Safari Scroll Out of Control

Safari on MacOS Ventura has been easily tamable for me, except for one really weird wrinkle.

Background: for something like forever in Web browser history, across pretty much every browser I’ve ever used on any platform, tapping SPACEBAR is the equivalent of “move the reading window down one screen.” It’s easy, it’s the biggest control surface on nearly all keyboards.

In Ventura, Safari did something new in response to a SPACEBAR tap: it scrolled. And scrolled. And scrolled. It scrolled at a mad, medium pace to the bottom of the Web page being browsed, and the only thing that could stop it was grabbing the mouse and clicking on the page.

Weird, and annoying.

There was nothing in the Safari settings that enabled such a thing, and I checked Keyboard shortcuts and Typinator to make sure I hadn’t accidentally done something to enable this.

Then, I looked at the menu bar…and saw that the “Develop” menu is enabled. (You can do that from Settings.) I have it enabled because I occasionally need to dissect what’s going on with a Web page, and I figured there was no harm in leaving it visible.

Except… there is a Develop menu item labeled “Experimental Features –>”. And a slew of those experimental features are enabled by default. When I looked at the submenu, it turned out there is one related to scrolling: “Scroll to text fragment”. It is enabled by default, and it appears to be a developer utility that, yes, seeks out text fragments.

Since most published Web pages don’t HAVE text fragments, it appears that tapping SPACEBAR would start the routine, and Safari would scroll until it reached the bottom of the page, at which point the routine is done.

I’ve got my browser back, and while I’m keeping the Develop menu enabled for now since most of the items there seem to be inert until invoked, this might be useful to know for someone else wondering why their Web browsing periodically goes “south”.


Just to add to this, at the bottom of the “Experimental Features” is a control to return all of them to their defaults.


I have sort of the opposite problem. On my Mac running Ventura (a relatively new change), I can’t use the arrow keys to scroll pages up or down in Safari.

This may be related to a similar issue I’m having with pdf files and Preview, in which selecting any text causes a rapid scrolling to the last page in the document. Incredibly annoying, especially for long documents. At least one other person is seeing the same behavior, and has posted about it on Apple’s boards. Continuous Scroll On Preview - Apple Community

Yes, and did that early on. Thanks Doug!

M1 Mac Mini running Monterey 12.6.5 - Safari 16.4.1

Problem is with trying to use the up and down arrows on a wired keyboard in Safari.

The expected behavior is that every time I press the down (or up) arrow, the web page would move down (or up) 1 line.

Actual behavior is pressing the down (or up) arrow leads to continuous scrolling that ends when it reaches the bottom (top) of the web page or if override by using scroll wheel on mouse.

Arrow keys work as expected in Firefox and elsewhere on Mac.

2nd keyboard behaves identically.

When in Safari reader view, the arrow keys work as expected.

The problem does not exist when I log in as different user.

Any idea on how to fix?

This is normally a symptom of a stuck key - either the keyboard isn’t sending the key-up event, or the app isn’t receiving it. But you say they keys work fine in other apps (ruling out hardware) and other keyboards work fine in Safari (which rules out a software bug). So yeah, this one is weird.

This is a clue. I would go look through your Accessibility system preferences to see if something is turned on by mistake. Things like sticky keys and mouse keys may produce symptoms like this. Also check your Keyboard preferences to see if there’s something unexpected in there (perhaps a Safari-specific preference).

Checked all those settings and didn’t find anything.

Take a look at this other topic in TidBITS addressing a similar issue, particularly Matt’s initial post.

The behavior OP describes is similar but the Experimental Features settings under Develop didn’t fix my Safari.

Thanks for the suggestion, though.

Thank you for linking back to my earlier post. I should note that even with the feature I had described being turned off, I have still sporadically experienced a similar behavior. Glad the OP here tried that solution, and sorry they’re still “on the hunt.”

Update If I click into the readable (not editable) text on this very page, and then tap the Down Arrow key, the page scrolls down in the way I had described in the other post. It is not the instant refresh of a Page Down or End click, but a continuous and dare I say “stepped” scroll.

There is still something else afoot here.

@ace It might be worth merging these two topics; they seem to be describing related aspects of a single issue with Safari.

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Got an answer on Stack Exchange / Ask Different from user Willie Abrams and it fixed issue for me.

It’s a dumb change they made in Safari 16.4.

  1. Give Terminal Full Disk Access in the System Settings → Privacy & Security panel.
  2. Quit Safari.
  3. Open Terminal and enter: defaults write IncludeInternalDebugMenu -bool true
  4. Open Safari. Click on Debug menu, WebKit Internal features, and UNCHECK EventHandler driven smooth keyboard scrolling.
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Still worthy of a bug report. The debug menu information should (hopefully) be enough for an Apple developer to identify the actual cause of the bug.

You are quite right! It’s a stupid, stupid feature. If what you explained works for me, I’m gonna shit a brick I’ll be so happy!