Disable the 'Open Safe Files After Downloading' Feature in Safari

Here's how to disable this feature if you don't want it

safari safe file download
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The Safari browser contains a feature, enabled by default, which causes all files considered "safe" to be automatically opened once they have finished downloading.

Although it can be convenient while enabled, this can be a very 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.

How to Disable Safari's "Open Safe Files" Setting

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

macOS

  1. Open Safari and click the Safari menu item at the top of the screen.
  2. Choose Preferences... from the drown down menu and make sure you're on the General tab when the new window opens.
  3. Locate the Open "safe" files after downloading option at the very bottom of the General tab.
  4. If the box has a check in it, it means that the feature is enabled, meaning that the "safe" files above will 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.

Windows

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

Note, however, that unlike the setting we mentioned above for 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. To reiterate, a check means that Safari will always ask you to download the file when you request a new download, no check means that Safari will automatically download most "safe" files without asking you again.

Note: If you have this option disabled (i.e. the check mark is not there), Safari will save files to the folder you specify in the "Save downloaded files to:" option also located on this screen.