How to Fix Safari Downloads Not Working on Mac

Having problems with downloads in Safari for your Mac? In this guide, we will provide solutions for resolving Safari download issues such as lost, stuck, or missing downloads.

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safari browser cover

What if you encountered a situation where Safari on your Mac didn’t allow you to download files such as photos, videos, documents, and more? In such cases, the Finder feature can help you efficiently manage and organize your files.

We understand that there may be instances where you encounter difficulties downloading essential files from the internet when using Safari on a macOS. In order to assist you in resolving this issue, we have compiled a set of solutions to address the problem of Safari’s inability to download files on your macOS.

Check Your Internet Connection

Before anything else, it is important to ensure the reliability of your internet connection. If you are in the process of downloading large files, it is advisable to connect to a high-speed Wi-Fi network in order to save time. If you have a Dual-Band Wi-Fi router available, we recommend connecting to the 5GHz frequency band and positioning yourself closer to the router. If you are utilizing an iPhone Hotspot, you can find remedies to resolve the issue of an iPhone Hotspot not functioning properly on your Mac.

Check Internal Storage of Your Mac

The next step involves verifying if your Mac has an adequate amount of free space on its internal storage. In the event that you need to download several files through Safari, it is crucial to ensure that there is sufficient storage capacity. Follow these steps to determine the availability of storage space.

  1. To open Spotlight Search, simply press Command + Spacebar. Then, type “Storage” and hit the Enter key on your keyboard.
macos storage

A comprehensive overview will be provided, showcasing the distribution of file types that consume the largest portion of your Mac’s internal storage.

  1. To free up storage space, select the ‘i’ icon located adjacent to the file category.
macos storage
  1. Identify the file that consumes the most storage capacity and is no longer necessary.
macos storage delete
  1. Click on Delete in the bottom-right corner.

Follow the identical procedure to free up space on your Mac. Afterward, shut down the window and launch Safari to verify if the issue has been resolved.

Check Privacy and Security Settings

In case you’re experiencing problems with downloading files using Safari, there is a feature that allows you to control and limit downloads from a specific website. To resolve this issue, you can follow these instructions to access and examine the Privacy and Security settings in Safari.

  1. Launch the Safari. Click in the top-left corner and select Settings.
safari browser settings
  1. To reach the Websites section, navigate to the top of the Settings window and click on the “Websites” tab.
safari macos websites settings
  1. Scroll down and click on Downloads from the left menu.
safari downloads menu
  1. Please scroll down the right-hand side and locate the website where the files are not being downloaded. Find the drop-down menu beside the name of the website and choose the option “Allow.”
safari download websites allow

Make sure to close the window and check if the problem has been resolved.

Check Default Downloads Folder

You also have the option to verify the default Downloads folder for Safari on your Mac. It is plausible that downloads have already been permitted from the website and that the files have been successfully downloaded. However, locating the exact location of that folder poses a challenge.

  1. To open Spotlight Search, simply press Command + Space. Next, type “Safari” on your keyboard and run the program.
  2. Then click on the top left corner and select Settings.
safari settings macos
  1. Under the General tab, check the File Download Location.
safari default download folder

To modify the download location, simply click on the dropdown menu and choose the desired folder where you want the downloaded files to be saved.

To determine whether the ‘Open Safe Files After Downloading‘ option is enabled, you should verify its status. If you had disabled this feature previously, you might mistakenly assume that the files are not being downloaded.

  1. Please close the browser window and verify if the issue has been resolved.

Change DNS Servers

If you’re still facing difficulties in downloading files through Safari, you can attempt to resolve the issue by modifying the DNS servers on your Mac. By doing so, you may improve your internet speeds and minimize the occurrence of unpredictable connection errors. To proceed with this solution, follow the instructions provided.

  1. To begin, simply press the Command + Spacebar shortcut on your keyboard to open the Spotlight Search feature. Then, type “System Settings” into the search bar and press the Enter key on your keyboard. This will launch the System Settings application.
  2.  Click on Network from the left menu.
apple network jpg
  1. Click on Wi-Fi.
apple network dns settings
  1. Select the “Details” option located beside the name of your connected Wi-Fi network.
apple wifi settings
  1. Click on DNS in the left menu of the Details window.
wifi dns settings dns
  1. Click on the Plus icon under DNS Servers.
macos wifi dns google dns
  1. Create a fresh DNS record using freely available public DNS service providers such as Google, Cloudflare.

Close the Network window, open Safari and check if the problem is solved.

Allow Downloads Outside the App Store

As a component of the Security and Privacy functionalities, you have the option to limit the downloading of applications that are not accessible on the App Store. However, if you encounter an issue where Safari is unable to download files on your Mac, you can deactivate this feature to see if it resolves the problem.

  1. To open Spotlight Search, simply press Command + Spacebar. Then, type “Storage” and hit the Enter key on your keyboard.
  2. Select Privacy and Security from the left menu.
macos privacy security jpg
  1. Please scroll down and choose “App Store and Identified Developers” from the Security options.
macos safari app store security
  1. Close the window, open Safari and try downoading your file again.

Clear Safari Cache

You might want to consider clearing the cache in Safari as well. The presence of an outdated browser cache could potentially be causing this problem. Here are the steps to follow in order to clear the cache.

  1. Launch the Safari. Click in the top-left corner and select Settings.
safari settings macos
  1. Click on Advanced at the top-right corner.
  2. Enable the option for ‘Show features for web the developers.’
  3. Close the window, then access the top Menu Bar and click on the “Develop” option.
macos safari dev menu jpg
  1. Click on Empty Caches.
macos safari cache clear

Following that, assess whether the problem has been rectified.

Disable Safari Extentions

Extensions have the ability to enhance the functionality of Safari on your Mac by providing additional features. However, it is important to note that certain faulty extensions can lead to problems such as limitations on file downloads. To address this issue, we will guide you on how to inspect and uninstall problematic extensions from Safari.

  1. Launch the Safari. Click in the top-left corner and select Settings. Click on Safari at the top-left corner. Select Settings.
safari settings jpg
  1. Navigate to the Settings window and click on the Extensions tab. From the left-side menu, pick the desired extension. Finally, select the Uninstall button.
macos safari extensions uninstall

Make sure to close the window and see if the issue is resolved by removing the extension.


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