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Reverting to Safari 3 from Safari 4 on Mac OS X 10.5

Did you make the same mistake I did, and update to Safari 4 when it was offered as a Software Update, then found some things didn't work any more, or you just plain don't like Safari 4? If so, here's how to revert back to Safari 3.2.3 on Mac OS X Leopard.

  1. Remove your existing Safari installation. Drag /Applications/ to the Trash, and rename the ~/Library/Safari folder (where ~ is your home folder, e.g. /Users/your-username) to something else (you're essentially making a backup here). It is important that you empty the Trash after doing this, as I found my 'new' Safari copied itself to my Trash folder.
  2. Rename ~/Library/Preferences/ and ~/Library/Preferences/ (if you have it - I didn't, but then I wasn't subscribed to any feeds) to something else (backups again - these files contain your bookmarks and RSS feeds so if you don't want to lose them, don't skip this step)
  3. Edit /System/Library/Frameworks/WebKit.framework/Resources/Info.plist and replace all instances of the number 5530 with 5525. Please note: you may need to modify the file's permissions in order to be able to edit it. This can be done by right-clicking it, selecting Get Info, and modifying the permissions at the bottom - you need to give your username read and write access.
  4. Download Safari 3.2.3 and install it (you will be asked to reboot afterwards)
  5. Hey presto, you have Safari 3 again! Replace the files from step 2 (you may need to remove the new files created by Safari 3). Some people have said this doesn't seem to work for them, and if it doesn't for you or screws up your Safari, you might need to open the files and add your bookmarks back in manually... It seems there might be an inconsistency in the XML but I haven't looked into it in too much detail.

There you go, just thought I would share :P

Instructions for Tiger (Mac OS X 10.4)

Edit: I have been asked for instructions for Mac OS X 10.4 (Tiger) - unfortunately, I don't have access to that version, but I'm told the instructions do work, except that the following modifications are to be made:

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Comments (12)

  1. Could you please explain what sort of things don't work anymore with Safari 4?

    Rilla's Gravatar Rilla on

  2. I have a couple of things I use at work (custom stuff) that don't work in it :( It has a different JavaScript engine so some JS/AJAX-heavy sites don't work with it...

    Amelie's Gravatar Amelie on

  3. Hi Does this work on Tiger 10.4.11 as well?

    Craig Scott's Gravatar Craig Scott on

  4. I've not tried it on Tiger, but as far as I know the instructions should be the same up until the downloading of Safari 3 - you'll need this one:

    Can't make any promises though as I don't have a version of Tiger to check with... If it works for you, do let me know and I'll update the instructions.

    Amelie's Gravatar Amelie on

  5. Nag nag nagangnagnagnangagag! :D

    Melissa's Gravatar Melissa on

  6. On Intel mac with 10.4.11
    No reference in /System/Library/Frameworks/WebKit.framework/Resources/Info.plist to "5530", only 4530. E.g.:

    CFBundleVersion 4530.17


    Larry's Gravatar Larry on

  7. Ah it will be 4525 you need to change it to, then. It affixes the OS point number to the start, so in Leopard it's 5530 (from 10.5) and Tiger it's obviously 4530 (from 10.4).

    Like I said above, you'll need the Tiger installation for Leopard but otherwise it *should* work ok (but backup just in case). Let me know if it does and I'll update the instructions for Tiger users :)

    Amelie's Gravatar Amelie on

  8. Awesome, thanks! I have an in-house app that is tickling bugs in Safari 4, in particular an issue where JavaScript won't enable textarea input fields that were disabled in html, or by an onload script. (I did file a bug report.)

    I want to roll out Safari 4 to the rest of the staff, but I need to be able to rollback if I hit things that my current testing misses.

    Thanks again!

    Woody's Gravatar Woody on

  9. Quickbooks Online Edition does not work on Safari 4.0

    Allgoner's Gravatar Allgoner on

  10. The OSX 4.2.11 reversion worked perfectly. Thanks for the exquisitely clear instructions.

    My complaints with v4 are:
    Loss of 'view frame source' on a right click
    Totally dumb & irritating relocation of refresh and stop buttons.
    Hiccupy bugginess.
    The move toward greater graphic flashiness is irritating and in the way of working with it as a decent app.

    Jon's Gravatar Jon on

  11. I was able to follow the instructions and revert back to Safari 3 on my Mac OS X 10.4.11, which was such a relief for me - thanks you so much for the instructions!!

    I noticed, though, that links that I've previously clicked on remain purple, even if I delete them from my history. The purple links return to blue if I close the browser, which makes me think that they're being stored somewhere temporarily, for some reason. Do you know what might cause this? It never happened before, and for such a small thing, it's really bothering me. I'm not sure what I did incorrectly, and I'm really afraid I've messed something up, like maybe this is the harbinger of something really bad...

    Emily's Gravatar Emily on

  12. Using the suggestions here, I've successfully removed Safari 4 from a G4 iBook running Tiger and got it back to Safari 3.23 (where it belonged).

    Editing the WebKit.framework info.plist file was a bit easier said than done. The file wasn't exactly in the location described . . . but it was close by. And then, of course, I didn't have the necessary permissions to go in and overwrite the file . . . so I had to go in and change the permissions. So for someone who really had no clue how to do those things, it might require a bit more explanation. But, when all was said and done, it was pretty darned easy - and 3.23 is now up and running!

    I'd also like to mention my reason for doing this . . . This was my son's computer, which had some pretty strict parental controls on it. Well, it went into the shop for service, and when it came back, it had been upgraded to Safari 4 - and the parental controls on Safari had been completely wiped out! Oh, they still appeared to be there, but if my son wanted to do something he normally wouldn't be allowed to do (erase his browser history, for example), all he had to do was try it, wait for the little "admin-password" window to pop up - and then click the "cancel" box in the window. No password required - it then let him go ahead and do anything he wanted! So much for parental controls.

    Anyway, now everything is working again - and my son gets his computer back. Many thanks!!!

    Judith Klinghoffer's Gravatar Judith Klinghoffer on

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