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Why Won’t Safari Quit and How to Force Quit It on Mac?

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When Safari becomes unresponsive, it can interrupt your whole workflow. While often a frustrating experience, you can easily get out of it with a few quick fixes.

Working as an Apple repair technician has shown me that Safari often hangs and becomes unresponsive for a variety of reasons. But luckily, it’s usually an easy fix. 

Let’s explore why won’t safari quit, and how you can force quit it on your Mac.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

Quit via keyboard, quit via finder menu, use the apple menu to force quit, force quit from the dock, force quit using activity monitor, shut down your mac, keep your mac up-to-date, remove malware and system junk, final thoughts.

  • You might need to Force Quit Safari if it stops responding or freezes.
  • There are a few ways you can force quit Safari, the quickest way is undoubtedly using the keyboard shortcut , Option , Command , and Esc .
  • You can also force quit using the Apple menu or the dock , or even by killing the process via Activity Monitor.
  • While uncommon, you may have to shut down and restart your computer if Force Quit does not work. 
  • To ensure Safari works as you expect it to, keep your Mac up-to-date with the latest software.
  • Additionally, keeping your Mac optimized and free from Malware will ensure Safari keeps working properly.

Why Won’t Safari Quit on Mac

Safari is Apple’s web browser that is automatically installed on all of their devices. Just like all web browsers, Safari sometimes freezes, and you are unable to quit the application. This can happen for several different reasons. 

First, Safari may simply have too many tabs open . Are you someone who likes to have videos playing in the background while surfing the web with 100 different tabs open all at the same time? 

Sometimes it isn’t your fault at all, but an issue with the application. You may need to reset the cache or update your software .

Lastly, it is possible that Safari is just frozen . In any of these cases, the following ways to Force Quit on Mac will help you close Safari when it is not responding. 

Before we continue, let’s make sure you’re clear on how to quit Safari normally.

If you are in an application (Safari in this instance) and you press Command-Q on your keyboard , this quits the application.

Now, this is not a forced quit, so it may not work in this instance, but it is worth a try if clicking the red X is not working for you right now. 

You can also quit Safari by right-clicking on the icon in the dock . Then select Quit.

safari not closing

If neither of the usual ways of closing Safari work or the Quit Safari button is grayed out, then you will need to Force Quit the app.

How to Force Quit Safari on Mac?

When Safari refuses to quit, the best course of action is to use the handy Force Quit option. 

The fastest way to Force Quit Safari is by using the keyboard shortcut . This special key combination will bring up the Force Quit menu.

Step 1: Hit the Option , Command , and Esc keys simultaneously. That will open the Force Quit menu. 

safari not closing

Step 2: Once this menu opens up, select Safari and Force Quit.

safari not closing

Step 3: Click Force Quit again to confirm.

Simply hit the Apple icon in the upper left of your screen, then select Force Quit from the options. From here, you can select the app you would like to force quit from the menu.

Finally, you can simply click on the Safari icon on your dock. If Safari is unresponsive, you will get an option to Force Quit when you right click.

If Safari won’t force quit in the typical ways, you can always kill the active process through Activity Monitor.

To get started, just open Launchpad.

safari not closing

Open Activity Monitor .

safari not closing

Navigate to Safari and Click the X at the top.

safari not closing

Click Force Quit to Confirm.

safari not closing

If all else fails, simply shut down the computer. This will force Safari to restart. 

Click the Apple menu, and Shut Down .

safari not closing

If you need to Force Shutdown your Mac, then simply Press and Hold the power button until the computer turns off.

Next, just turn your computer back on and check if Safari is functioning properly. To prevent any future issues with Safari, you should check for updates and make sure your Mac is optimized. Let’s discuss how to do that.

Safari could be malfunctioning due to out-of-date software, so checking for updates is wise if Safari freezes or becomes unresponsive.

To get started checking for updates, just click the Apple icon in the upper left corner and select System Preferences from the drop-down menu . Alternatively, you can hit the System Preferences icon on the dock .

The following window will pop up. Look for Software Update . Open this and install any updates that are available.

safari not closing

Sometimes Safari doesn’t work properly when you have too much junk on your computer. While anything from minor software bugs to malware could cause Safari to malfunction, checking for these problems can be time-consuming.

A third-party app like CleanMyMac X is pretty helpful for taking care of this stuff for you in one shot. Probably the most helpful thing, in this case, is flushing your DNS cache. Resetting your cache can often fix issues related to Safari not working properly.

safari not closing

After downloading and installing the app, just launch it and select Maintenance from the sidebar. Here you can select options like running maintenance scripts and flushing your DNS cache. Just hit run, and the app will handle the rest.

safari not closing

Additionally, if a malware issue is causing Safari to become unresponsive, you can easily check for and remove it using CleanMyMac X.

While not necessarily a free program, you can try it out with a free trial, and an annual subscription will save you more time than it is worth. You can read our full CleanMyMac X review to learn more.

There are several reasons why Safari may not be quitting. These include out-of-date software, cache, too many tabs open, and simply being frozen. We hope these methods of Force Quitting applications helped you to get Safari closed out. 

In order to prevent future issues with Safari, and other applications as well, you should ensure you run software updates frequently. 

Additionally, third-party apps like CleanMyMac X can help prevent problems with Safari by automatically running maintenance scripts, and clearing malware and system cache, among a host of other handy tasks.

Did these methods work for you? Were you able to quit Safari? Let us know in the comments below!

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How To Unfreeze Safari On Mac

how to unfreeze safari on mac

Whenever a new version of macOS makes its way to market. Safari can be one of the applications for experiencing freezing issues. So that’s why we’ve put together a guide to answer  “why is safari frozen on my mac ?“ and how to fix it!

Safari could be frozen for a number of reasons on your Mac. This could include issues ranging from an unstable version of macOS to a glitchy browser extension or even a virus within your computer. 

Restarting Safari

Close tabs and/or other resource intensive applications, updating your software, wiping your history, cache and cookies data, disable/uninstall extensions, why is safari crashing on my mac, related posts, how to unfreeze safari on mac [step by step].

If Safari has crashed then sometimes a pretty simple restart can help fix the issue. However, if it’s frozen to the point where you can’t even close it, then you could force quit Safari.

Step 1: Press the Command-Option-Esc keys together

Step 2: Click on Safari and press the Force Quit Button


Step 3: Click on Force Quit when it prompts you to confirm your decision.


After this launch safari again and try and see if you can mimic the same behaviour that caused it to crash before. It could be that it was just a random crash and nothing to worry about. 

However, if the issue still persists even after a restart you could try restarting your mac to see if that resolves the issue. Also, be sure to check if you have Javascript enabled in Safari.

Step 1: Launch Safari browser


Step 2: Click on Safari in the top menu

Screenshot 2019 08 19 at 19.51.38

Step 3: Click on Preferences 


Step 4: A new window with a layout like this will pop up


Step 5: Click on Security in the upper hand menu


Step 6: Make sure the “Enable Javascript” checkbox is checked


Sometimes too many tabs or another resource-intensive application could be the reason why Safari is crashing on your Mac. Your computer only has a finite amount of resources and it could be that too many tabs or other applications could be hogging it all. 

To view your current resource usage statistics you can use Activity Monitor to get an idea of whether or not this could be the issue at play.

Step 1: Click on the Finder application in the dock


Step 2: A new window will pop up


Step 3: Click on Applications in the left-hand side menu


Step 4: Type Activity Monitor in the search section


Step 5: Click on the Activity Monitor application that shows up


Step 6: A new window with your MacBooks resource utilization information will pop up. This section shows CPU utilization . 


Step 7: Click on Memory in the top menu


Step 8: Over here you can see the list of applications consuming memory in descending order


Step 9: If you find a process consuming an unnatural amount of memory, click on it and press the button with a cross symbol within it located near the top left side edge to quit the process


Step 10: Click Ok or Force Quit when prompted. 


Like this, you can observe unnecessary applications that might be running in the background that you could close in order to free up more resources for Safari. 

In case you find that Safari is consuming an alarming amount of resources even when you have a few lightweight tabs open. It could mean there could be a deeper issue within Safari itself.

Keeping your software updated is a crucial part of having a stable system. Outdated versions of software can have security flaws and bugs that can leave them susceptible to malicious attacks as well as issues in resource management. 

Make sure both macOS and Safari are updated to the latest version. We’ve detailed guides below on how to do that in case yours aren’t up to date.

Step 1: Click on the Apple logo


Step 2: Click on System Preferences


Step 3: A new window will pop up


Step 4: Click on Software Update


Step 5: Wait for macOS to check for any new updates


Step 6: If there is an update you will be prompted to download and install it, if not it’ll notify you that you’re already on the latest version.


Step 7: Click on Advanced


Step 8: Make sure the checkbox “ Check for updates ” is checked. 


Step 2: Click on App Store


Step 3: A new window with the Mac App store will pop up. 


Step 4: Click on Updates on the left hand side menu


Step 5: From here if there is an update available for Safari you can download and install it from here. 


Sometimes clearing your stored data in Safari can help get rid of the stutters and crashes. However be warned this will remove all your saved passwords and saved websites logins as well. So proceed at your own caution.


Step 3: Click on preferences 


Step 5: Click on Privacy in the upper hand menu


Step 6: Click on Manage Website Data


Step 7: Click on the Remove All button


Step 8: Click Remove Now when prompted


Step 9: Click on Advanced in the upper hand menu


Step 10: Make sure the option Show Develop menu in menu bar is checked


Step 11: Click on Develop in the Safari menu bar at the top


Step 12: Click on Empty Caches

Screenshot 2019 08 19 at 20.25.18

Sometimes browser extensions can the reason your browser is facing the issues that it is. To find out which browser extension could be the potential culprit disable them one by one to see and check if your issues are resolved. To disable browser extensions. 


Step 3: Click on Preferences  


Step 4: Click on Extensions in the top menu


Step 5: From here you can disable extensions that you have installed (if any)


Before we move on to our solutions it is important to realize why Safari might be crashing on your Mac, so that if this issue arises in the future you are better equipped to deal with.

When a new version of Safari is released or a new version of macOS. Expect there to be stability issues. It can take a while to work out the kinks and bugs within the software, so freezes and crashes can occur.

Especially if you’re using beta software, as the versions released within beta are still being tested by the development team. So opt out of the beta program if the issues are too frequent in nature.

Browser extensions and old cache data within Safari could also be the reason why it keeps freezing or crashing. 

Sometimes extensions no longer remain compatible with a newer version of safari till their updated and cache data can cause safari to become slow and eventually freeze. 

Fixing Safari Unresponsive & Frozen On Mac

So after reading through our through and conclusive guide you should have all the information you need to figure out why why is safari frozen on my mac and how to fix it!

If you feel we missed out on anything be sure to leave that in the comments down below.

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Hassaan Ahmed

1 thought on “how to unfreeze safari on mac”.

A senior I help has had this problem on her new 16″ MB Pro and searching for led me to your page. Excellent, clear instructions! Some of the best I have seen. Nice job.

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What to Do if Safari Keeps Crashing on Your Mac

Every Mac comes with Safari installed by default, and as a standard part of macOS, it’s about as reliable as you could wish. But it’s not infallible. As with any software, one day, you may find that Safari keeps crashing - either closing itself down, freezing up, or acting erratically.  

In this article you will find the following:

  • Why does Safari keep crashing on your Mac?
  • How to fix Safari crashing problems on your Mac

Clear the history, cache, and cookies from Safari on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch

Learn how to delete your history, cookies, and cache in Settings.

Delete history, cache, and cookies

Clear cookies and cache, but keep your history, delete a website from your history, block cookies, use content blockers.

  • Go to Settings > Safari.

An iPhone on the Safari Settings screen. The Clear History and Website Data button is underneath the Fraudulent Website Warning toggle.

Clearing your history, cookies, and browsing data from Safari won't change your AutoFill information.

When there's no history or website data to clear, the button to clear it turns gray. The button might also be gray if you have web content restrictions set up under  Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time .

To visit sites without leaving a history, turn Private Browsing on .

  • Go to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Website Data.
  • Tap Remove All Website Data.

When there's no website data to clear, the button to clear it turns gray. The button might also be gray if you have web content restrictions set up under  Content & Privacy Restrictions in Screen Time .

  • Open the Safari app.

safari not closing

  • Tap the Edit button, then select the website or websites that you want to delete from your history.
  • Tap the Delete button.

A cookie is a piece of data that a site puts on your device so that site can remember you when you visit again.

To block cookies:

  • Go to Settings > Safari > Advanced.

An iPhone on the Advanced Safari Settings screen. The Block All Cookies toggle is underneath the Advanced Tracking and Fingerprinting Protection settings.

If you block cookies, some web pages might not work. Here are some examples:

  • You will likely not be able to sign in to a site even when using your correct username and password.
  • You might see a message that cookies are required or that your browser's cookies are off.
  • Some features on a site might not work.

Content blockers are third-party apps and extensions that let Safari block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content.

To get a content blocker:

  • Download a content blocking app from the App Store.
  • Tap Settings > Safari > Extensions.
  • Tap to turn on a listed content blocker.

You can use more than one content blocker. If you need help, contact the app developer .

Information about products not manufactured by Apple, or independent websites not controlled or tested by Apple, is provided without recommendation or endorsement. Apple assumes no responsibility with regard to the selection, performance, or use of third-party websites or products. Apple makes no representations regarding third-party website accuracy or reliability. Contact the vendor for additional information.

Start a discussion in Apple Support Communities

Looks like no one’s replied in a while. To start the conversation again, simply ask a new question.


Safari Tabs not closing.

I'm having a couple of problems in Safari (running on Lion.)

Firstly, once I've opened a tab I cannot close it without exiting Safari completely. Secondly, when I swipe the trackpad to go backwards, the page becomes all jumbled up and often unresponsive. I've had this computer for over 6 months now and have never had any issues with it at all in the past. This has only been a problem over the last two days and I'm not sure how or why it's started doing this. I'm pretty sure that it is a Safari problem as everything else seems to be working just fine and I haven't noticed any other differences on any other applications.

Is anyone having any similar problems?

Does anyone have a solution?

MacBook Pro

Posted on May 9, 2012 12:28 PM

Loading page content

Page content loaded

Carolyn Samit

May 9, 2012 12:33 PM in response to a.baldwin

Try deleting the cache associated with Safari.

Quit Safari.

Go to ~/Library/Caches/

For Lion v10.7x: To find the Home folder in OS X Lion, open the Finder, hold the Option key, and choose Go > Library

Move the Cache.db file to the Trash.

Relaunch Safari to test.

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safari not closing

Apple Vulnerability Can Expose iOS and macOS Passwords, Safari Browsing History

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This Safari vulnerability has not been exploited in the wild. Apple offers a mitigation, but the fix needs to be enabled manually.

The Apple logo with a hand holding a lock.

Security researchers from three universities have discovered a major vulnerability in Apple’s iOS and macOS, including the Safari browser. The vulnerability, which the researchers named iLeakage, enables threat actors to read Gmail messages, reveal passwords and uncover other personal information.

The vulnerability affects macOS or iOS devices running on Apple’s A-series or M-series CPUs, which include all modern iPhones and iPads, and laptops or desktops released since 2020. Macs can only be attacked when using Safari, but mobile devices are vulnerable when using any browser.

The researchers disclosed their findings to Apple on Sept. 12, 2022, and made the findings, as well as a research paper, public on Oct. 25, 2023. The iLeakage vulnerability has not yet been exploited in the wild as of October 27.

  • How does the iLeakage vulnerability work? 
  • How to defend against iLeakage on Apple devices 

How does the iLeakage vulnerability work?

The iLeakage takes advantage of a transient execution side channel, which is a performance optimization feature of modern CPUs. The particular side channel involved here is speculative execution, which can be vulnerable to a hardware hack known as Spectre. Attackers can detect traces of speculative execution in CPUs, particularly the cache. Attackers can force the CPU to speculatively execute the wrong flow of instructions. Then, the attackers can read sensitive data contained in the resulting side channel ( Figure A ).

A demo of the way Gmail message information looks when acquired with iLeakage, plus the original emails.

The researchers who discovered the vulnerability are Jason Kim and Daniel Genkin of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Stephan van Schaik of the University of Michigan and Yuval Yarom of Ruhr University Bochum.

“Code running in one web browser tab should be isolated and not be able to infer anything about other tabs that a user has open,” the researchers wrote on their website about iLeakage . “However, with iLeakage, malicious JavaScript and WebAssembly can read the content of a target webpage when a target visits and clicks on an attacker’s webpage. This content includes personal information, passwords or credit card information.”

The researchers demonstrated iLeakage by setting up a website that opens up a hidden window on the target’s machine.

The researchers speculate that this vulnerability has not been found in the wild because it’s difficult to orchestrate, requiring detailed knowledge of Safari and of browser-based side channel attacks. However, iLeakage is important to know about because of its novel approach and because the number of devices potentially open to exploitation through iLeakage is so high.

TechRepublic has reached out to the researchers for more information.

SEE: Everything you need to know about Apple’s iOS 17 (TechRepublic) 

How to defend against iLeakage on Apple devices

Apple has enabled a mitigation for iLeakage in macOS Ventura 13.0 and newer releases, but it takes some work to find it. To activate the mitigation, follow the instructions posted on the iLeakage site under “How can I defend against iLeakage?” to access Safari’s debugging menu . From there, you can find WebKit’s internal features and an option to disable swap processes on cross-site window openings, which prevents the iLeakage exploit from working.

Also, entering Lockdown Mode or disabling JavaScript prevents the iLeakage exploit from working, but doing so may cause some of Safari’s features not to work.

iLeakage can be hard to trace because it doesn’t appear in the system’s log files, the researchers said; instead, iLeakage resides entirely within Safari. Some evidence of the attacker website hosting iLeakage may be visible in Safari’s browser cache of recently visited pages if an attack has already taken place, the researchers said.

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  2. If Safari doesn't open a page or work as expected on your Mac

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  3. How to force quit Safari on your Mac

    1. Force Quit Safari If Safari has frozen or just won't close, try a Force Quit option to shut Safari down properly. Here's how to force quit Safari: Press Option-Command-Escape. Select Safari from the list and press the Force Quit button. 2. Check for updates Updating your macOS is always recommended.

  4. How to force an app to quit on your Mac

    Force an app to quit Press these three keys together: Option (or Alt), Command, Esc (Escape). 1 Or choose Force Quit from the Apple menu in the corner of your screen. A Force Quit window opens. Select the app that you want to quit, then click Force Quit:

  5. Why Won't Safari Quit? (How to Force Quit It on Mac)

    There are a few ways you can force quit Safari, the quickest way is undoubtedly using the keyboard shortcut, Option, Command, and Esc. You can also force quit using the Apple menu or the dock, or even by killing the process via Activity Monitor. While uncommon, you may have to shut down and restart your computer if Force Quit does not work.

  6. If Safari isn't loading websites or quits on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod

    Restart your device Turn off your device and turn it on again. Restart your iPhone Restart your iPad Restart your iPod touch Clear website data You can clear website data occasionally to improve Safari performance. Go to Settings > Safari. Tap Clear History and Website Data. Tap Clear History and Data to confirm. Turn on JavaScript

  7. Safari won't force quit?

    This is definitely the easiest and most straightforward way for you to quit Safari if it's not responding. Method 2 - Quit Safari Using Terminal. In the majority of cases, closing Safari by using the Activity Monitor shouldn't be a problem. But, there are circumstances where you won't be able to close Safari by using AM.

  8. How To Unfreeze Safari On Mac [Solved]

    Also, be sure to check if you have Javascript enabled in Safari. Step 1: Launch Safari browser. Step 2: Click on Safari in the top menu. Step 3: Click on Preferences. Step 4: A new window with a layout like this will pop up. Step 5: Click on Security in the upper hand menu.

  9. Safari Unresponsive/Frozen, How to Fix It?

    Start by closing tabs if possible. 1. Close and launch the web browser. If Safari is not responding to any actions, enter the Force quit menu using the keyboard shortcut of Command, Option, and Escape. 2. In the popped-up window, select Safari and click Force quit. 3.

  10. Close tabs in Safari on Mac

    In the Safari app on your Mac, do any of the following:. Close a tab: Place the pointer over the tab in the tab bar, then click the Close button on the left side of the tab. Close all other tabs: Control-click the tab you want to keep open, then choose Close Other Tabs. Close all tabs to the right: Control-click a tab, then choose Close Tabs to the Right.

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    What to do if Safari quits unexpectedly on your Mac If you find yourself frustratedly googling 'why does Safari keep closing on my Mac?', here's what to do. Check your extensions Out of date or corrupt extensions are one possible cause of problems with Safari. Launch Safari. Click on the Safari menu and choose Preferences.

  12. Safari Crashing on Your Mac? Here's How to Fix It.

    From the Safari menu bar, select Safari > Preferences ; 2. Go to the Advanced tab, select the Show Develop menu in menu bar, then close the preferences window. 3. Now, in the menu bar, select Develop > Empty Caches. 4. After emptying your caches, restart Safari. Hopefully, it'll have stopped crashing or freezing. Delete Safari history and ...

  13. What to do if Safari keeps crashing on Mac

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  14. Control which windows Safari reopens on Mac

    To prevent windows from reopening every time you open Safari, use the system setting "Close windows when quitting an app". After you configure the system setting, check Safari settings as well: From the menu bar in Safari, choose Safari > Settings (or Preferences). In the General pane, choose a setting from the "Safari opens with" menu.

  15. Safari won't close

    May 1, 2007 #2 apple-Q will quit safari (not clicking on the red button) if you want to terminate it, try openint 'terminal' and typing: killall Safari when done, re-open safari and "reset"...

  16. How to fix Safari not working on Mac?

    Safari not responding . If Safari suddenly stopped responding, you can as well try some of the solutions described above if the browser unfreezes for a minute. If those methods didn't help, here're some of the actions to start with. Force quit Safari . If you have trouble with Safari responding, try force quitting the app. Click the Apple menu.

  17. Troubleshooting And Fixing Issues With Safari Closing On Macbook

    The methods below silently close Safari. How To Force Another App To Close Safari On Mac? We have four methods to force close when an app is not responding, also known as deferred. Let's look at them now. You can use the methods in these products to exit Safari or other great apps running on a macOS computer.

  18. iOS Safari not closing tabs automatically

    iOS Safari not closing tabs automatically I have set the close tabs option for my Safari browser iPhone 12 - iOS 14.7.1. (settings->safari->close tabs -> After one day) However, tabs continue to exist or stay open after one day. This issue is consistent on a new iPhone 12 as it was on my previous iPhone 11. iPhone 12 Posted on Sep 8, 2021 6:19 AM

  19. Clear the history, cache, and cookies from Safari on your iPhone, iPad

    If you block cookies, some web pages might not work. Here are some examples: ... Content blockers are third-party apps and extensions that let Safari block cookies, images, resources, pop-ups, and other content. To get a content blocker: Download a content blocking app from the App Store. Tap Settings > Safari > Extensions.

  20. Safari does not stay under recent apps of…

    On my Mac the Safari app appears in the recent app section when open, but it never stays there after closing. No matter how many apps (0-3) have been in this section. When there are three apps already, it opens spot number four and disappears after closing. I already reset the dock by deleting the plist file. I also tried to enable and disable ...

  21. Safari Tabs not closing.

    Safari Tabs not closing. I'm having a couple of problems in Safari (running on Lion.) Firstly, once I've opened a tab I cannot close it without exiting Safari completely. Secondly, when I swipe the trackpad to go backwards, the page becomes all jumbled up and often unresponsive. I've had this computer for over 6 months now and have never had ...

  22. Apple Vulnerability Can Expose iOS and macOS Passwords

    Security researchers from three universities have discovered a major vulnerability in Apple's iOS and macOS, including the Safari browser. The vulnerability, which the researchers named iLeakage ...