How to Remove the Adobe Acrobat Reader Plugin from Safari in Mac OS X
A variety of applications attempt to install Adobe Acrobat Reader into OS X, and many Mac users approve the installation and don’t think much of it. Typically when Acrobat Reader has been installed, it takes over the default PDF viewer that is built into Safari and uses a separate often slower Acrobat plugin for loading PDFs into Safari instead, and it also takes over as the default PDF viewer from Preview app as well.
Some users may find these behaviors to be desirable, but other Mac users may be annoyed by the Adobe Acrobat Reader takeover of Safari, which is notoriously slow and cumbersome.
We’re going to demonstrate how to remove that Acrobat Reader plugin from Safari and get the default PDF viewing capabilities back in Safari on the Mac.
- Quit Safari
- From the OS X Finder, hit Command+Shift+G to bring up the Go To Folder window, and enter the following path exactly:
- Locate the file(s) named “AdobePDFViewer.plugin” and “AdobePDFViewerNPAPI.plugin” – some versions will only have one of these files visible
- Delete* those two AdobePDFViewer files from the Internet Plug-ins folder
- Relaunch Safari for changes to take effect, confirm the change has taken place by loading a PDF into Safari app (try this link to a free PDF book for testing purposes)
Once you’re removed the plugin and relaunched Safari, the default Safari PDF viewer capability kicks in again to load embedded PDF files:
* Note that you can also choose to back these two AdobePDFViewer files up somewhere if you want to. We generally recommend deleting them, and should you decide you want to have Acrobat Reader plugin as the default PDF viewer within Safari again, download the newest version from Adobe Acrobat so that you are sure to have the most updated release installed on the Mac.
While this returns the PDF viewing capabilities back to the speedy Safari default behavior, you may still find that PDF files open in Adobe Acrobat Reader elsewhere on the Mac. That’s also easy to change, and you can quickly set the Preview app to become the default PDF viewer again by making an easy adjustment in the Finder.
Aside from the annoyance of having slow cruddy software takeover something unexpectedly, Adobe Acrobat Reader has also at times carried security flaws that could potentially make a Mac vulnerable to outside attack. For that reason, disabling or removing the plugin as part of a multi-step process to protect a Mac from external threats like malware, exploits, and trojans can make sense for some users. At the very least, keeping Acrobat Reader up to date is essential, and unlike the Flash plugin, the Acrobat Reader plugin does not become automatically disabled when it’s out of date.