Safari 12 Crashes Spotlight in Sierra—Here’s the Fix

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TidBITS readers have reported a conflict between Safari 12 and Spotlight in macOS 10.12 Sierra, where invoking Spotlight and typing causes it to crash. Happily, there’s a simple fix.

I have been experiencing a different type of crash that happens repeatedly and reliably in Sierra: invoking Quick Look on a .webloc file crashes the Finder, instead of displaying a Quick Look view of the web page. Could these two crashes be related? Anyone else experiencing this Quick Look / Finder crash?

Wow, great tip! I’ve been experiencing the crash, and I’d also noticed that it only happens when the spotlight search contains certain letters. Moreover, I had a different workaround: don’t use the Spotlight window, just use the Search field in the Finder (or use NotLight, of course). In other words, the bug is the Spotlight window only. But your solution is better.


Thanks, Matt! Not having a Sierra Mac handy, I couldn’t test this as fully as I would have liked—I was wondering about the Search field in Finder windows. I’ll tweak the article to work these facts in.

Now I’m wondering what the letters are that crash Spotlight. And I’m getting flashbacks to “Letterman” from Sesame Street. :slight_smile:

I have the same problem with 10.12.6 where Finder crashes when accessing a WEBLOC file under some ways. I have yet to find a solution.

One quirk is a double click of a WEBLOC on the desktop launches Safari but if inside a folder/directory it crashes Finder but does not launch Safari. I can right click a WEBLOC file and select “Open With” and it works anywhere.

Thanks for this tip. Fixed the problem for me. Yet another reason I subscribe to TidBITS!

I was not having an issue with specific letters. Most of the time it would crash, but sometimes it wouldn’t.

I found that if I hit Command-space and waited, I could then type a letter and wait for the list to show up. If my choice was there, I could arrow down. If not I’d try the next letter and repeat.

This often worked, but not always.

I posted the issue to the group on Sept 20 but didn’t get any replies. (I wrote it as “timing out” vs crashing)


I haven’t had the problem—because I don’t use Spotlight from the menu bar. I almost always use the Finder window search field. But I used your tip to turn off Bookmarks and History anyway, just to be safe. Thanks for the tip.

I’m seeing a number of people reporting this in the Apple Support Communities, but no real solutions.

I do also see the Quick Look issue; I’m glad I’m not alone.

A comment over on Macintouch suggests that unchecking Other in the Spotlight Search Results pref pane may be needed, in addition to Bookmarks & History.

I had the same issue, after upgrading to Safari on Macbook Pro running regular Sierra. This tip saved me from going crazy! Thank you so much!

I had to downgrade back to Safari 11.1.2 because of the .webloc problem. Just clicking on a .webloc file with the pointer is enough to crash the Finder in my case. I didn’t even get to the point where I could try to invoke QuickLook. It even happens on a fresh Sierra install on which you immediately apply Apple software updates. This problem is very hard to miss, so I am saddened and alarmed that Apple managed to miss it during QA testing. What’s worse is that this is STILL NOT FIXED in Safari 12.0.1.

Gary, there was a solution that worked for me, but I thought it was in this thread. No luck for you?


I am having same problems with MacOS 10.12.6.
The suggestions here (unchecking a few items in Spotlight) did not work for me.
Anything that invokes Quicklook of a Webloc item on my MacBookPro crashes Finder. AND the same thing happens in PathFinder, crashing that file manager app also! So it must be specific to Quick Look. Tom

Yes, this seems to be an ongoing bug with Safari 12. I’m not aware of any fix, apart from upgrading to 10.13 High Sierra, where the problem doesn’t occur.

With Spotlight, I think it has to do with web content being the first search result. The crash also happens to me when using either Quicklook or Cover Flow on .webloc files.

I am happy to finally find the fix above. I am still reluctant to move to High Sierra because of the change in file format that presumably makes going back challenging, and the fear of the expected drop of performance with most system upgrades. It was so annoying to get repeated crashes that I had just formatted my drive, made a fresh install of Sierra and imported my data back (several hours total) just to find the problem was not solved. Finally the tip above made the job, only a few seconds… Actions in the wrong order ! Thanks anyway.

I haven’t seen any valid complaints about APFS with SSD’s, in fact most of us are reporting increased performance from them. The only users that I know of that had to revert to HFS+ were HDD and Fusion Drive owners that were involved in early testing. I personally have had zero issues involving SSD APFS.

The only real issue has been for drive utility developers in receiving details late and somewhat incomplete in order for them to properly update their apps. Most are at least partially compatible at this time, with DiskWarrior still holding out.


Thanks for the thread… it did not solve the issue for me, but at least I now know why this is happening on my machine! :wink:

If you’re in list or icon view mode and double click on the .webloc file it opens fine, but trying to preview it in any mode causes the Finder to crash. Being in column causes Finder to crash immediately as I have preview column enabled. Once I turn that off I can also open .webloc files safely.

I also tried turning the various items in Spotlight preferences and have seen no change.

This thread: has a link to WebFinagler which will bulk convert .webloc files to Windows compatible .url files which do not crash the Finder.

For those of you comfortable on the command line there’s also

Now to avoid spending the afternoon figuring out how to wholesale convert every single .webloc file on my mac to .url files… hmm. I’m sure I could do it with find and xargs …



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-currently working for OS X 10.12.6
-Finder doesn’t crash when .weblock is clicked.
-Safari is able to launch the url.
-However, Quicklook views .weblocs as plain text files, bypassing the web preview generation.

Step 1
File: /System/Library/QuickLook/Web.qlgenerator/
Remove: <string></string>

Step 2
File: /System/Library/QuickLook/Text.qlgenerator/
Add: <string></string>

	<string></string> <!-- sierra-webloc-crashfix  -->

Step 3
Copy File: /System/Library/QuickLook/Text.qlgenerator
Move Copy:/Library/QuickLook/Text.qlgenerator

Step 4
Terminal Command: qlmanage -r

*Make sure to backup edited files as a failsafe.