Disable Safari's 'Open Safe Files After Downloading' Feature

Protect your privacy by turning off this option

safari safe file download

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The Safari browser contains a default feature that causes all files considered "safe" to open automatically when they finish downloading.

Although it can be convenient while enabled, this can be a dangerous feature when it comes to your security. Many users prefer to manually open downloaded files, giving them the ability to screen them accordingly.

Safari considers the following file types to be part of this category.

Disable Safari's 'Open Safe Files' Setting

This setting can be easily disabled on your computer through Safari's preferences:

On Mac OS X and macOS Computers

  1. Open Safari on your Mac and click the Safari menu item at the top of the screen.

  2. Choose Preferences... from the drop-down menu and make sure you're on the General tab when the new window opens. If not, click the General tab.

  3. Locate the Open "safe" files after downloading option at the bottom of the General tab window.

  4. If the box has a check in it, the feature is enabled, meaning that the "safe" files open automatically. Click the box once to remove the check and disable the feature.

  5. Return to Safari by clicking the red circle at the top left corner of the preferences window.

On Windows Computers

Apple discontinued Safari for Windows in 2012. Windows 10 does not support any version of Safari for Windows, but Window 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and Windows XP SP2 and SP3 support the final 2012 version. Even if you are running the last version of Safari for Windows, you won't find an option to open safe files after downloading.

The closest setting that's available in the Windows version of Safari is the "always prompt before downloading" option. When disabled, Safari downloads most file types without you having to explicitly allow it.

Note, however, that unlike the setting in macOS Safari, this Windows option does not let the file open automatically. It's merely used to download files quicker.

You can disable this option if you like:

  1. Go to the Edit > Preferences... menu item.

  2. Open the General tab if it isn't selected already.

  3. Toward the bottom of that screen, make sure there's a check in the box next to Always prompt before downloading. A check means that Safari always asks you whether to download a file when you request a new download. No check means that Safari automatically downloads most safe files without asking you. There is no mention of opening the files.

If you have this option disabled—the check mark is not there—Safari saves files to the folder you specify in the Save downloaded files to: option also located on this screen.