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Webkit encountered an internal error: Quick Fix

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  • 10 min read

When you are casually browsing the internet and you suddenly come face to face with the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ notification on your Apple device, don’t sweat as fixing this error only takes a few clicks.

WebKit is a popular web browser engine used by Safari, Google Chrome and Opera and is responsible for loading web pages, executing JavaScript and other important functions. Sometimes, this engine develops faults and can cause this error to be displayed on your screen.

In this article, we discuss what are the possible causes of the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’, what happens when you encounter this error and ways to fix it.

Also read: How to fix accelerated renderer error?


What causes the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ on Apple devices?

There are several possible causes for this error. Some of them are as follows:

Outdated or corrupt software and OS

When you haven’t updated the software in a while, then there is a high chance that the software and the underlying WebKit engine can be corrupted leading to various compatibility issues.


Incompatible browser extensions

Although browser extensions make our life easier, they can also cause various errors if you happen to install faulty ones. Some browser extensions interfere with Safari and render it useless.


Malware or other security issues

Malware is malicious code that can hamper the functioning of various software including the Safari web browser on your device. Do check our detailed guide where we have talked about malware and its types to get an idea about these programs.


Website issues

You should check whether the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ message is shown at all times or when you visit a certain website. If the latter is the case, then there are issues with that particular website and more often than not, there is nothing you can do.


Hardware issues

In rare cases, various hardware issues such as a corrupt hard drive or RAM can cause problems with Safari leading to this error. So, check the hardware and make sure that the hard drive and RAM are working optimally.


Issues with the HTTP/3 protocol

HTTP/3 protocol runs on User Data Protocol (UDP) allowing for an increase in the internet speed. However, the HTTP/3 protocol is also a cause for the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ on the Safari browser as the target website that you are trying to access via Safari isn’t able to apply the protocol properly.


Issues with the iCloud Private Relay

The iCloud Private Relay protects user privacy by encrypting the traffic between you and the website so that not even Apple knows what website you are visiting. If the data exchange between Safari and the website is corrupt, you could see this error.


What happens when you encounter this error?

When you see a ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ message on Safari, usually it means one or more of the following issues:

  • The Safari browser is having trouble loading the web pages as the Webkit has malfunctioned.
  • In addition, you can face browser freezing issues.
  • The entire system can crash.

Thus, in general, we can say that this error indicates that there is something wrong with the Safari browser or the macOS system.

Also read: How to fix ‘cannot parse response’ error in Safari?


Possible solutions to Web encountered an internal error:

Now that we have understood the possible cause and the symptoms of the ‘Web encountered an internal error’, it is time for the diagnosis.

Here are some steps that you can take to fix this error on your Apple device.

Restart Safari Browser and your Apple device

It seems an easy step but it is one of the first steps that you should try. Just force close the Safari browser from the App Switcher on your iPhone, iPad and Macbook and start it again.

Here are the steps to force shut Safari on iPhone and iPad:

  • Swipe up to see the list of open apps on your iPhone.
  • Find the Safari app by either swiping left or right.
  • When you find the app, swipe up to close it.

If you are using a Mac, follow the instructions given below to force close the Safari browser:

  • Open the Force Quit Applications window by pressing Command + Option + Escape from your keyboard.
  • Select Safari and then click on Force Quit.

Usually, this simple hack will work in most cases. If it doesn’t, move on to the next steps.

Here are the steps to restart your Apple device: Go to Settings > General > Shut Down and then slide the right to turn off the device. After that, long press the Power button to start iPhone.

For iPads with the Home button, press the Home and top buttons simultaneously. When the Apple logo appears on the screen, release both buttons. In some iPads, the Home button is missing. To restart these iPads, simultaneously press and hold the top button and the volume buttons.


Clear Safari cache and cookies

Cache are the small files that are used to quickly load the program. However, sometimes the cache gets corrupted and causes errors like ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’.

To fix this, you have to clear Safari cache and cookies. If you are using an iPhone or iPad, follow the instructions given below:

  • Open Settings and then select the Safari app.
  • After that tap on Clear History and Website Data.
  • Confirm by selecting Clear History and Data.

If you are a Mac user, follow the steps given below:

  • Open Safari and then click on the Safari option at the top left of the screen.
  • Select Clear History from the drop-down menu.
  • Next, set Clear to all history and then press Clear History.

Usually, after clearing the cache, the error resolves. But if it persists, move on to the next steps.


Disable Safari Extensions

As we have mentioned earlier, faulty or unoptimized browser extensions might cause ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ on the Safari browser. To fix this, either disable the extensions one by one to find the real culprit or disable all the extensions at once.

Here are the steps to disable extensions in Safari on iPhone and iPad:

  • Open Settings and then tap Safari.
  • Go to Extensions and then disable every extension that you have installed.

In Mac, the process is a bit different:

  • Open the Safari browser and then select the Safari option from the top left of the screen.
  • From the drop-down menu, select Settings or Preferences.
  • Next, move to the Extensions tab at the top left of the screen.
  • Uncheck all the boxes corresponding to the extensions and then close the Preferences menu.

Update the Safari browser and your device’s OS

If you haven’t updated the Safari browser or your device’s OS, there are chances that it might get corrupt or incompatible. So, make it a habit to update the operating system as well as the software as soon as the company releases the updates. Usually, the Safari module updates itself, but you should check it to make sure that it hasn’t skipped the updates.

Here are the steps to update the operating system on iPhone or iPad:

  • Head to Settings app.
  • Tap on General > Software Update.
  • Next, select Download and Install.

To update your Mac, go to the Apple menu > System Settings > General > Software Update. After this, select the Update Now or Restart Now option.


Disable VPN

Virtual Private Networks protect our privacy by routing the traffic through multiple servers. But there are reports that VPNs do not work well with iOS. Also, using VPNs can also lead to a Webkit error on your Apple device.

Here are the steps to disable VPN:

  • Go to Settings > General.
  • Select the VPN and then toggle off the switch.

After turning off the VPN, restart the Safari browser.


Reset Network Settings

If the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ persists, you can try to reset the network settings on your device. Follow the steps given below:

  • Tap on Settings > General > Reset.
  • Next, tap on Reset Network Settings and enter the password if asked.

Disable HTTP/3

Internet Safety: HTTP vs HTTPS; Should you trust HTTPS?

As we have already discussed that an enabled HTTP/3 protocol is one of the causes of the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ issue. Thus, you should disable the HTTP/3 protocol to fix the error.

Here are the steps to disable HTTP/3 protocol on Mac:

  • Open the Develop menu of Safari browser.
  • Head to Parameters > Safari > Advanced.
  • Next, go to Experimental Features > untick HTTP/3.

Close the browser and then launch it again.


Disable the Private Relay

As explained earlier, iCloud’s Private Relay is a security and privacy feature. However, some websites are incompatible with this feature and thus you encounter the ‘Webkit internal error’.

Follow the steps below to disable the Private Relay feature:

  • Go to Settings and then tap on your Apple ID.
  • Go to iCloud and then select Private Relay.
  • Toggle off the button.

Use the Safe Mode for Mac

Using the safe mode on Mac to resolve the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ issue. This will clear the corrupt cache that is interfering with the device.

  • Power off the Mac and when it starts press and hold the Shift key.
  • After that log in to your device.
  • To check whether you have started the Safe Mode, go to Apple menu > About this Mac > System Report > System Information > System Software Overview. If you see Safe written in front of the Boot Mode, then you have successfully completed the operation. If not, repeat the process again.
  • Next, open the Safari browser and check whether the ‘Webkit internal error’ has been resolved or not.

Reset Experimental Features of Safari

Experimental features are the testing ground for Apple. But because these features are still an experiment and are not optimised, you may encounter errors such as the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’.

You can reset these features to default to fix the problem. Here’s how to do that:

  • Head to Settings > Safari > Advanced > Experimental WebKit Features.
  • Scroll down and then tap on Reset All to Defaults.

Use the Private Browsing Mode

If the normal browsing mode is showing the ‘Webkit internal error’ then you can switch to the private browsing mode by clicking on the File menu and then selecting the New Private Menu option.


Disable WebGL

WebGL is a graphics rendering technology that can sometimes cause the ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ on Safari.

To disable WebGL, go to Safari preference > Advanced > uncheck the box next to the Show Develop menu in the menu bar. Then click on the Develop menu and select Disable WebGL.

The ‘Webkit encountered an internal error’ message is definitely frustrating but fixing it requires little technical knowledge. By following the steps above, you can fix the error easily and continue to seamlessly explore the internet using the Safari browser.

Also read: How to fix ‘Safari Can’t Find Server’ issue?

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Kumar Hemant

Deputy Editor at Candid.Technology. Hemant writes at the intersection of tech and culture and has a keen interest in science, social issues and international relations. You can contact him here: [email protected]

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