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Safari can occasionally fall prey to streaming issues. Here are some simple fixes to these issues that you can try today!

Simple Fixes for Video Streaming Issues in Safari

You’ve got your comfy clothes (or comfy joggers) on and snacks at the ready.  You’re  about to kick off a binge-watching session on your Mac. Except… video streaming is not working in Safari.

Whether you’ve decided to catch up on the latest season of The Expanse on Amazon Prime or want to plunge into the best movies on Netflix, video streaming issues can be exceptionally frustrating. But do not worry. This article will guide you through several simple ways of addressing the issue before your popcorn runs out.

Enable the VP9 decoder

Although not exceptionally common, video streaming issues do occur in Safari. You might experience video freezes, or find yourself staring  at a blank screen, wondering what’s wrong with your browser. The simplest and surest way to resolve the issue is by enabling the VP9 decoder.

Safari needs the decoder to reverse the encoding of the VP9 codec that is commonly used for video compression by YouTube and popular video streaming platforms. Sometimes, the decoder is not enabled by default. You need to enable it to watch videos in a resolution greater than 1080p, which is, let’s face it, the only proper way to stream videos.

Here’s how to enable the VP9 decoder:

  1. Launch Safari
  2. Go to Safari menu and select Preferences
  3. In the Advanced section, tick the box Show Develop menu in menu bar
  4. In the menu bar, click Develop
  5. Select Experimental Features and click VP9 decoder
  6. Restart Safari

Now you should be able to stream 4K videos without a hitch.

Allow all auto-play

Apple introduced the media auto-play blocking feature a few years ago to improve the user experience. Specifically, the feature allows you to avoid  annoying ads with that blast out sound.

Although Safari algorithms  recognize video streaming power-houses such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney+ effortlessly, they regularly falter when dealing with smaller streaming services. If that’s the case for you, let’s fix it:

  1. Launch Safari
  2. Go to your video streaming platform
  3. Go to Safari menu and click Settings for This Website
  4. In the Auto-Play section, select Allow All Auto-Play

Update Safari

Every time you decide to stream a video, Safari follows your orders obediently for a tantalizing second or two before abruptly halting the stream. Not wanting to squander another second without your favorite show, you refresh the page. Alas, the issue persists. If you’ve tried other fixes to no avail, updating Safari is something you might want to try.

By updating Safari you  not only resolve the video playback issue but also reinforce the browser’s security. It’s a win-win situation. Since macOS Mojave was introduced, the only way to update Safari is by updating your macOS, which should also result in greater security and a better user experience. If there was ever a win-win-win scenario, this must surely be it. 

To update Safari via a Software Update, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Apple menu
  2. Select System Updates
  3. If an update is available, click Update Now

Adjust VPN settings 

Virtual private networks (VPN) apps can help you surf the web privately and safely. But at the same time, your VPN app can also make you surf the web slowly. Do you really have to choose between safety and speed to stream movies online? We don’t think so.

To enjoy an uninterrupted video streaming session, pick the best VPN for Mac and adjust its settings properly. Here’s how it’s done:

  1. Open VPN settings 
  2. Select UDP as a transmission protocol
  3. Choose another server
  4. Change the default VPN protocol to 3DES, Blowfish, CAST-128 or AES
  5. Use a wired Internet connection, if possible

Reset NVRAM 

There’s  a slim chance that video streaming issues are caused not by Safari, but rather by the Mac itself. To address these issues, try resetting your Mac’s nonvolatile random-access memory (NVRAM). This kind of memory is used to store Mac settings, including the ones related to its display. 

To reset NVRAM, follow these steps:

  1. Turn on your Mac while holding the Option, Command, P and R keys
  2. Release the keys after the second startup sound or the Apple logo appearance

Note that if you have a firmware password set, the key combination will not work. Turn off the password, and repeat the first step.

Hopefully, our advice has helped you address the video streaming issues you may be having in Safari. Now, it’s time to lean back, put your feet up and find out what happened next. 

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  • What VPN do you think is good for Safari or Mac as a whole. I currently have paid subscription for Ivacy, do you think I need a switch?

    June 3, 2021

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