Disable Safari Preload Top Hit

4 min read
fairly easy
Article URL: https://lapcatsoftware.com/articles/preload-top-hit.html Comments URL: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27209790 Points: 1 # Comments: 0
Disable Safari Preload Top Hit

By default, "Preload Top Hit in the background" is enabled in the Search tab of the Preferences window in Safari for Mac. Do yourself a favor and disable it, because the downsides outweigh the small upside.

Apple's Safari User Guide gives a brief description of the preference: "Start to load a webpage as soon as it's determined to be a top search hit based on your bookmarks and browsing history." The upside is that if the Top Hit in the Safari address bar is indeed the page you want to load, then the page loads faster.

One of the downsides is that if the Top Hit in the Safari address bar is not the page you want to load, the page is loaded anyway, and your privacy can be undermined. Let's look at how this works in practice.

I start with a "clean slate". Below is the Privacy pane of Safari Preferences, showing that only Twitter has cookies and site data saved on my Mac.

Now I open a new Safari window and start typing in the address bar. If I type the letter "g" then google.com is immediately the Top Hit! But suppose my "g" had nothing to do with Google. So I'm not going to load the Top Hit, I'll just press escape and close the window without ever visiting Google.

I go back to the Privacy Preferences, and I see…what?!? Even though I didn't visit google.com , the site was able to save cookies and local storage on my Mac. Just…
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