How to disable 'open safe files after downloading' in Safari for Mac

Download now, open later

Got an Apple, Mac or iOS tech question? We have the answer. When you use Safari to download files - music, movies, images - it's usually a simple matter to decide if they'll open automatically once they're on your computer. But this time we have a reader who's having trouble getting that function to work. Luckily, we have a Plan B.

Question

I am using Safari 8.0 on an iMac running Yosemite 10.10.1 and the "Open 'safe' files after downloading" is greyed out so that I cannot uncheck it. I spoke with Apple tech support and they did not have an answer for me. How can I uncheck this?

Answer

This is a very strange problem! Normally, all you have to do is select Preferences from the Safari menu, then uncheck the box at the bottom of the General tab. It's quite unusual that this option is disabled. You could try reinstalling OS X Yosemite, but there's a Terminal command that should allow you to disable this functionality.

Disable Open Safe Files

Normally, all you have to do is click the box at the bottom to enable or disable automatically opening downloads. But if you can't...

To execute the workaround, open the Terminal app (located in /Applications/Utilities) and type in the following command to disable Safari's "open 'safe' files" option:

defaults write com.apple.Safari AutoOpenSafeDownloads -boolean NO

Disable Open Safe Files

Where there's a will, there's a...Terminal command? Yes, you can change this preference manually using the Terminal.

When you press Return on the keyboard, the command will write the new preference to Safari's options. After restarting Safari, see if files are automatically opened after downloading. It should no longer happen after this option has been added. If you continue to have problems, however, then your best bet is to try reinstalling OS X from the OS X Recovery partition (boot using Command + R and select Reinstall OS X).

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