How to Block Pop-ups in Safari Browser on Mac?

In our earlier article, we have explained how to enable or disable push notifications in Safari browser on Mac. In addition to push notifications, many website owners show the pop-up notifications. Fortunately, Safari also allows you block pop-ups windows and in this article we will explain how to do that.

Types of Pop-ups

Pop-ups are the easy way for website owners to send fixed static notification that appears on the new window. There are different types of pop-ups used for good and bad purposes:

  • Single pop-up opens in a new window on page loading.
  • Multiple pop-ups open multiple windows on page loading.
  • Pop-up triggered with a click on link.
  • Mouse over pop-ups triggered on mouse hover without your knowledge.
  • Timed based pop-ups triggered after certain time on the page.

Why Pop-ups are Annoying?

Unlike push notifications, pop-ups are generally annoying due to the following reasons:

  • Pop-ups are shown without any permission for request.
  • It opens in a new window and change the focus to that window.
  • Some pop-ups open automatically without your permission.
  • Pop-up advertisements or irrelevant content may distract your focus.
  • Multiple pop-ups can hang or slow down your browser and computer.
  • Pop-up with not safe for work content may appear as a surprise.

Though some website owners show useful content in a pop-up, most of the time they show irrelevant advertisements. At any case, you can block pop-ups and choose to open if needed. Alternatively, you can also provide exception so that Safari will allow pop-ups only from the listed websites.

Related: How to fix slow Safari in Mac?

How to Manage Pop-ups in Safari Browser?

You can block or allow pop-ups from websites under the “Websites” tab of Safari preferences.

  • When you are in Safari browser, go to “Safari > Preferences…” menu. Alternatively, press “Command + ,” shortcut keys to open preferences window.
  • Click on “Websites” tab and navigate to “Pop-up Windows” section.
  • Here you can view and manage how you want to handle pop-ups in Safari browser.
Manage Pop-up in Safari
Manage Pop-up in Safari

Unlike “Notifications” section, Safari will automatically show all the open tabs along with the already configured websites when you go to “Pop-up Windows” section. You have the following three options to manage pop-up notifications from the particular website:

  • Block and Notify – block the pop-ups and notify you that Safari blocked pop-up notifications from that website.
  • Block – simply block without notifying you.
  • Allow – allow notifications and follow the website’s behavior.

You can block or allow notifications for each site from the dropdown against it. In our opinion, you can choose “Block” option to completely disable the notifications if the website annoys you.

Permanently Blocking Pop-ups on All Websites

As pop-ups are shown without your permission, Safari allows you to block them completely for all websites. Follow the below instructions to block pop-ups on all websites:

  • Go to the “Pop-up Windows” section in Safari preferences.
  • Click on the dropdown against “When visiting other websites” option at the bottom.
  • You will see three options – Block and Notify, Block and Allow.
  • Choose “Block” or “Block and Notify” option to permanently block pop-ups from any websites other than those listed websites you have maintained specific preference.

Block Pop-ups from Address Bar

Apple calls the Safari address bar as Smart Search field. You can also manage the pop-up notification settings the site directly from this Smart Search field.

  • Right click on the Smart Search and choose “Settings for This Website…” option. Alternatively, go to “Safari > Settings for This Website…” menu.
Website Settings in Safari
Website Settings in Safari
  • You will see multiple options for that website depending upon your preferences settings.
  • Click on the dropdown against the “Pop-up Windows” option and choose to allow or block pop-ups from that site.
Block Pop-ups from Safari Address Bar
Block Pop-ups from Safari Address Bar

Safari will save your selection automatically under the “Pop-up Windows” preferences section.

Related: 10 Mac Safari tips for developers.

Testing the Pop-up Block

When pop-ups are blocked, Safari will NOT show any notifications to you. However, when you choose “Block and Notify” option, Safari will show a small icon in the address bar. You can also see a brief message in the address bar showing “Pop-up Window Blocked”.

Pop-up Window Blocked in Mac
Pop-up Window Blocked in Mac

Hover over the pop-up icon in the address bar to see a message showing “Show blocked pop-up windows”. You can click on the icon to show blocked pop-up windows.

Test Pop-up Block in Safari
Test Pop-up Block in Safari

Limitations of Blocking Pop-ups in Safari

Safari has many limitations in effectively blocking the pop-ups:

  • The preferences sections has an option to block pop-ups only for the currently open tabs. Unfortunately, you can’t add a new website without visiting it.
  • You can’t block subdomains using wildcard. You need to add each website after visiting and get annoyed.
  • Safari will not block redirects when the website tries to show pop-ups using redirect.

If you want to effectively block pop-ups, all the above options are is available in Chrome. You may need to switch to Chrome to make use of these features. Remember, browsers can block the pop-ups that open in a new window or tab. Unfortunately, no browsers including Chrome can block pop-ups that appear within the same webpage as full screen, sticky, floating or a modal window. You have no other option to manually close these pop-ups every time.  

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