Safari Autofill

Safari Autofill
Mac Tip #138/25-Feb-2004

I’m forever visiting web pages which require me to type in my name, address, phone number and so on. And believe me, when you’re not a great typist and live in a part of town called Hataitai you don’t want to be typing that too many times!

Autofill checkboxes in Safari.

Autofill checkboxes in Safari.

So, go to the Safari menu and choose Preferences, then click on Autofill. Now check the settings you’d like Safari to use. I check all three options.

Now if you visit a page with a form (for example visit the Tips archive and click on Comment below any post) you need only go to the Edit menu and choose AutoFill Form or type Command Shift A to enter details.

Sometimes when you fill in a form Safari will pop up a dialog box offering to fill in such forms in future. I usually choose to do that.

Just be sure to double check the information Safari has entered. It depends on how the web designer has set up the form, but I occasionally find my email address in a phone number field for example.

This gem saves much error-prone typing on my part.

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  1. dianne said:

    I’ve been wondering how to do this and was delighted with yopur advice. Easy as pie! Thanks.

  2. armin said:

    what about a website which is not recognized as username – password?
    I use an instantmessaging webclient where I type in 2 logins, but safari won’t save them, autofill does is on the wrong place with a wrong name and without password.

    Do you have a solution? All three of the checkboxes are checked

    • Miraz Jordan said:

      Armin, websites manage to create all kinds of forms, sometimes using very much non-standard ways of doing things. There may be no ready solution if Safari doesn’t recognise the fields correctly.

      Quite honestly though I recommend NOT using the autofill that any web browser provides. Instead the number one app on my Mac is 1Password – it handles all kinds of forms and is way more secure.

      See for more information.

  3. amanda said:

    I recently had this problem with the autofill information – i can’t seem to remove certain usernames/passwords. Currently there are 5 that cannot be removed. What do I do?

    Please reply soon to my email,

    • Colin Sutton said:

      I found the solution posted by Russell Pond in 2002 does the trick:
      Open the ‘keychain access’ utility and delete the entries with your old email address. They will disappear from the Safari autofill list when you delete them from the keychain.
      Make a note of the websites: they’ll be ones that you might need to log in using your old email to update the address.

  4. Miraz Jordan said:

    Kim and Evelyn, although this Tip was about using Safari’s autofill feature, I don’t use it myself.

    Instead I use and utterly recommend 1Password:

    It keeps all your information for you (securely). I now fill in almost all forms by pressing Command \. Pretty much no typing required.

  5. evelyn said:

    Hi I hope you can help me not to smart on this mac theres three poeple using this before i would go on facebook and I just type the first letter of my name then the rest there but now it does’nt do that I hate typing all of my name can you help me thank you for your time

    • Kim said:

      I am having the same problem Evelyn. Did you happen to figure it out as yet?

  6. Clare said:

    Thanks! Moved house 6 months ago and had just kept re-typing everything when AutoComplete filled in my old details. Just updated my Address Book entry. Very helpful.

  7. Miraz Jordan said:

    Brandon – try looking in the Preferences under both Autofill and Security – Show Cookies. You may need to edit data under Autofill or delete one or more Cookies.

    It’s possible you’ll need to quit and restart Safari for it to take effect.

    Jaques and WTH: you may need to check the Apple forums for Safari for troubleshooting help.

  8. wth said:

    My autofill seems to have quit. My personal data never comes up. I used to right click and be gven a choice. Not anymore. My prefs are in order. Everything is chosen. I checked my list of passwords and usernames and many are given several times, yeet some that I just created arent there. I am using SNow Lep, but that didnt cause it, because it worked after upgrade. It is just wrking when it wants to. On some websites it works some it doesnt. Should I reinstall safari or something. I havent had to do crap like this since I quit using windoze.

  9. brandon said:

    I recently changed my gmail password. Now autofill automatically fills in my old password… So how do I change the autofill settings to know what my new gmail password is?


  10. Jacques said:

    Autofill working before but not now, I have tried everything, what’s next

  11. Miraz Jordan said:

    Added on behalf of Len:

    “This worked… have 2 homes and separated them to different cards.
    So, it was a bit more complicated.

    Thanks for your help.”

  12. Miraz Jordan said:

    Hi Len,

    are you saying that you moved house from, for example 123 Main St to 456 High St, but Safari’s autofill still enters 123 Main St?

    Have a look under Safari’s Autofill Prefs. Under Using info from my Address Book card click the Edit button and make sure you change your address on your Address Book card.

    Does that help?

  13. lenfink said:

    Cannot figure out how to change my address default to autofil and Dashboard.
    I have moved. I must have done it before. I assume it is easy- “under my nose”.
    But, it is not Apple intuitive to me! Len.

  14. Miraz Jordan said:

    Patrick, try clicking the Edit button on the lower two items of the screenshot in my Tip.

    You may be able to remove the problem website and then add it in again.

    Perhaps also try the Empty Cache item under the Safari menu, then Quit and restart Safari.

    • Heath said:

      “You may be able to remove the problem website and then add it in again.”
      There is no (obvious) way to ADD the website in again.

  15. patrick said:

    my issues is that autofill was working for a website for the entire time ive had my computer but lately my brother has been using my computer and now the autofill will not keep my information so i wanted to delete it and add it but now when i go to the site i no longer get the option to save my information and when i press apple shift A it says it cant save it even though it has for as long as ive used the website (at least two years now) suggestions?

  16. bob hanssen said:

    i have been fooling around with autofill for a number of hours today. i have tried all the suggestions in the help menu. before i started fooling with this my son’s info always autofilled, now nothing fills. my original goal was to just change the info thru the editing box in the preferences. i have checked all boxes in the preferences file but cannot open the address book card to edit anything. my address book is the one that came with my mac, i can’t seem to access that for my info. what should i do now?

    thanks for your help, bob

  17. Agu Happon said:

    Sorry Dave, but if a page is coded in such a way that Safari is capable of auto-filling a form in it, it will remember your entries without you having to do anything. The very fact that you want to “add a site” that apparently isn’t remembering your data for later auto-filling means the site itself… has non-labeled form elements, has privacy settings specifically requesting that the browser not remember the visit, or is otherwise incompatible with Safari’s autofill. Sorry for the downer. Respectfully, Agu

    • Heath said:

      If you read dave’s comment properly, you will see that the site he is trying to add IS compatible with autofill since he has already removed it from the list.
      The problem is not being able to put it back on the list. I have had the same problem with Facebook. There seems to be no way to fix this :( .

  18. Dave said:

    I have a question.
    Under Safari’s Preferences, I have edited my Autofill site list. I removed
    because it was constantly autofilling in longer searches I had done in the past, even though I might want to make a more basic search (eg, I want to search “kospi”, but it autofills to “kospi outlook” etc)
    so, I removed the site from the list, but there doesn’t seem to be an option to add sites to that list… is there?

    any help would be greatly appreciated,



  19. Kee Hinckley said:

    One thing I recently discovered is that this feature is responsible for the long delays I get when I change a form on a page I’ve been to before. I have to wait while Safari writes the changes to a 180k file. The wait can take as long as 20 seconds. They need to make some serious changes to how they store the information.

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