How to Allow Pop-Ups on a Mac

Turn off pop-up blocker on Safari

Image of computer with anti-Popups image.


Have you ever visited a website on your Mac only to find the site needed to use a pop-up to function? For instance, this can happen when you’re shopping online and decide to pay with Paypal. The site will require the opening of a pop-up window in order to log into your Paypal account. If Safari has pop-ups blocked, you won’t be able to pay for the product you’re hoping to purchase.

How do you get around that?

You allow pop-ups.

What Is a Pop-Up?

The first thing to understand is the pop-up itself. What exactly is a pop-up? Simple: A pop-up is a browser window (sans toolbars and other controls) that opens at the direction of the current site you are visiting. Sometimes these pop-ups come in the form of login windows while other times they are advertisements. 

A Word Of Warning

Some pop-ups that contain malicious code. That malicious code could be an attempt to get you to click something you shouldn’t, or to install code onto your system … which is why so many browsers disable them by default.

Because of this, it’s always best to not just open the floodgates such that all sites are allowed to open pop-ups. Without any constraints on what sites are able to open pop-ups, it's only a matter of time before you wind up on the wrong end of the wrong code. To that end, we’ll show you how to do this on a site-by-site basis. That way you know the site you are allowing to open won’t hit you with malicious code via pop-ups.

Default Policy

Remember, the default policy for pop-ups on Safari is to block and notify. That means it will block all pop-ups and notify you (indiscreetly) that the site attempted to launch a pop-up. To check the default policy, do the following:

  1. Open Safari.

  2. Click Safari > Preferences.

  3. Click Websites and then click Pop-up Windows.

    Screenshot of the Pop-up Windows configuration screen.
  4. At the bottom right corner, the drop-down should have Block and Notify selected.

    Screenshot of the Block and Notify option.

If you find that your default policy isn’t set to Block and Notify, click the When visiting other websites drop-down and select it from the list.

Allowing Pop-Ups

As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t allow pop-ups as a default policy. If you want to take that risk (again, you shouldn’t), you could set the default policy as Allow (from the When visiting other websites drop-down).

Instead, however, you should allow pop-ups on a site-by-site basis. How do you do that? Safari makes this pretty easy. When you visit a site and an expected pop-up doesn’t appear, two-finger tap (or right-click) the Safari address bar and click Settings for This Website.

Screenshot of the Settings for This Website option in the addressbar drop-down.

In the resulting pop-up, hover your cursor over the Pop-up Windows option and click the drop-down. Select Allow and that site will then be able to function properly. Click anywhere to dismiss the settings pop-up. Go back to the site (or hit the browser Refresh button) and the expected pop-up should appear.

Screenshot of the Pop-up Windows dropdown.

You can also verify that the site is, in fact, allowed to create pop-ups by going back to the Websites section of the Safari Preferences window and check the listing. Whatever site you configured for Allow should be listed as such.

Screenshot of the Allow option selected for a specific website.

Congratulations, you’ve just allowed a pop-up window for a specific site. Just remember, allowing pop-ups as a default policy is not your best option. If you want to browse safely, allow pop-ups only from sites you trust.

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