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

Protect your privacy by turning off this option

Downloading icon and status bar

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If you want to stop your Mac from opening downloads automatically, you just need to adjust the default browser settings.

Instructions in this article apply to Safari for Mac and Safari 5.1.7 for Windows. Safari is no longer available for Windows PCs and the Windows version is no longer supported by Apple.

How to Stop Mac From Opening All Downloads

The Safari browser contains a default feature that causes all files considered safe to open automatically when the download is finished. Although it is convenient while enabled, this feature is dangerous when it comes to your online security. Safari considers the following file types to be safe files:

It's safer to manually open downloaded files and scan them with antivirus software, but you must first disable the Open Safe Files setting in Safari.

Disable Safari's 'Open Safe Files' Setting on MacOS

To disable the Open Safe Files setting on a Mac through Safari's preferences on a MacOS computer:

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

  2. Choose Preferences and go to the General tab.

  3. Clear the Open "safe" files after downloading checkbox.

    Screenshot of the General Menu on a Mac OS
  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.

Disable Safari's 'Open Safe Files' Setting on Windows

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 last version, which was 5.1.7.

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.

Unlike the setting in macOS Safari, the Windows option does not open the file automatically. It merely downloads files faster.

To disable this option:

  1. Click on the Gear icon.

  2. Go to the General tab.

    Screenshot of Safari General Settings in Windows
  3. Clear the Always prompt before downloading check box. A check means that Safari asks if you want to download a file. No check means that Safari automatically downloads safe files. There is no way to configure Safari for Windows to automatically open downloaded files.

If you leave the box unchecked, Safari saves files to the folder you specify in the Save downloaded files to field on this same screen.