Listening to MP3's and other audio in Safari

macOS and Mac Apps
Hi! Have a little thing I've been wanting to ask you guys for a while. When I click on e.g. a MP3-file on a website in Safari, it starts to download the file instead of just streaming it like I want. Let's say I want to listen to a podcast here on the AppleVis site. When I do VO+Space on the podcast-file, I want it to start playing right away, as it does on my iPhone and as it in my previous life also did in Internet Explorer, and not download first so I'll have to sit and wait for several minutes and afterwards have to remember to tdelete it from my Downloads-folder. Is there any tricks that I've missed to get this to work? Because of this, I most of the time use my iPhone to listen to e.g. applevis podcasts right from the website instead of my Mac, which would be much more convenient to use because of the soundsystem that I got my Mac hooked up to. Any ideas? Would be extremelly thankfull if one of you had a suggestion to fix this! Thanks in advance! :) Cliff



Submitted by Isaac Hebert (not verified) on Thursday, April 18, 2013

You are using the correct commands. It is rprobably a new change in the browser. Try using a different browser try using firefox. I will do more research on the issue.

Hi Cliff. Isaac has told me first that firefox is accessible, then said it was not, so before you get frustrated, let me see if I can figure out why your files are downloading and not opening. Is that what you want, say for podcasts? I know I had to figure out why when I was dowloading audio books, they would open instantly, I fixed it, but now am not sure what I did. I'll get back to you. :)

Submitted by Cliff on Thursday, April 18, 2013

In reply to by Siobhan

That's correct, Siobhan! Would be so much easier if I could open the file in Safari right away, without having to sit and wait for it to download first. On my iPhone, the file opens right away... That's why I often use the iPhone instead of my Mac to e.g. listen to the applevis podcasts right form the website... Thanks

Submitted by Esther on Friday, April 19, 2013

Are all of you saying that linked MP3 files in Safari under Mac OS X, such as the AppleVis podcasts, download instead of streaming within the browser when you activate the link? That's not the case for me. Most posters to the macvisionaries list ask about how to force an MP3 file to download from the link instead of automatically playing from within the browser. Cliff, has this behavior of downloading instead of playing MP3 files in Safari always been true on your Mac? If you open Safari from another user account, do you also find this? (I create at least one alternate account on my Mac for testing purposes.)

It sounds to me as though you've installed some kind of Speed Download app that is forcing this behavior in your account.  If you navigate to the "Help" menu on the Safari menu bar, and select the "Installed Plug-ins" option, what gets listed for your account?


Hi Esther and thanks for your take on my issue! As long as I can remember, this has been the standard behaviour when clicking on a MP3. I remember when I first got my Mac in September, there was a lot of podcasts I wanted to hear to get the hang of basic Mac operation, and I ended up listening to them on my Windows machine because of this... I can't remember to have installed anything that can relate to the file not being streamed... But here comes the weird thing, I created a fresh user acount, as you suggested, and when clicking a podcast file in Safari there, it starts streaming right away! So I went back to my standard acount and checked the installed pluggins from the help-menu, as you suggested. But I couldn't find anything obvious there... Nothing that contained the word download or something like it. But there was a lot of crap there, which I don't think I need. A lot of adobe stuff and a bunch of quicktime pluggins, but I couldn't find a way to remove them... It just opens as a list in html, so there's nothing I can do there... So how do I remove crap from that list? And how do I know if I need it or not? And maybe the most important question, how can I copy the Safari settings from the new fresh acount where streaming works flawles to my standard acount where the file just downloads? Is that even possible? Or do I have to go through every possible setting in Safari to try to find out where it differs? Thank you so much for your suggestions! I feel a little closer now to solving this pussle ;) Cliff

Submitted by Cliff on Friday, April 19, 2013

In reply to by Cliff

I opened the user/my acount/library folder and deleted the Safari folder! Now it's working like a charm! Not exactly sure what caused this, but I'm happy! ! But it would be fun to know what setting that controls this for later use, if I for once want to download the file instead of listening to it.... Well, I'm not complaining! Finally, I can listen to podcasts on my Mac while writing mails or doing other stuff on it... Thanks a lot, Esther, for pointing me in the right direction! ;)

Submitted by Esther on Friday, April 19, 2013

In reply to by Cliff

Hi Cliff,

If clicking on an MP3 link from Safari in your fresh user account plays the MP3 file in the browser, then there's some local configuration of your Safari account that is keeping this from happening.  This is likely to be either due to a plug-in or browser extension that you installed. I was wondering whether you had installed some sort of speed download plug-in, which is why I had you check your installed plug-ins for something with a name like that.  Most of the plug-ins like the ones for QuickTime are ones that you'll need, and you'll find that they're present if you check the installed plug-ins for Safari on your new user account, too.

The answer to your question about how to check whether there are specific installed plug-ins for your user account and how to remove them, is that these are stored in a Library/Internet Plugins folder under your account. Under Lion and Mountain Lion, by default, your account and your system's Library files are hidden from the user in Finder.  That means that you can navigate to those locations in Finder, if you know where they are, but they won't be shown to you by default, to keep you from deleting or changing some important files by mistake.  That's why I had you check the installed plug-ins from the Help menu instead.   Although there's a long list of installed plug-ins, I figured you would notice if you had something with the name of "download" showing up there.

Yes, you can wipe your current Safari preferences and set them back to the default values if you have to.  That's contained in a .plist file under the Library/Preferences folder for your account -- another hidden file.  But first let's check whether one of your extensions or your browser configuration is responsible for the behavior. From Safari, bring up your preferences menu with Command-comma, then select the "Extensions" tab from the title bar.  If you have any extensions installed and enabled, you should be able to set the switch to disable them from this pane.  If you don't have extensions enabled, then go to the "Advanced" tab in your preferences title bar.  You should be able to navigate from the pane contents to the title bar directly with Control-F5, then VO-Right arrow or Right arrow or tab to "Advanced" and select it with VO-Space or by simultaneously pressing your up and down arrow buttons in QuickNav mode, then tab into the pane.  I'm guessing that you have the box for "Show Develop menu in menu bar" checked?  If you have extensions installed and disabled them on the "Extensions" tab, close your preferences window with Command-W and then try activating a podcast link.  If it still downloads instead of playing, we can check the "Develop" menu on your Safari menu bar to find out your "User Agent" setting. If the podcast plays in the browser, we can figure out which (if any) of the extensions you had enabled is the problem.  If that didn't work, we can look at the plug-ins under your Library/Internet Plugjns folder.  Finally, if we have to, we can delete your Safari preferences file.

HTH.  This is usually the kind of trouble-shooting that would get handled on a mailing list.






Hi Cliff, Glad that you got this working, but deleting the Safari folder was rather extreme. In answer to your question, that folder contains things like your extensions folder, your history database, your preferences files for extensions, database files for individual sites, and local storage that you might have set up. The post I wrote (below), was directed to trying to troubleshoot your extensions. My guess is that this is what was giving you the behavior that saw with your MP3 files.

Well, I guess I was a little too triggerhappy on the delete-key, and just wanted to get this fixed fast ;) But I haven't emptied my trash-folder yet, so I would think that I still am able to restore the Safari folder in my acounts library folder from the trash folder... Man, that was a bad sentence ;p But maybe I should do that, so I could try your troubleshooting tips instead? I guess Safari creates a new folder when it's opened again after the old one is deleted, cause there's a new folder there now... So maybe I should delete the new Safari folder before restoring the old one? Just afraid that will be a lot more work to find the source of this issue when I go back to the old folder again... Is it worth it? Probably something important that I've lost now, that I probably wont notice until it finally hits me in a few days from now... That's how it use to be... And that's probably when I'm gonna regret deliting the thing... ;) What do you think? Restore or not? I really apreciate your help! I'm pretty good with fixing up rather advanced windows stuff, but as mentioned above, me and my first Mac have only been together for 6 months now, so we haven't gotten to know eachother that well yet ;) Cliff

If you haven't done any special configuration of Safari, then you may not miss your Safari folder. But, for example, any bookmarks you may have saved were stored in a Bookmarks.plist file under your user account's Library/Safari folder that you deleted, and those are now in the Trash. You probably still want those. There are also plist files for you browsing history, default search engine configuration, and a few other items that you may not miss.  If you set up certain local features, such as reader services that use cached space in your browser, they may also have configuration information here.  The problem is that these kind of walk-through instructions are usually handled on mailing lists, where the notifications are faster, and where there are other users to step in when there are delays in reponse. It also depends on what you need to keep, and there's a kind of "First, do no evil" philosophy in providing fix-it step. I can tell by now that you're pretty comfortable with advanced concepts.

I'd suggest closing Safari, putting things back the way they were (getting the folder out of the Trash and moving it back to replace the new folder you created), and doing a less extreme fix.  As I stated before, usually the problems can be traced back to an installed plugin, which would show up under your account's  ~/Library/Internet Plug-ins folder (note the hyphen in "Plug-ins" -- I'm not sure I spelled it correctly earlier), or it could be in an enabled Safari Extension, which you can either disable or remove from the extensions pane of your Safari preferences window.  Apart from this, the less extreme action to "start afresh" is to delete the preference file responsible for most your selections.  Again, usually even for that step we recommand that you close your application, then move the ~/Library/Preferences/ file to your Desktop or other location instead of outright deleting it.  Then start up Safari, which will open without having any configuration preferences associated with it, just as though it were a new account -- except that you'd still have access to all your bookmarks, browsing history, etc.  If that solves your problem, fine.  If not, you can always close Safari and move back your old file back to the original location.  The reason for closing Safari is that the preference file associated with an application gets opened, and updated, each time you open and close an application.  If you moved a copy of a plist file back while the application is open, the settings would simply be overwritten when you closed the appplication with whatever values were currently in effect.  On the other hand, if you open an application and there is no preference file present, your system will create a new one with all the default values.  Hope this makes sense.

Good luck however you decide to proceed.