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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It can usually be convenient to have a file open as soon as you download it. But it can also put your security at risk or annoy you if you don't need the item right away. If you want to stop your Mac from opening downloads automatically, you 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 Apple no longer supports the Windows version.

How to Stop Mac From Opening All Downloads

The Safari browser contains a default feature that causes all files it considers "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.

  2. Click the Safari menu and select Preferences.

    You can also open the preferences by pressing Command/Ctrl-comma (,) on your keyboard.

    Safari on a Mac with the Preferences menu item highlighted
  3. Click the General tab.

    Safari preferences on a Mac with the General tab highlighted
  4. Clear the Open "safe" files after downloading checkbox.

    Safari General settings with the
  5. Close the window to save your setting.

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, Vista, and Windows XP SP2 and SP3 support the last version, which was 5.1.7.

Unlike the setting in macOS Safari, the Windows option does not open the file automatically. But you can adjust a similar setting to have Windows ask you before it downloads a file. This option gives you an extra step to consider if you actually want a file on your computer.

  1. Click on the Gear icon.

  2. Go to the General tab.

    Settings for Safari in Windows with the General tab highlighted
  3. Clear the Always prompt before downloading checkbox.

    There is no way to configure Safari for Windows to automatically open downloaded files.

    General settings for Safari in Windows with the Always prompt before downloading box highlighted
  4. Checking this box means that Safari will ask if you want to download a file. No check means that Safari automatically downloads safe files to the folder you specify in the Save downloaded files to field on this same screen.