Safari's regrettable memory

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Reader Bill Zagotta is unhappy with Safari’s long memory. He writes:

Safari does a nice job of trying to guess and fill-in the web address I am about to type…sometimes. But after a restart, when I type “g” to go to Google, it guesses I want to go to a genealogical web page. I have tried to clear out caches and to reset Safari and to delete the items it seems to be remembering for a “g.” Nothing will eliminate Safari’s memories of web addresses I have visited.

How can I erase all or undesired web address in the Safari brain?

Regrettably, Safari doesn’t provide a single command for getting rid of these memorized entries. They’re concocted from Safari’s bookmarks, cache, and history. You can get close by choosing Reset Safari from the Safari menu but using it can be problematic. In the first place, it doesn’t touch your bookmarks so some of those entries will still appear. Secondly, it will clear more data than you probably want it to. In addition to clearing the history and emptying the cache, it clears the Downloads window, removes all cookies, and gets rid of any names and passwords you may have asked it to save.

You can do this piecemeal. Start by choosing Safari -> Empty Cache. Then choose History -> Clear History. Then go into the Bookmarks area and clear out bookmarks you don’t want.

Or you can just adopt one of a couple of new habits. The first would be to type more than just that first letter “g.” Try “go” and see if that brings up Google. Or bypass the whole autofill thing by clicking in the Address field, pressing the Space Bar once, and start typing. Autofill doesn’t work if the first character is a space.

Finally, you can help prevent additional entries from being added by choosing Private Browsing from the Safari menu. With this option enabled, the websites you visit won’t be cached or added to Safari’s history and therefore don’t later appear as Autofill entries.

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