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Downgrade from Safari 6 to Safari 5.1.7 (Lion)


Disclaimer (5/28/2013): Your mileage may vary using this procedure. At the time, I was downgrading from a beta version of Safari 6, and I was using OS X 10.7.3. At this point (May 2013) I have switched to Safari 6, as the Web Inspector has been improved tremendously.

If you are currently running Mountain Lion, or have installed a more recent version of Safari 6 (released anytime after Oct 2012) then you may encounter serious problems when attempting to follow these instructions.

So, I decided to downgrade back to Safari 5.1.7, because I prefer the old Web Inspector over that of Safari 6.

More importantly, though, it doesn't work AT ALL for debugging UIWebViews in Simulator. Apple has crowed much about Safari 6's Web Inspector, and how it will help developers debug more effectively – but in reality, it doesn't work at all (yet).

So, with no further ado, here's how to relieve yourself of Safari 6 and get your old software back.

  • Get Pacifist.

  • Download Safari 5.1.7 for Lion.

  • Quit Safari if running.

  • Install Safari 5.1.7 using Pacifist. Select "Open Package", choose the 5.1.7 dmg from step 2. Click on the "Contents of Safari5.1.7LionManual.pkg", then click "Install" on the toolbar. Choose "Yes" or "Replace" when asked, and wait for it to finish.

  • Disable the frameworks that were installed by Safari 6 (by renaming them). You will be prompted for your administrator password.

    $ cd /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks $ sudo mv SafariServices.framework SafariServices.framework.disabled

  • Disable additional Safari 6 frameworks (optional, but recommended):

    $ cd /System/Library/StagedFrameworks/Safari
    $ sudo mv SafariServices.framework SafariServices.framework.disabled
    $ sudo mv WebInspector.framework WebInspector.framework.disabled
  • Launch Safari.

If it doesn't work, you can re-install Safari 6 from Software Update.

This tip has been adapted and simplified from this StackExchange thread


  • D0f69493ef8392b71483200c1b9c2198

    Thanks a lot - worked just fine!

  • 45d89c9e9975d229c1d43400d14eaa49

    Can you provide some more detail?

    "Didn't work" = Safari tries to start, and then crashes? Or it fails to start at all?

    Are you using 10.7 or Mountain Lion? These instructions are Lion-specific, so if you're using ML then there's little information I can provide to you.

    And are you sure that you completed all the steps above? OSX might still be seeing some of the Safari 6 frameworks, and assuming that it's installed correctly (therefore not providing it in the Software Update).

    If all else fails, just restore the frameworks to their original names (I'm presuming you --backed them up-- instead of deleting them entirely). Unfortunately, Apple hasn't provided a standalone .PKG for Safari 6. The only way (that I'm aware of) to install it is via Software Update (or by reinstalling Mountain Lion).

  • User-avatar

    Hi! I am not able to upgrade Safari 6 from 5.1.7 in Lion(10.7.5). I downgraded safari from 6.0.2 to 5.1.7 and now when i am upgrading it, it shows that you should upgrade OSX to 10.8.0.

    I don't want to upgrade OS.

    Plzzz help me out..

  • 45d89c9e9975d229c1d43400d14eaa49

    Can you be more specific with the "OS upgrade" message that you're seeing?

    Since writing this ProTip, I've upgraded to Safari 6 once again with no problems. I am still using Lion. I never got a message about upgrading to 10.8

    If Software Update doesn't work for installing Safari, then try renaming the frameworks to their original names, as described in my previous comment

    Good luck!

  • E394522ac0b1eab744841546d958c6aa

    So this failed for me. Has rendered my Safari dead, just crashes on open. Can't see any way to upgrade it in Software Update. Just beware...

  • 45d89c9e9975d229c1d43400d14eaa49

    Sorry to hear. I wrote this post while using 10.7.3, and was downgrading from an older (mid-2012) release of Safari 6. If your system specs are different, then these instructions may cause issues. Hopefully you can reverse the steps above (re-enable the Safari frameworks, and use Pacifist to uninstall Safari 5). If that doesn't work, then I'm not sure what I can suggest

  • User-avatar

    Is there any chance you can tell me how to do this on Mountain Lion? A site my client requires won't work on Safari 6.

  • 45d89c9e9975d229c1d43400d14eaa49

    In your case, it's probably much easier to just use a different browser (Chrome or Firefox)

  • Chris_normal

    Hi I've just upgraded from 10.7.2 to 10.7.5 and safari is 5.1.7 and it crashes upon launch. Please advice on how i should solve this issue. Thanks.

  • 45d89c9e9975d229c1d43400d14eaa49

    Have you ever installed Safari 6? Did you install Safari 5.1.7 via the instructions here, or have you merely avoided updating Safari for the past couple of years?

    At any rate, Safari has improved their Web Inspector in recent versions – so my original reasons for downgrading no longer apply. I'd recommend just updating to Safari 6.

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