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How to Remove Toolbars from Your Mac Browser: Safari, Chrome, & Firefox

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Last updated: September 2, 2023

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Struggling with pesky, unwanted toolbars cluttering your Mac browser? These nuisances can appear seemingly out of nowhere, often bundled with software downloads or disguised as helpful additions.

Discover the root causes behind these unwelcome additions and explore how to remove toolbars from your Mac browser to declutter your browsing space and have a more efficient online experience.

Before We Begin

The best way to prevent unwanted toolbars from overcrowding your web browser is to delete malware and adware from your Mac. MacKeeper can help you do that vigilantly with its integrated antivirus scanner. It will scan your Mac for malware and malicious software to immediately identify and tackle such problems.

Why Do Unwanted Toolbars Appear In Mac Browsers?

Unwanted toolbars appearing in Mac browsers is a common annoyance many users face. But where do they come from? Here’s a breakdown of the reasons:

  • 📦 Bundled Software: When you download and install a program, especially free software, it might come with optional software additions (like toolbars) selected by default. If you don’t carefully read and uncheck these options during installation, they result in unexpected toolbars.
  • 🚫 Deceptive Advertising: Some toolbars are promoted through misleading ads that make them appear beneficial or even necessary for the computer’s operation. Clicking these ads can initiate an automatic download and installation process.
  • 🕸️ Malicious Websites: Visiting compromised or malicious websites can automatically install unwanted toolbars or software without explicit user consent.
  • 💸 Freeware and Shareware: Toolbars can be a source of revenue for freeware or shareware developers. By including third-party toolbars in their software, they can earn money each time it’s installed, even if their software is given away for free.
  • ⚠️ Outdated Software: Browsers or plugins that haven’t been updated might have vulnerabilities. Cybercriminals can exploit these to add unwanted toolbars or other types of malware.
  • User Error: Sometimes, you might accidentally install toolbars without realizing it. This could happen when clicking pop-ups or downloading files from unfamiliar sources.

To protect against unwanted toolbars, it’s essential to stay vigilant, regularly update your macOS, and always customize installation processes, opting out of unnecessary additions. If toolbars appear, timely removal is key to maintaining a secure and efficient browsing experience.

How to Remove Toolbars from Your Mac Browser

Removing unwanted toolbars from your browser on a Mac ensures a smoother browsing experience and can even enhance your browser’s speed and security. Below, I’ve shared how to remove toolbars from your Mac browser, including Safari, Chrome, and Firefox.

Remove Unwanted Toolbars From Safari

Safari is the default browser for almost all Mac users, and its seamless integration with the macOS system offers a smooth browsing experience. However, like all browsers, Safari isn’t immune to the infiltration of unwanted toolbars or extensions.

These additions include unwanted toolbars, which can clutter the interface and compromise browsing security. Follow these steps to remove unwanted toolbars from Safari on Mac:

  1. Open Safari.
  2. Click Safari in the menu bar and select Settings.
click safari in the top menu bar and select settings
  1. Navigate to the Extensions tab.
click on the extensions tab to view all the installed extensions
  1. Browse the list of extensions. If you spot any you don’t recognize or want, uncheck the box next to that extension or plugin.
uncheck the box next to an unwanted extension

If an extension has multiple entries, locate the one related to the unwanted toolbar in Safari and disable it alone.

Besides disabling a toolbar in Safari, you can remove the source extension, program, or launch agent from your Mac system. Follow these steps to do that:

  1. Find the extension or plugin you want to remove in the Safari Extensions Manager window.
  2. Select the extension and click the Uninstall button on the right side.
click the uninstall button to confirm that you want to remove
  1. Click Show in Finder on the pop-up window.
click show in finder on the pop up
  1. A Finder window will appear with a highlighted item. Drag and drop this item into the Bin or right-click it and select Move to Bin.
right click the extension and select move to bin
  1. If prompted, type your Mac’s administrator password, and click OK.

For comprehensive cleanup, I recommend clearing the Safari cache on your Mac. It eliminates any residual cookies or browsing data associated with the removed item.

Reset Safari to Factory Settings

If you encounter difficulties while removing a toolbar, resetting Safari to its default settings becomes necessary. This action will disable all extensions, simplifying removing the troublesome toolbar.

During the reset procedure, your passwords and bookmarks will not be lost.

Follow these steps to reset Safari to factory defaults:

  1. Close all Safari tabs and windows and exit the browser.
  2. Open Finder by clicking its icon in the Dock.
click finder in your dock
  1. With Finder open, click Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
  1. Type the following directory in the box and press Enter:
~/Library/Preferences/
type library preferences directory in the box
  1. Find and drag the com.apple.Safari.plist file into the Bin.
drag the com apple safari plist file to the bin
  1. Next, bring the Go to Folder box again and type the following directory:
~/Library/Safari/
type library safari directory in the box
  1. Inside this folder, delete everything except the Bookmarks.plist file.
delete all files except bookmarks plist file
  1. Lastly, bring the Go to Folder box again and type the following directory:
~/Library/Containers/
type library containers directory in the box
  1. Type Safari in the search box on the top-right of the window and delete all files and folders that appear in the result.
type safari in the search bar
  1. This will make all Safari extensions and plugins inactive. So, when you restart Safari, you shouldn’t find any problematic toolbars.

Remove Unwanted Toolbars From Chrome

With its reputation for speed and extensive library of extensions, Chrome is a favorite among many Mac users. However, this popularity also means third-party developers target Chrome to push their toolbars and extensions. Over time, this can lead to a cluttered interface and a drop in performance.

To maximize Chrome’s capabilities, checking for and removing any unwanted additions, like toolbars, is crucial. Here’s how to remove unwanted toolbars on Google Chrome on Mac:

  1. Open Chrome.
  2. Click the three vertical dots in the top right corner and select More Tools > Extensions.
click the three dots select more tools and tap extensions
  1. Here, you can see all your installed extensions. Toggle off or trash the ones you don’t need by clicking the Remove button.
toggle off or remove an extension

Reset Chrome to Factory Settings

If you cannot delete the toolbar from Chrome for some reason, it’s necessary to reset Chrome’s settings back to defaults. This procedure is relatively simple and won’t result in losing your passwords, bookmarks, or browsing history.

Here are the steps to reset Chrome to factory settings:

  1. In Chrome, click the three vertical dots and go to Settings.
click three dots and select settings
  1. In the next window, click Reset settings in the left sidebar and select Restore settings to their original defaults.
click reset settings and tap restore settings to their original defaults
  1. A pop-up window will appear. Click Reset settings, and it will restore your Chrome’s settings to default.
click reset settings

When you restart Chrome, it will launch with all extensions and plugins disabled.

Remove Unwanted Toolbars From Firefox

Firefox’s open-source nature attracts many extensions and toolbars, some of which may inadvertently find their way into your browser. These unwanted additions can hinder the overall user experience, slowing browsing and making navigation cumbersome.

To ensure Firefox stays true to its reputation for speed and ease of use, it’s essential to declutter and remove extra toolbars. Here’s how to remove unwanted toolbars from Firefox on Mac:

  1. Open Firefox.
  2. Click the three horizontal lines in the top right and select Add-ons and themes.
click the three horizontal lines and select add ons and themes
  1. Disable unwanted extensions in the Extensions tab by toggling them off.
toggle off an unwanted extension
  1. Alternatively, you can delete them by clicking the three small dots next to the extension’s name and selecting Remove.
click the three dots and select remove to delete an extension

Reset Firefox to Factory Settings

If you cannot remove an unwanted extension or toolbar from Firefox, you may have to reset it to factory settings. However, it won’t affect your bookmarks and saved passwords. Here’s how to factory reset Firefox on Mac:

  1. In Firefox, click the three horizontal lines and go to Help.
click the three horizontal lines and select help
  1. Select More troubleshooting information.
click more troubleshooting information
  1. On the right, you’ll see Refresh Firefox. Click it.
click refresh firefox
  1. When you click Refresh Firefox, a pop-up will appear at the top of the page. Click Refresh Firefox again.
click refresh firefox on the pop up

How to Delete Toolbar Leftovers on Mac

Even after removing toolbars, some residual files might remain on your Mac. There are two ways to remove those leftovers from your Mac, and I’ve explained them below.

Delete Toolbar Leftovers Manually

After successfully deactivating and removing an unwanted toolbar from your Mac, check for remaining programs or startup entries that might automatically reintroduce it to your browser.

Here are the steps to delete toolbar leftovers manually:

  1. Launch Finder by clicking its icon in the Dock.
click finder in your dock
  1. Click Go in the menu bar and select Go to Folder.
click go in the menu bar and select go to folder
  1. Now, go to the following locations one by one:
/Applications/
/Library/LaunchAgents/
/Library/LaunchDaemons/
/Library/StartupItems/
/Library/InputManagers/
~/Library/InputManagers/
~/Library/Input Methods/
~/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/
~/Library/ScriptingAdditions/
  1. Move any files or folders associated with the toolbar to the Bin.

    Delete Toolbar Leftovers Automatically

    Tools like MacKeeper can help you locate and delete residual files without manually sifting through system folders. Here’s how to use MacKeeper to delete toolbar leftover files automatically:

    1. Download and install MacKeeper on your Mac.
    2. Open MacKeeper and click Smart Uninstaller in the left sidebar under Cleaning.
    click smart uninstaller in the left sidebar
    1. Click Start Scan.
    click start scan in smart uninstaller
    1. When the scan completes, click Leftovers in the left sidebar.
    click leftovers in the left sidebar
    1. Select the leftover files you want to delete and click Remove Selected.
    select the leftover files you want to delete and click remove selected
    1. Click Remove on the pop-up window to confirm.
    click remove on the pop up

    This will remove the toolbar leftover files from your Mac.

    Prevent Malicious Agents From Adding Unwanted Toolbars to Your Browsers With MacKeeper

    MacKeeper is a robust security suite that helps detect real-time adware. Installing and setting up MacKeeper antivirus ensures malicious software doesn’t automatically install toolbars or other undesired extensions without your consent.

    Maintaining the safety of your data is of utmost importance, particularly when engaging in frequent internet usage or downloading files from unfamiliar origins.

    The following steps outline how to run a virus scan on Mac using MacKeeper:

    1. Download and install MacKeeper.
    2. Launch MacKeeper and navigate to the Antivirus tab in the left sidebar.
    click antivirus under the security section
    1. Initiate an instant virus scan by clicking the Start Scan button.
    click start scan in mackeeper antivirus
    1. If any viruses are detected during the scan, click the Fix Items button to resolve the issues.
    2. If your system is threat-free, you’ll see a No threats found message. You can tap the Restart button to run the scan again.
    no threats found in mackeeper antivirus
    1. Enable real-time antivirus protection to safeguard your Mac from future threats by clicking the Enable button.
    click enable to allow real time protection

    Once you have configured your security settings, MacKeeper will continue to operate in the background, diligently scanning for threats and actively blocking any malicious activity.

    What Else Can MacKeeper Do?

    Besides running a virus scan, MacKeeper can do much more to optimize your Mac and keep it secure. It can help uninstall unwanted apps, delete cache files, and remove login items from your Mac. Check out my detailed MacKeeper review to learn more about its features.

    Get Rid of Unwanted Toolbars on Mac

    Unwanted toolbars can be annoying, so always stay vigilant when installing new software, and don’t inadvertently agree to install bundled toolbars. Here are some more tips for enhancing your browsing experience on Mac:

    Frequently Asked Questions

    1. Are all browser toolbars on Mac malicious?

      No, not all browser toolbars on Mac are malicious. Many are legitimate tools designed to enhance user experience. However, some can be intrusive or pose security risks. It’s essential to verify the source and purpose of any toolbar before installation to ensure your Mac’s safety and optimal browser performance.

    2. How did I get these toolbars in the first place?

      Toolbars often sneak into browsers via bundled software downloads, deceptive ads, or malicious websites. Sometimes, outdated software vulnerabilities or accidental clicks lead to their installation. Always exercise caution when downloading software and regularly review extensions to avoid unwanted additions.

    3. How often should I check for unwanted toolbars?

      You should check for unwanted toolbars at least once a month for optimal browser performance and security. However, if you frequently download software or visit various websites, check bi-weekly to ensure a clutter-free and safe browsing experience. Regular checks help in the early detection and prevention of potential issues.

    Pawan Singh

    Author

    Pawan is your go-to tech buddy with over 4 years diving deep into the world of Macbooks and cool gadgets. He's written a ton of articles, blending his tech-savvy expertise with a dash of friendly banter. When it comes to the latest in tech, Pawan's got the scoop and isn't shy to share it. Trust him, he's been around the block a few times!

    Ojash

    Reviewer

    Hi there! I'm Ojash, a tech journalist with over a decade of experience in the industry. I've had the privilege of contributing to some of the world's largest tech publications, making my mark as a respected Mac expert. My passion lies in exploring, using, and writing about MacBooks, and I enjoy sharing my expertise to help others make informed decisions and get the most out of their MacBook experience. Join me as we delve into the fascinating world of MacBooks together!

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