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Avast Academy Privacy Browser How to Allow and Block Pop-Ups in Safari

How to Allow and Block Pop-Ups in Safari

Sick of pop-up ads? Pop-up ads generate revenue for websites and annoyance for many Mac users. But certain pop-ups are helpful or even necessary. How do you tell the difference and know when to allow pop-ups or block them? Learn how the pop-up blocker for Safari works, or remove ads on Mac easily with a dedicated secure browser.

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Pop-ups are a double-edged sword. Beneficial pop-ups might ask you to sign up for helpful newsletters, send you relevant discount codes as you shop, or open a secure download window. Malicious or annoying pop-ups are much more common, and they can clog your device with bloatware, adware, and other types of malware.

Plus, some websites that depend on advertisementing for revenue block access to their sites unless you unblock their ads. Surf more smoothly by learning how to allow and block pop-ups in Safari.

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This article contains:

    How to block Safari pop-ups on Mac

    You can block any pop-up on Safari through the browser’s content settings. Safari’s pop-up blocker can hide ads and protect your iMac or Macbook from all kinds of malware

    Here’s how to stop pop-ups on Mac:

    1. Open Safari.

    2. Click Safari on the top left. In the drop-down menu, click Preferences. You can also press command + comma (⌘ + ,) to open Safari preferences.

      Opening Preferences under the Safari tab in Safari
    3. Click on the Websites tab on the toolbar at the top. On the left side, select Pop-up Windows. You’ll see the websites you’re browsing under Currently Open Websites on the right side. Click the blue arrows next to Block and Notify. Then choose Block.

      Blocking pop-up windows for currently open websites under the Websites tab in Safari Preferences

    It’s that simple to keep your browsing on Safari clean of pop-ups. To further streamline your machine, learn how to clean up your Mac. Or see our guide to make your Mac run faster.

    How to allow pop-ups in Safari on Mac

    You should allow pop-ups in Safari for certain sites. Websites you trust might send you sign-ups, download consent forms, or limited-time offers through pop-ups. A website may also ask you to unblock their ads before allowing access to their content. The process for allowing and blocking Safari pop-ups is the same.

    Here’s how to unblock pop-ups on Mac:

    1. Open Safari.

    2. Click Safari on the top left. In the drop down menu, choose Preferences. You can also press command + comma (⌘ + ,) on your keyboard.

      Opening Preferences under the Safari tab in Safari
    3. On the toolbar up top, click on the Websites tab. On the left side, click on Pop-up Windows. You’ll see the websites you’re browsing under Currently Open Websites on the right side. Click the blue arrows next to Block and Notify. Choose Allow.

      Allowing pop-up windows for currently open websites in Safari

    That’s all you need to do to allow pop-ups in Safari. Use another browser? See our guides for managing pop-ups in other browsers:

    If you're worried about missing out on content, you can disable the pop-up blocker on Mac altogether.

    How to disable pop-up blocker on Mac

    You can turn off the pop-up blocker on Mac to allow all pop-ups. Be aware that disabling the Mac pop-up blocker will let all web browser ads through, too. You can enable the pop-up blocker with the same steps if you want to block pop-ups again.

    Here’s how to turn off the pop-up blocker on Mac:

    1. Open Safari.

    2. Click Safari > Preferences.

      Opening Preferences under the Safari tab
    3. Click on the Security tab. Next to “Web content,” uncheck the Block pop-up windows option.

      Unchecking the 'Block pop-up windows' option under the Security tab in Safari Preferences

    That’s how to turn off the pop-up blocker for Safari completely. If you want to turn the Safari pop-up blocker back on, complete the same steps and check the Block pop-up windows option.

    Blocking pop-ups in Safari on iPhone and iPad

    Pop-ups can also bug you on your iPhone or iPad, but you can manage them using the mobile Safari pop-up blocker. For advanced ad-blocking features, see our guide to the best ad blocker apps for iPhone or check out the best ad blockers for Android

    Here’s how to block pop-ups on iPhone and iPad:

    1. Open Settings and tap Safari.

      highlighting Safari in Apple mobile Settings
    2. Next to Block Pop-ups, toggle the button on.

      Highlighting the 'Block Pop-ups' toggle in the on position under Safari in Apple mobile settings

    It’s that easy to block pop-ups on Safari on your iPhone and iPad. But note that blocking pop-ups on Safari won’t prevent ads from showing in other browsers. See our guide to the best ad blockers for Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge for more comprehensive ad blocking.

    How to allow pop-ups in Safari on iPhone and iPad

    Sometimes, you may have to tell Safari to allow pop-ups. As mentioned above, websites can perform helpful actions through pop-ups, such as letting you sign up for a newsletter. You can unblock pop-ups for Safari the same way you block them.

    Here’s how to allow pop-ups on iPhone and iPad:

    1. Open the Settings app. Tap Safari.

      Highlighting Safari in Apple mobile settings
    2. Next to Block Pop-ups, toggle the button to the Off position.

      Highlighting the 'Block Pop-ups' toggle in the off position in Apple mobile settings

    You should now get all the pop-ups you want. But pop-ups can make Safari load slower. If you’re not happy with Safari’s performance, switch today to one of the fastest web browsers available.

    Are Safari pop-ups dangerous?

    You can’t currently get viruses from Safari pop-ups, but you can easily get other forms of malware like adware and bloatware. Hackers can also trick Safari users into tapping or clicking on malicious items by overlaying an invisible pop-up window over an innocuous one, such as a browser game.

    Adware can trigger ad tracking that lets companies follow you around the web. And unless you remove bloatware, it can saddle your browser with bogus programs. But browser slowdown may not be because of malware.

    Clear your Mac cache to free up space and improve processing power. Or better yet, get one of the best browsers for privacy to surf stealthily without leaving a digital trail.

    You are still vulnerable to cybercriminals even if you’re on an Apple device. Pop-ups on Safari are not just annoying, but can be a gateway to let hackers in. A secure browser can block pop-ups automatically to let you browse safely and without interruption.

    How do I know which pop-ups to block?

    Stick to websites you trust, especially if you’re sharing any personal info. If you’re suspicious, do a quick Google search to see if a site is legit, or look for these signs of unsafe websites

    Sometimes even legitimate sites can bug you with pop-ups for advertising purposes. If you notice your browser slowing down after visiting a webpage, consider blocking pop-ups for that site. It’s also not normal to get more than one or two pop-ups per website.

    And watch out for Safari extensions, as some can install spyware. Make sure to remove the extension from Safari if you notice suspicious behavior. See our Mac security guide for more cybersecurity tips.

    Learning how to go incognito in Safari can save you pop-up grief. Many sites send pop-ups asking you to unblock their ads or give your email or payment info for access to their content. Going incognito can sometimes bypass these adwalls.

    The drawback is that sites you visit while incognito won’t remember your log-in information or form details. To bypass other restrictions such as location-locking by applications like streaming services, check out our guide to unblocking websites with a VPN.

    Browse ad-free with Avast Secure Browser

    Fiddling around with browser settings is cumbersome. Thankfully, you can use a dedicated private browser to handle the hassle for you. With built-in pop-up protection, Avast Secure Browser streamlines your surfing so you can focus on what’s important. 

    Get automatic ad blocking, privacy features, and malware protection. And, by erasing your browser fingerprint as you go, Avast Secure Browser makes you invisible to anyone tracking you. Download Avast Secure Browser today — completely free — to keep your web journeys brisk and clear.

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