari is having trouble downloading files on your iPhone? When faced with this problem, you should look at several possible culprits including:

  • Lack of a clear understanding of how downloading files works in Safari
  • Below-par internet connection
  • Malicious browser extension
  • Cluttered space
  • Software bug

Keeping all the above-mentioned usual suspects in mind, I have discussed solutions to resolve the downloading issue in Apple’s browser.

1. Bring on the Airplane Mode Trick

First and foremost, I would suggest you turn on and off the airplane mode on your iPhone. If Safari is unable to download files due to a sluggish internet connection, there is a good chance the airplane mode trick can fix it. 

  • Just swipe down from the top right corner of the screen and hit the Airplane mode icon. If you have a device with Touch ID, swipe up from the bottom to access the Control Center.
  • Now, wait for a few seconds and then hit the airplane mode icon to disable it. 
  • If your internet connection continues to be sloppy, disable/enable Wi-Fi. If you have access to multiple Wi-Fi connections, switch to another network and try to download files.

Turn ONOFF Airplane Mode

2. Ensure That Safari Can Use Your Cellular Data

By default, all apps are allowed to use cellular data without any restrictions. Nevertheless, it would be better to check and ensure that Safari can use data.

  • Go to the Settings app on your device -> Cellular -> Scroll down to find Safari and make sure that the toggle next to the browser is turned on.

3. Force Quit Safari and Relaunch It

At times, you can bring the misfiring Apple Safari back on track by just force-killing and relaunching it.

  • On your iPhone or iPad with the Face ID: Swipe up from the bottom to show the app switcher.
  • On your iPhone or iPad with the Touch ID: Double-press the Home button to reveal the app switcher.

Now, swipe up the Safari’s card to kill the app. Next, launch the browser and try to download a file to figure out if the problem is gone.

4. Change Safari’s Location

If your iCloud Drive is cluttered with too many redundant files, it could be coming in the way. Hence, change the download location of the browser.

  • By default, iCloud Drive is set as the default download location for Safari but you have the option to choose other locations. 
  • To get it done, go to the Settings app -> select Safari -> Downloads -> Now, choose the On My iPhone.

Change Safari download location on iPhone and iPad

5. Learn How Downloading Files in Safari Works

Another basic thing that you should tick off without fail is to have a clear understanding of how downloading files works in Safari.

  • Open Safari on your iPhone or iPad and download any file as usual.
  • Once the file has been downloaded, you should see a tiny “Download arrow” at the bottom. 
  • Now, tap on this download arrow and choose the “Downloads” option in the menu. 

Check Safari downloads

  • Next, select the downloaded file. Next, tap on the Share icon and then choose the desired medium to share the file. 
  • Alternatively, open the Files app -> tap on the Browse tab at the bottom of the screen -> Now, tap on Downloads. You should see all the downloaded files in this folder.

6. Remove All the Downloaded Files from Safari

On some occasions, just clearing the recently downloaded files from Safari can let you fix the downloading issue.

  • Launch the Apple browser -> tap on the tiny download arrow at the bottom -> tap on Clear at the upper-right corner of the menu.

Clear downloaded items in Safari

7. Stop Safari from Automatically Removing Downloaded Items

To prevent downloaded items from clogging up precious space unnecessarily, iOS lets you automatically delete the downloaded items. However, you have the option to remove the downloaded items manually.

  • Head into the Settings app -> Safari -> Downloads -> Remove Download List Items and choose Manually.

Stop Safari from deleting files automatially on iPhone and iPad

8. Reboot Your iPhone/iPad

Now, it’s time to reboot the iPhone. Should the Safari downloads issue is due to a minor software glitch, rebooting the device can let you fix it. 

9. Turn OFF VPN

VPN (Virtual Private Network) is nothing less than a boon for times when you want to have enhanced privacy while browsing the web. Unfortunately, on a few rare occasions, it goes awry and causes miscellaneous issues. Therefore, try turning the VPN off on your iPhone.

  • On your iPhone/iPad, navigate to the Settings app -> VPN and then turn it off.

10. Disable All Safari Extensions

If you have recently installed a Safari extension like a content/ad blocker, it might be preventing the browsing from downloading files.

  • Fire up the Settings app on your iPhone/iPad -> Safari -> Extensions -> Now, temporarily disable all the extensions.

11. Clear Safari History and Website Data

If it’s been ages since you wiped out Safari’s history and website data, the downloading issue could be the byproduct of the piled-up cache and cookies.

  • To remove Safari’s history and website data, launch the Settings app -> Safari -> Clear History and Website Data and confirm.

Clean Up Safari History of Specific Profiles in iOS 17 and ipadOS 17

12. Update Your Device

A hidden software bug could also be the reason why Safari is unable to download files. The best way to deal with a software bug is to update the software.

  • To do so, open the Settings app -> General -> Software Update. 

Choose software update

13. Factory Reset Your Device

Should Safari downloads continue to ill-function, go for the factory reset. Bear in mind that a factory reset will wipe out the entire custom settings on your iPhone, bringing everything back to the default state. Nonetheless, none of your media and data is deleted.

  • To get it done, dive into the Settings app -> General -> Transfer or Reset iPhone/iPad -> Reset -> Reset All Settings .

Reset All Settings

14. Declutter Your iPhone/iPad

If Safari has not yet returned to normal, it’s time to go for the kill and wipe out the entire clutter. Well, I mean getting rid of all the useless files to recover enough storage on your device. If the storage on your device is clogged up, I could be playing the devil’s role.

  • Head into the Settings app -> General -> iPhone/ iPad Storage. On this screen, you will have a clear picture of the available and used storage.
  • Besides, you can also find out how much space each app has gobbled up.
  • In order to reduce the clutter, delete all the useless files and apps that you no longer need.

Check storage on iPhone and iPad

There you go! I hope Safari has started to download items without any problem whatsoever. Now that the problem is behind your back, be sure to share your thoughts and the tips that have brought the Apple Safari brought on track for you.

Read more: 17 Best New Messages Features in iOS 17 on iPhone

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Home > News Tips

How to Fix Safari Downloads not Working on Mac?

Updated on Monday, February 5, 2024

iBoysoft author Vain Rowe

Approved by

Safari Downloads not working on Mac: What to do?

Safari Downloads not working problem occurs when you want to download some items from it. Specifically, the problem includes that the downloaded item might disappear, or, the Safari browser doesn't download at all. 

Don't worry, software problem is not as tough as hardware failure, and you can read this article to know the reasons that cause Downloads not working on Mac Safari , meanwhile, approaches on how to fix Safari Downloads not working are covered on Mac.

Safari Downloads not working on Mac

Table of Contents:

  • 1. Why does the Safari Downloads not working issue happen on Mac?
  • 2. How to Fix Safari Downloads not working on Mac?

Why does the Safari Downloads not working issue happen on Mac?

Generally speaking, the factors that cause Safari downloads not working issue are various, and you can have a rough understanding of them:

  • False default downloads folder
  • Poor network quality
  • Paused download items
  • Redundant Safari caches
  • High security and privacy of Mac
  • Installed Extensions and plugins
  • Insufficient disk space

All these factors mentioned above are likely to cause the Safari downloads not working issue on Mac. But be relaxed, this post provides you with the most comprehensive ways to fix this issue. You can try them below according to your demands.

my mac wont download anything

What If My Mac Won't Download Anything Like Apps/macOS/Files?

If you find your Mac won't download anything such as downloading macOS, applications, or files from the App Store, the internet, or within the apps, there are fixes for the Mac download not working issue.  Read more >>

Share this article with others right now!

How to Fix Safari Downloads not working on Mac?

Approaches to deal with the downloads not working on Mac Safari are various, each one is simple and easy. You can spare no effort to solve this problem.

Fix 1: Check the default downloads folder

Commonly, the Safari browser sends your downloaded files to a folder, and it always takes Downloads as the default location. If you have downloaded something but it doesn't show up in the Downloads folder, you can check which one is the default folder, and even you can change the default folder.

  • Launch the Safari browser via  Spotlight Search  or  Finder .
  • Click the Safari Preferences in the top menu bar of the Mac desktop.
  • Select the General tab, and locate the File download location box.

check the default Downloads folder

After you have done these actions, please securely remember the new default folder that you changed, in case you cannot find the downloaded items later.

Fix 2: Check the Open "safe" files after downloading box

As the content indicates, the downloaded files will open automatically if you ticked the Open "safe" files after downloading option. However, if your downloaded file doesn't open by itself, it's possible that you untick this option. Hence, you can follow the steps below to select this option:

  • Open the Safari browser in  Launchpad .
  • Select Safari on the upper left of your desktop, and then choose Preferences in the dropdown menu.
  • Select the General tab and tick the Open "safe" files after downloading option.

After completing these steps, try to download again to see if your downloaded item would open automatically. If not, try the following approaches.

Fix 3: Check your network quality

Sometimes, the Download not working on the Safari problem happens due to the slow internet connection, but not the Safari problem. You can run the  macOS NetworkQuality  to check your upload and download speed.

  • Launch the  Terminal  app via  Home Folder on Mac  or Finder.
  • Run the following command line in the Terminal window and then hit Enter.  networkquality
  • Wait for the Terminal to run this command line, and then you can know your internet quality. This operation only takes several seconds.

If the upload/download speed and upload/download responsiveness are fast, your download speed is still slow, then it's likely that other devices swallow up your Wi-Fi bandwidth. You can stop these devices to use the Wi-Fi when you're downloading on the Safari browser. 

Or, if you have no other device using your Wi-Fi, it's highly possible that unauthorized devices use your internet in secret, and you'd better remove them from your user list for fast Wi-Fi speed and security.

Fix 4: Change DNS Servers

A famous DNS Server is able to increase Safari's capability of locating the file's download server. Thus, for dealing with the Safari Downloads not working issue, you can take changing the DNS Servers into consideration.

  • Click the  Apple menu , and select  System Preferences  in the dropdown menu.
  • Locate the Network option and open it.
  • Click the Advanced option on the lower right corner of the Network window.

change DNS servers

  • Click the OK tab to confirm your actions.

Since you have changed the DNS servers already, you can then try to download items in the Safari browser to test if the Downloads not working issue on Safari is solved.

Fix 5: Check the paused downloads

Downloading an item and then powering off your Mac definitely leads to the Safari Downloads not working on Mac. Therefore, you can head to the Safari browser to see if there is any paused download item:

  • Launch the Safari browser.
  • Click the semi-circle arrow icon to display the download items.
  • If there are paused download items, click the Resume button to restart the download work.

If there aren't paused download items, be patient and try the following approaches still.

Fix 6: Clear the Safari caches

The redundant caches accumulated on the Safari browser may hinder your download work, and you can remove them by easy steps included in this post:

  • Open the Safari browser and click the Safari tab on the upper left of the desktop.
  • Select the Safari Preferences option in the context menu.
  • Turn to the Advanced tab, and then click the Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  • Click the Develop tab on the taskbar of your Mac desktop.

clear Safari caches

After you cleared the caches, try to download any item via Safari to test if the Safari Downloads not working issue is repaired.

Fix 7: Check the Security & Privacy settings

Thanks to the high security and privacy level, you are unable to open the apps from the outside of the App Store on Mac. If you have downloaded an app from the Safari browser, it's not odd that you cannot install and run it on Mac, unless you change some Security & Privacy settings manually.

  • Click the Apple menu and select System Preferences in the menu.
  • Locate the Security & Privacy tab and open it.
  • Click the padlock and enter your  admin account  password for further changes.

check Security and Privacy settings

Notice that only apps from identified developers are allowed to be installed and used on your Mac, if you have downloaded an app from the unidentified developers, the app will be blocked by your Mac  operating system .

Fix 8: Disable the Extensions and plugins 

Sometimes, the extensions and plugins installed on Safari may cause the Downloads not working issue on Mac Safari, then, ways to disable or close these extensions or plugins are helpful in fixing this issue.

  • Run Safari on Mac, and click the Safari tab on the upper left of your desktop.
  • Select the Safari preferences in the context menu.
  • Turn to the Extension tab, and then uncheck the extensions and plugins.

After you have finished these actions above, try to download an item in the Safari browser again. If you can download the item without barriers, then it's faulty with the extensions and plugins. Please remember to close the extensions and plugins when you download any item in the Safari browser later.

Fix 9: Check the disk space

If your disk remains few spaces, then Mac cannot hold the item that you have downloaded on the Safari browser absolutely. You can follow the guidelines to check the disk space, also, methods on  how to free up the disk space on Macintosh HD  are covered for enough space to store downloaded items.

  • Click the Apple menu on your desktop, and then tap the About This Mac option.
  • Switch to the Storage tab. if there is little space, click the Manage tab then.

check the disk space

Since you have enough space by the following steps, you can download any items on the Safari browser then.

Factors that cause the Safari Download not working problem are uncertain, but feasible approaches to solving this problem are covered in this post. You can try them to fix your Safari browser which cannot download items, and the downloaded items disappear with ease.

Vain Rowe is a new technical editor at iBoysoft. She spares no effort to learn tech knowledge during the training and after training. She has shared dozens of articles across iBoysoft website and other websites, providing solutions and information about file restoration, disk cleanup, work efficiency, and data security.

Jessica Shee is a senior tech editor at iBoysoft. Throughout her 4 years of experience, Jessica has written many informative and instructional articles in data recovery, data security, and disk management to help a lot of readers secure their important documents and take the best advantage of their devices.

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Safari Downloads Not Working? 10 Troubleshooting Tips and Fixes

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Safari Downloads Not Working?

Having issues with downloads in Safari on your Mac? We’ll cover how to troubleshoot lost, stuck, and missing Safari downloads problems It’s not always easy to download files in Safari on a Mac. Sometimes, files seem to disappear after you download them, while other times, they don’t download at all. Confusingly, this can happen for a variety of reasons. However, the fixes are all easy enough.

1. Check Your Default Downloads Folder

Safari sends every file you download to a folder on your Mac. Unsurprisingly, it uses Downloads as the default location. However, you can change this, perhaps without even realizing it.

You should thus check where Safari sends your downloads and change it accordingly if desired. To do this:

  • Click Safari in the menu bar and choose Settings.
  • Select the General tab.
  • Expand the File download location dropdown box.
  • Select Other, then when your Mac displays your local folders, select Downloads from the left sidebar (or whatever folder you’d like to use) and click the Select button.

You can set the default download location to a folder other than Downloads, of course. But make sure you remember what this alternative folder is. Otherwise, you could lose time searching for files that aren’t in an obvious folder. If you’d like Safari to ask where your download should be stored every time, select Ask for each download.

Safari Downloads

2. Check the “Open Safe Files” Box

Sometimes, it might seem like Safari downloads aren’t working normally because of the Open “safe” files after downloading option, which you’ll find in Safari’s General Preferences pane.

This option is turned on by default. It instructs Safari to automatically open all “safe” files once they’ve finished downloading. By turning it off, you might mistakenly think that Safari has stopped downloading properly since it stops automatically opening your files.

However, you can easily turn it back on. You simply have to do the following:

  • Go to Safari > Settings from the menu bar.
  • Make sure you’re on the General tab.
  • Check the small box next to Open “safe” files after downloading.

Safari will now open all “safe” files for you after it downloads them. And in case you were wondering, Apple defines certain file types, such as pictures and PDFs, as “safe.”

Safari Downloads

3. Check Your Wi-Fi Network

It’s worth bearing in mind that if you can’t download in Safari, it might not be Safari that’s the problem. In fact, it could be that your Wi-Fi connection is too slow or isn’t working normally. In that case, there are some steps you can take.

  • First, make sure you’re actually connected to a Wi-Fi network and that your Mac is close to the router. You’ll typically suffer from slow downloads when you’re farther away from the router, so moving closer can solve some problems.
  • Also, you can often speed up your Wi-Fi connection by changing your router’s channel. You can do this by typing your router’s IP address into Safari’s address bar and hitting Return. You’ll then come to your router’s settings page, which is where you can change the channel it uses.
  • One other trick you can try is checking whether another device is eating up your Wi-Fi’s bandwidth. This can slow down the speed of downloads, particularly if lots of devices are doing intensive work at the same time. Try pausing video streaming, online gaming, and similar activities if you can.

Safari Downloads

4. Change DNS Servers

Using a popular DNS (Domain Name System) server can improve Safari’s odds of locating a file’s download servers. Let’s try ditching your ISP’s DNS servers in favor of Google DNS. Here’s how:

  • Click the Wi-Fi status icon on the macOS menu bar and select Wi-Fi Settings.
  • Make sure that Wi-Fi is selected in the sidebar. Then, click Details, located on the right-hand side of the name of your currently connected network.
  • Click OK to save your changes. Your Mac may prompt you to verify your identity first in order to save.

Save your changes and try downloading the file again. For the best results, flush your Mac’s DNS cache before you do that.

Safari Downloads

5. Check for Paused Downloads

Starting a download and closing your Mac while it’s still in progress can pause it. This could be an obvious reason why you can’t find the download in your Downloads folder: it hasn’t actually finished downloading.

In such cases, you have to restart the download. You can do this by clicking the Show Downloads button at the top of Safari’s window, which looks like an arrow pointing down. Then, hit the Resume button, which resembles the circular refresh arrow in most web browsers.

Safari Downloads

6. Try Downloading Again

Sometimes, files get corrupted or damaged when you download them. This can stop the download from finishing, or it can stop you from opening a file once it’s downloaded.

Either way, you can try simply downloading the file again. This is a basic step, but it can work wonders.

7. Clear the Safari Cache

An outdated browser cache can wreak havoc and cause all sorts of issues and might result in Safari not downloading files on your Mac. Here’s how you can clear your browser’s cache:

  • Head to the Advanced tab.
  • Check the box next to Show Develop menu in menu bar.
  • Select Develop on the menu bar.

Safari Downloads

8. Check Your Mac’s Security & Privacy Settings

Sometimes, Safari download problems occur because your Mac doesn’t let you open apps from unidentified developers. You’ll find this setting in the Privacy & Security section of System Settings, which restricts you from opening apps downloaded from the App Store by default.

Fortunately, you can open apps from unidentified developers, assuming you trust them. This is what you should do:

  • Launch Finder.
  • Type the name of the app you want to open into Finder’s search bar.
  • Click This Mac to search your entire system.
  • Control-click the app in question and click Open.

You can also change your settings to let you always open apps downloaded from outside the App Store. This involves doing the following:

  • Launch System Settings and head to Privacy & Security from the sidebar.
  • Scroll down the page to the Security section.
  • Under Allow apps downloaded from, click App Store and identified developers.
  • Enter your administrator password or use Touch ID to authorize changes.

Note that this option only permits apps from known developers, so if you download an app from an unidentified developer, you’ll have to go through the process above. When your Mac blocks an unidentified app, you’ll also see a prompt to open it in the Privacy & Security pane here.

Safari Downloads

9. Disable Safari Extensions and Plugins

Extensions and plugins can sometimes interfere with how web browsers operate. This includes downloading, so if you’re having download problems on Safari, you should try disabling any recently installed add-ons or plugins in your browser.

This is what you should do:

  • Click Safari > Settings in the menu bar.
  • Select the Extensions tab.
  • Uncheck the extensions or plugins you want to disable.

Once you’ve disabled any suspect extensions or plugins, you should try completing your download again. If it works, you know that the disabled add-on was most likely the cause of the problem. You should keep it disabled whenever downloading.

But if you need it for other tasks, remember to enable it when you do them.

Safari Downloads

10. Ensure You Have Adequate Storage Space

It might sound obvious, but you can’t download a file that’s larger than your Mac’s available storage space. If you’re trying to download a larger file, you will see a warning that Safari cannot download the file because the drive doesn’t have enough free space. You can check how much free storage space is on your Mac by following these steps:

  • Click the Apple menu in the top-left corner of your screen.
  • Choose About This Mac, then click More Info from the pop-up. This will take you to the About page in the System Settings app.
  • Finally, scroll down to the Storage section. You will see your total disk space and the amount of free space remaining.
  • Optionally, click Storage Settings to see how your space is being utilized.

If you have less space, there are various ways to free up space on your Mac.

Safari Downloads

Enjoy an Easier Time Downloading Files in Safari

Apple offers Safari as a simple, built-in web browser that consumes less of your Mac’s battery power compared to popular options such as Chrome and Firefox. As the above tips and fixes show, sometimes it can run into issues, but thankfully, there are many ways to solve your Safari download problems.

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Safari Downloads Window Does not Show Downloading Files

  • Thread starter DougJrS
  • Start date Nov 7, 2009
  • Sort by reaction score

macrumors regular

  • Nov 7, 2009

Good Evening All, I started having an issue with Safari this afternoon with the Downloads windows not showing the files that are downloading. The Downloads window will show the number of files downloading at the bottom of the screen, but the window is completely empty of files. The files do download, but I would like to be able to see the status of the downloads. Any ideas on how to get the downloads to display again? I have tried resetting Safari and rebooting, but no luck so far. Thanks, Doug  

slffl

macrumors 65816

  • Nov 9, 2009

Same thing is happening here. Reboot didn't help.  

Gregg2

macrumors 604

  • Nov 10, 2009

Snow Leopard? 10.6.2 is out  

wrldwzrd89

macrumors G5

Do you have any Safari plugins installed? For instance, having Speed Download, or another download manager, installed is a common cause of this behavior.  

macrumors newbie

  • Dec 18, 2009

Safari download solution Hi Doug, I had exactly the same trouble, and was able to fix it by deleting my <home>/Library/Safari/Downloads.plist file. That removed all the files I already had in there, but when I put them back they were all visible (yay!). I hope this helps! Brett. (Safari 4.0.4, Snow Leopard 10.6.2)  

pit29

macrumors 6502a

  • Jan 19, 2010
Moldiver said: Hi Doug, I had exactly the same trouble, and was able to fix it by deleting my <home>/Library/Safari/Downloads.plist file. That removed all the files I already had in there, but when I put them back they were all visible (yay!). I hope this helps! Brett. (Safari 4.0.4, Snow Leopard 10.6.2) Click to expand...

You could try logging in under a different User Account to see if the problem also exists there.  

  • Apr 30, 2010

Downloads Not Showing Up In Safari I've had this happen before also. Here is what I did. Download an Application Uninstaller/Remover called Appzapper. Save your Topsites links and export your Bookmarks, both into a separate folder on your desktop. Call it Safari Stuff or whatever. Redownload new version of Safari. Close old version of Safari. Uninstall/Remove present version of Safari with AppZapper. Reinstall new version of Safari. Then import your saved bookmarks from the Safari Stuff folder, where you saved them, and then remake your Topsites page with the Topsites links that you also saved into the Safari Stuff folder. Or you could just try downloading and reinstalling Safari and see if everything works after that. Using AppZapper is to ensure that you get rid of every corrupted Safari file from the previous version, before you do a new Safari install. Everything worked fine for me after deleting and reinstalling Safari.  

spinnerlys

zann said: I've had this happen before also. Here is what I did. Download an Application Uninstaller/Remover called Appzapper. Save your Topsites links and export your Bookmarks, both into a separate folder on your desktop. Call it Safari Stuff or whatever. Redownload new version of Safari. Close old version of Safari. Uninstall/Remove present version of Safari with AppZapper. Reinstall new version of Safari. Then import your saved bookmarks from the Safari Stuff folder, where you saved them, and then remake your Topsites page with the Topsites links that you also saved into the Safari Stuff folder. Or you could just try downloading and reinstalling Safari and see if everything works after that. Using AppZapper is to ensure that you get rid of every corrupted Safari file from the previous version, before you do a new Safari install. Everything worked fine for me after deleting and reinstalling Safari. Click to expand...
  • May 22, 2010

Hi Peeps, I had the same problem a couple of days back, i realised there's still no solution here. Well I came upon the solution by mistake while backing up all my stuff for a re-install of the OS. I removed EVERYTHING that were in the download folder and just downloaded something and it seems to be working fine. It worked for me, I hope it works for you guys. Take care people. Mem  

Barroness03

  • Jan 11, 2011

:apple:

safari not showing downloads

I am getting license validation errors with Copilot

Follow these steps if you're using Copilot and you receive an error that says:

We encountered a problem validating your Copilot  license. For more information, see https://aka.ms/copilotlicensecheck

Ensure you're using the correct account

Make sure you're signed into your Microsoft 365 apps with an account that has a Copilot license.

For home users ...this means you should have a Microsoft 365 Personal or Family subscription, and Copilot Pro.

For business users ...this means you should have a Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Business Premium, E3, or E5 subscription, and Microsoft Copilot for Microsoft 365.

Make sure that the current file is saved in that account

If you have multiple file locations available to you - such as your business OneDrive and your personal OneDrive - Copilot will only appear if the file you have open is saved to the location associated to your Copilot subscription.

For example, if you have Copilot through your work account, but not through your personal account, and you open a file from your personal OneDrive, Copilot won't work with that file.

For new, unsaved files, or files on your local hard drive, the current primary account shown at the top of the Microsoft 365 window must be licensed for Copilot.

A picture with a red arrow pointing to the current primary user name which is on the app title bar towards the top right of the window.

Important:  Copilot in Excel requires AutoSave to be turned on, which means the file has to be saved to OneDrive. It currently doesn't work with unsaved files.

For the web apps - Enable third-party cookies

Due to technical limitations we're working to address, validating your Copilot license requires your web browser to support third-party cookies. These are often blocked by default in Incognito/InPrivate mode, or in some browsers such as Safari. If you choose to enable third-party cookies, here's how you can do that. 

In Microsoft Edge

Select Settings and More > Settings > Cookies and site permissions > Manage and delete cookies and site data .

Ensure Block third-party cookies is set to Off .

The "Block third-party cookies" setting in Microsoft Edge

In Google Chrome

Select Customize and control Google Chrome > Settings > Privacy and security .

Ensure Allow third-party cookies is selected.

In Mozilla Firefox

Select Open Application Menu (the "hamburger" menu) > Settings > Privacy & Security .

Under Enhanced Tracking Protection , select Custom .

Ensure Cookies is unchecked.

In Safari (on MacOS)

Select Safari > Settings... .

Select the Privacy tab. Under Website tracking , ensure Prevent cross-site tracking is unchecked.

Select the Advanced tab. Under Privacy , ensure Allow-privacy-preserving measurement of ad effectiveness and  Block all cookies are unchecked.

If you still have issues

Tip:  If the error message is gone but you're still not seeing Copilot in your apps see  I don't see Copilot in my apps.

If you have checked all of these and you are still receiving the error message, contact Support  for assistance.

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Safari not prompting for download location

Safari automatically downloads to "Downloads" folder even though I've selected "ask for each download" in the Safari preferences.

I have to open the "Downloads" folder and manually move those files to other locations. I can't seem to find a fix for this.

Posted on Oct 13, 2021 12:36 PM

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Nov 19, 2021 7:14 AM in response to Miche11e_P

I have this same problem and I just tried the creating Guest account and changing preference. It doesn't work, Safari still downloads to Download folder. And when I switched back to my main account, Mac froze, had to force shutdown. So is this a Safari problem or something else? How to fix?

Miche11e_P

Oct 14, 2021 12:11 PM in response to StrangeBrewInTheNorth

Hi StrangeBrewInTheNorth,

Thanks for contacting the Apple Support Communities!

We understand that when you download items using Safari, it defaults to the download folder rather than asking where you'd like to save the download as you've chosen.

To help isolate this behavior further, do you experience the same behavior if you create a new user account and change your Safari Preferences to ask you where you'd like to download your files?

To create a new user account, you can go to the Apple menu  > System Preferences, then click Users & Groups.

Click the lock icon, then enter an administrator name and password.

Click the add button (+) below the list of users.

Complete the fields shown for an Administrator account, then click Create Account (or OK).

Once you’ve created the new account, go to the Apple menu  > Log Out, then log in with the new account and test Safari after adjusting your preferences.

Let us know how it goes.

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  24. Safari not prompting for download location

    safari does not download files properly. download manager indicates that file is downloaded. However, download folder shows file with file extension ".download" which cannot be opened I am trying to download certain files on Safari. Download seems without any glitch. Download manager in Safari indicates that file is downloaded.